2023 MINI Countryman coming soon


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MINI’s Countryman will be renewed for a third-generation with the option of all-electric power.

The Countryman is MINI’s second best-selling car, so it’s no surprise the British firm is working on an all-new model. We expect retro-styling to return as well as pure-electric power to feature for the first time.

We’ve caught the new Countryman testing on the road and at the Nurburgring in both Cooper guise and in hotter Cooper S trim. Given MINI is well underway with the development programme of the new Countryman, we expect it to arrive sometime in early 2023.

Judging by the latest spy shots, it’ll retain a similar retro-style design as its predecessors, although MINI will increase the size of its SUV – a move made necessary because of the need to accommodate a new, smaller, all-electric SUV to sit beneath the Countryman in the brand’s range. To do this, the next Countryman will become the largest MINI ever.

A Cooper S version will return, as evidenced by the quad-exhaust set-up of a prototype spied testing on the Nurburgring. The performance model will retain MINI’s 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but will also make use of 48-volt electrification for more power and reduced emissions, offering 160kW and 360Nm.

Testing on the road is a less sporty model, likely the Cooper variant that will be most popular with buyers. It’s still heavily camouflaged but we can see a subtler variation of the front lower grille than the one on the S. The rear bumper is also much cleaner, forgoing the quad exhaust tips for hidden exhausts.

MINI’s design language is set to evolve with the new Countryman. We’ll get our first official look at this new design ethos with the next-generation three-door Hatch, which will be the first among MINI’s many new arrivals due soon. Previously leaked images from China already point to an evolution of the brand’s grille and a new rear facia featuring trapezoidal tail-lights.

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The current car is around 4.3 metres long, but the newcomer will stretch this to almost 4.5 metres, leaving space for the new small electric SUV. As such, the new Countryman will rival the likes of the Audi Q3 and the Volvo XC40, almost moving up a segment.

The new SUV will be underpinned by an evolution of the current model’s platform, known as FAAR, but it won’t be built at MINI’s HQ in the UK. Countryman production will move from its current home in Holland to a BMW production line in Leipzig, Germany.

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When it comes to engines, the current Countryman PHEV will probably be dropped in favour of 48-volt mild-hybrid units, with a full EV also offered for the first time.

“I think once you get EVs to a certain range, for the MINI use case, I don’t see a big market for PHEV,” hinted former MINI boss Bernd Körber last year. The petrol engine range will kick off with MINI’s familiar 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol.

This engine will form the basis of the 48-volt mild-hybrid version, too, possibly badged Countryman Cooper. The unit’s outputs will stand at 125kW and 280Nm of torque, with the 48-volt system enabling engine-off coasting and improved efficiency.

The fully electric Countryman will be the most radical addition to the line-up. The new BMW iX1 uses the same FAAR platform so that car’s 64.7kWh battery will make its way over to the electric Countryman.

Back in 2017, MINI claimed the electric Countryman would have a range of around 280 miles and it looks like it will pretty much nail the brief with the iX1 sibling offering up to 437km of range. We should also see charging rates of up to 130kW for a 10 to 80 per cent top-up in 29 minutes.

A pair of electric motors (one on each axle) should produce around 230kW and 494Nm of torque, giving a 0-100km/h time of roughly 5.7 seconds. The ‘ALL4’ badging on the Countryman’s hot Cooper S models should return given the iX1 utilises four-wheel drive.

Alastair Crooks

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