Mini's all-new SUV goes on sale late in 2016 with updated styling, larger dimensions and the option of four-wheel drive
11 August 2016

The Mini Countryman has been spotted testing again ahead of its expected launch later this year.

The latest spy pictures show a few more details of the Countryman, like the redesigned front bumper and grille, and side windows.

Based on the same UKL1 architecture as the recently launched Clubman - which is said to be a huge step forward not only in terms of refinement, but also in terms of the range of powertrains it can accommodate - the new Countryman is set to be considerably larger and more spacious than the current car.

A stretch of around 150mm will take the Countryman's overall length to just over 4.25m, meaning available boot space should grow from the current 450 litres. It's also almost 80mm wider and the wheelbase has grown by at least 100mm. But the really big difference is the height - the Countryman is expected to be 150mm taller than the Clubman, with a more upright seating position and more spacious interior.

Variable damper control will enable the chassis settings to be adjusted, and a raised ride height should enable moderate off-roading, although we suspect it'll still be too low to be classed as a proper off-roader.

Engine and transmission

Codenamed F60, the new Countryman will also be offered with the same electronically-controlled four-wheel drive system as the BMW X1, although front-wheel drive will be the standard layout. It's expected to be available with the current range of three and four-cylinder petrol engines, mated to either a six-speed manual or eight-speed auto gearbox.

A plug-in hybrid will join the engine line-up, using an electric motor mounted within the independent Z-axle to drive the rear wheels. Autocar understands a range of twenty to thirty miles will be possible on pure-electric power.

The John Cooper Works model should top the range, most likely using the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine from the regular JCW, which produces 228bhp.

Design and interior

Sources say the new Countryman’s overall styling is much more harmonious and better resolved than that of the original, which suffered proportionally because it was based on the same platform as the original Clubman, itself a stretched version of the three-door hatch.

Like the Clubman, it'll be much more upmarket than its predecessor, with a wider range of luxury options, including a plusher interior with optional leather sports seats and a head-up display.

Price

We expect the new Countryman to cost from around £22,500 for the 1.5-litre petrol engined model, rising to £27,000 for the Cooper SD, when a JCW arrives, a price of around £30,000 seems likely. We'll know more when the car makes its debut later this year, possibly at the Paris motor show in September, with sales commencing a few months later. 

It’s thought that the Countryman will be built at BMW’s Oxford facility, rather than at NedCar in the Netherlands, a factory that is under contract to BMW. NedCar, which has previously built Volvos, Mitsubishis and the Smart Forfour, has been building Mini hatchbacks since summer 2014.

JCW variant spotted

The hot JCW version has also been spotted. Although much of the car was covered in camouflage, the JCW wheels gave away the model's identity, as well as the visibly more aggressive front air intakes. The JCW-tuned Countryman appeared to sit lower on its wheels than its regular counterpart. Despite the likely introduction of the Countryman later this year, we don't expect to see the JCW variant until 2017.

Mini couldn't confirm any details on when we might see the JCW, or the standard Countryman, but the advanced stage of testing suggests we won't have to wait long to see the regular version, which has been spotted undergoing testing many times.

Already described by parent company BMW as being an "authentic SUV", the new Countryman is expected to look more rugged than the current model, taking some styling cues from the Mini X-Raid racer, which has won the Dakar Rally four times since 2012.

Our Verdict

Mini Countryman
Mini bigs itself up in a quest to find new and retain old customers

The Mini Countryman represents the biggest stretch yet for Mini – for the car and the brand

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Comments
19

21 September 2014

As the Countryman is such a strong seller for MINI its not surprising that they want the new model out as soon as possible, but I was surprised to read in a rival mag that they're planning on replacing the Paceman. Like the Coupe and Roadster its a difficult sell for MINI, so I'd have thought they'd have let it fade away. Whatever they do produce, I really hope that MINI reverse this trend for ever bigger light units (especially at the rear) which just look cheap to me.

14 October 2014

I wonder how much money is wasted by using a third party manufacturer for this car, it is currently made in Austria but think it will go to the old Mitsibishi factory in the Netherlands ,Nedscar.

22 January 2015

Can't actually comment on the articles I would like as the posts run to more than page so any comments made are lost in the ether. It must be an extremely difficult and expensive fix otherwise any IT department worth their salt would have had this fixed long ago.

22 January 2015
erly5 wrote:

Can't actually comment on the articles I would like as the posts run to more than page so any comments made are lost in the ether. It must be an extremely difficult and expensive fix otherwise any IT department worth their salt would have had this fixed long ago.

Its very frustrating, as there's little point in commenting even if you want to. I'm using AutoExpress more now, as they seem to have the tech to deal with a forum.

22 January 2015
erly5 wrote:

Can't actually comment on the articles I would like as the posts run to more than page so any comments made are lost in the ether. It must be an extremely difficult and expensive fix otherwise any IT department worth their salt would have had this fixed long ago.

I've emailed the person who deals with it, but seems they've left. I've emailed the person the auto respond told me to, but nothing back from them. Hilton Hollloway did respond in one of his blogs when others brought it up, saying:

Hilton wrote:

website tweaks...
...are underway, be assured. Thanks.

22 January 2015

So far Autocar has not even acknowledged this website problem. There is no notice on the website saying there is a problem nor what measures are being taken to have it fixed. I therefore cannot assume that repair is forthcoming.

23 January 2015
abkq wrote:

So far Autocar has not even acknowledged this website problem. There is no notice on the website saying there is a problem nor what measures are being taken to have it fixed. I therefore cannot assume that repair is forthcoming.

....There have been brief comments from Hilton and Darren that i have seen, both have been good enough to tell us something. Both said something was being done. Both appear to be wrong sadly.

22 January 2015

Whodathunkit?

23 January 2015

Please, no.

14 April 2015

I fail to see the point of testing a shed on the Nordschleife.

 

I'm a disillusioned former Citroëniste.

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