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FEATURES | 8 out of 10
How do you control all this stuff? With a joystick and two buttons between the shifter and the Center Rail. This is basically BMW's iDrive system, which has evolved from a travesty into something usable.
Los Angeles Times
...A central rail [that] runs from front to rear of the cabin, onto which you can clip any number of functional aftermarket options like a storage box, armrest or iPod holder.
The big speedometer is still intact (it actually looks like its grown in size), incorporating Mini's navigation and infotainment screen...
...in its details, from the iDrive-like interface with the navigation screen to the array of electronic driving aids, the Countryman is the most BMW-like of Minis.
A intentionally weird Center Rail...is an armrest and cupholder mounting system run amok.
With a host of electronic goodies like USB connectivity, available Bluetooth, and the new MINI Connected system that controls Pandora and other mobile-audio iPhone apps, the Countryman's checked off most of the critical boxes it needs to appeal to an older, more married, more be-childrened crowd than the Cooperites it's catered to for almost a decade.
The base 2011 MINI Countryman comes with vinyl seats; the center-rail console; pushbutton start; 17-inch wheels; an AM/FM/CD player with HD radio; and an on-board computer. It's priced from $22,350, not including destination. Options include parking sensors; Bluetooth and USB connections; a MINI Connected suite of tech features that connects your car with your electronic devices, and can deliver audio from Pandora, or read your text messages; and a navigation system. The usual MINI catalog of wheels, decals, and Brit-bling come from the brand's dizzyingly deep accessory bin.
Move up to the $25,950 MINI Cooper S Countryman, and along with the turbocharged engine, you'll get a white roof; sport seats; a leather-trimmed steering wheel; and Sirius satellite radio. A Harman Kardon sound system is optional, as is an anti-theft alarm, and your hand-selected choices from the add-on book.
The most expensive Countryman is the Cooper S Countryman ALL4. The $27,650 all-wheel-driven wagon gets standard fog lamps, and the usual options apply.
All versions can be fitted with leather seats; front heated seats; all kinds of chrome or body-color trim; and the panoramic sunroof.
The MINI Countryman wants you to have it your way: dial up turbo power, with all-wheel drive and all the shiny trinkets, and you'll pay, dearly.