It whipped the car up to speed pretty smartly and recorded some competitive numbers despite having to contend with low temperatures, what’s probably an above-average kerb weight and a not especially aerodynamic body.
Given the tricky conditions, it’s better to use 30-70mph through-the-gears acceleration as a benchmark of the car’s pace, rather than standing-start sprinting, and on that marker the Mini was seven-tenths of a second quicker than the torquier (and 100kg lighter) 2.2-litre diesel Mazda 3 we tested.
The Audi A3 2.0 TDI 150 we figured most recently was just a tenth of a second ahead on the same measure.
The Countryman’s engine isn’t quite as flexible as that of the Mazda, needing almost two and a half seconds more to cover the same acceleration increments in fourth gear.
On the road, the diesel’s response is a little bit lazy and non-linear at lower revs but seldom feels weak or unwilling. It does both sound and feel a little gruff and noisy, though.