The new MINI Countryman

I must admit right of the bat that I was not a fan of the MINI Countryman before getting the opportunity to test drive on recently in KZN.

But the second generation of this little beast has certainly changed my perceptions. The Countryman is the biggest and most versatile model in the entire range of the tradition-steeped British brand.

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With an output of 170 kW, it is the most powerful engine ever to be fitted in a MINI: in combination with the standard all-wheel drive system ALL4 and a robust vehicle concept, it ensures that the latest addition to the family of top John Cooper Works athletes takes the MINI experience to a whole new level – in terms of both race track feeling on the road and extreme driving fun over unsurfaced terrain which we also got to experience. And it definitely held its own off-road.

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The new MINI John Cooper Works Countryman sprints from zero to 100 km/h in 6.5 seconds with both the standard 6-speed manual transmission and the optional 8-speed Steptronic sports transmission. In doing so it is 0.8 or 0.7 seconds faster than the MINI Cooper S Countryman ALL4. The superior performance qualities of the new MINI John Cooper Works Countryman are likewise reflected in its elasticity on interim sprints, cornering agility and deceleration performance.

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These qualities are the product of an overall package that has been compiled based on John Cooper Works racing expertise, including not just the engine and all-wheel drive system but also a sports suspension with 18-inch John Cooper Works light alloy wheels and Brembo sports brake system, special body features to optimise aerodynamic properties and cooling air intake, and a model-specific cockpit with John Cooper Works sports seats. Overall it’s a pretty impressive car that would be well suited for a young family that love the MINI brand but want a little more space to fit the entire family comfortably.

THE ALL-NEW BMW 5 SERIES SEDAN

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to test drive the brand new BMW 5 series.
Now in its seventh generation, the Business Athlete promises even more luxurious, performance-driven, and technologically advanced driving pleasure than ever before. This model has yielded success for the manufacturer with previous generations and at first glance I think the new 5 Series has all the potential to continue where its predecessors left.

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I drove the 520d and the 540i and naturally I had more fun cruising around the more powerful engine.

 

 

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The technological advancements in the car are amazing, like the optional Driving Assist Plus safety package which includes a host of state-of-the-art features. The Lane Departure Warning system operates between 70 – 210 km/h. If its camera detects lane straying, it actively helps the driver steer back on course with smooth and seamless steering interventions.

Lane Change Warning steers the vehicle back into its lane if its sensors detect another vehicle in the next lane.

Side Collision Warning operates at speeds between 30 – 210 km/h and warns drivers via a visual signal or steering wheel vibration if another vehicle is encroaching from the side.

 

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And then there’s the highly impressive Parking Assist Plus with Remote 3D View enables automated parking with the greatest of ease in both parallel parking spaces and perpendicular or angled spaces.

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All in all this is great car to drive and I for one could find little fault with the car.
If you are considering getting one for yourself, the standard 520d will set you back around R 770 500.
While the 540i retails at around R 985 300.