New Mini Countryman grows to go after the Audi Q5; wraps come off following our first ride.
The third iteration of Mini’s SUV, the Countryman, will grow considerably when it moves to a third generation next year – as evidenced by new images which show the mid-sized SUV with no camouflage.
New pictures sent to Automotive Daily Network partner Autocar give a first look at the third-generation Countryman as it hits public roads in the US, not long after images surfaced of its much smaller 2024 Mini Cooper sibling, revealing that the two cars will be closely visually linked.
Twinned with the BMW X1 (and becoming comfortably Mini’s largest model yet as a result) the new Mini Countryman will go on sale in February 2024, shortly after the new Cooper hatchback. Like its BMW sibling, the Countryman will gain an electric version for the first time – in which we’ve already ridden.
“This is something for people that say ‘I have a second child now so I can’t get the stroller into this one [the current Countryman]’,” said Mini boss Stephanie Wurst of the reasons behind the upsizing. “We need it for the people that we’re losing right now because they don’t have enough space.”
It has also been conceived to grow Mini in the US market, which favours larger vehicles – something Mini hasn’t been able to cater for until now.
Visually, the car will differ from the current model with a squarer front end, large front and rear overhangs and a more rugged treatment. It wears a more angular interpretation of Mini’s new bulbous headlights, as seen on the Cooper and Aceman, and shares a new-look octagonal grille surround with those cars.
At 4429mm, it will be 132mm longer than the current Countryman. It’s also set to grow 56mm taller, to 1613mm, for more head room inside.
The new Countryman will expand on the current car’s powertrain line-up, with electric power replacing the soon-to-be-axed plug-in hybrid, alongside a petrol offering.
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Mini will offer a standard and a more potent ‘S’ version of both the petrol and electric Countryman, with hotter John Cooper Works (JCW) versions to follow later.
No specifics have been confirmed about the petrol Countryman, but it will most likely mirror the current range, with a front-driven three-cylinder option and four-cylinder, front-wheel drive S model. Only the electric Countryman SE will offer all-wheel drive.
The electric versions of the new car will be called Countryman E and Countryman SE. The former will introduce a 140kW, front-wheel-drive powertrain with a 54kWh battery that isn’t available (yet) in the BMW iX1.
The Countryman SE will use the 230kW, dual-motor powertrain and 64.7kWh battery that’s familiar from the BMW iX1. Mini estimates that it will offer 450km of range.
Although bulking up and changing shape, the Countryman will keep its name, something Wurst doesn’t believe will confuse customers: “I think they will understand. The Countryman is already established as the ‘big Mini’.”
Production of the petrol Countryman is expected to start this November and first deliveries are expected in the first or second quarter of 2024.