2011 Mini Countryman: Gotta Push The Sport Button
April 04, 2011
When you drive our long-term 2011 Mini Countryman, you gotta push the Sport button. Or atleast I do. This is nothing new. Our old long-term 2007 Mini Cooper S was the same way.
Pushing the Sport button does three things according to the Countryman's owner's manual:
1) The engine responds more spontaneously to movements of the accelerator.
2) Steering response is more direct.
3) The engine sounds more sporty in coasting mode.
And the owner's manual is correct. All of these things happen, but only one matters: the improvement in throttle response. Without the Sport button pushed the Countryman has the worst throttle response of any car I've ever driven. Or atleast any car I can think of after an 11 hour work day.
In Sport mode, the Countryman's throttle response isn't exactly awesome either, but it's better. Better enough that the Countryman feels like a more powerful car. The slight (very slight) improvement in steering response and the mild exhaust burble during decel are also nice extras, but the throttle response is the pay off.
Of course I wish you can just set it in Sport and forget it, but you can't, so I've made a habit of reaching down to that Sport button each and every time I fire up our Countryman just to liven up its throttle.
For me, the improvement in drivability is worth the extra step.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief