Early details on the Countryman junior SUV
11 January 2010

This is the Mini Beachcomber concept, unveiled today at the Detroit motor show.

The Mini Beachcomber's body, dimensions and drivetrain are shared with the Countryman; just add doors and a roof and remove a few of the more outlandish concept car touches, such as the tailgate-mounted spare wheel.

The Countryman sits on a modified version of the Clubman’s platform that has been stretched and widened to create a car that is roughly the same size as the new Volkswagen Polo. It’s a layout that could also be used for a more off-road-oriented model.

The production car’s dimensions will be the same as the concept’s, making it the first Mini to be more than four metres long. “Four metres was a border that was heavily discussed within the company,” said Mini design boss Gert Hildebrand.

The rear doors will be front-hinged, and the side-hinged tailgate of the concept will be replaced by a normal top-hinged hatch.

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Mini wants the Countryman to offer what BMW’s head of development, Klaus Draeger, has described as “a serious proposition for those who want a family car”.

The driveline consists of a transversely mounted engine that provides drive to all four wheels through an electronically controlled, multi-plate-clutch four-wheel drive system similar to that employed in BMW’s X1.

The Mini’s set-up will be called ALL4 and it will feature a six-speed manual gearbox. But front-wheel drive will be standard on the entry-level models.

While Mini is not making big noises about the Beachcomber’s engine, Autocar can confirm the Countryman will be sold with 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines at launch. The appearance of a sizeable air duct within the Beachcomber’s bonnet hints at a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol powerplant, though. This is most likely to be the 173bhp unit from the Cooper and Clubman S.

The Countryman will also be available with a 120bhp naturally aspirated version of the same 1.6-litre petrol motor, as well as a 110bhp 1.6-litre common-rail diesel. All of these units will come with stop-start and brake energy regeneration.

Later on, Mini is expected to create a JCW Countryman with a range of new turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines taken from the BMW stable.

Greg Kable

Twitter - follow autocar.co.ukSee all the latest Mini reviews, news and video


Detroit motor show 2010

Detroit motor show: Hot BMW Z4, Detroit motor show: BMW electric 1-series, Detroit motor show: Buick Regal GS, Detroit motor show: Cadillac CTS-V Coupe, Detroit motor show: Cadillac's new flagship saloon, Detroit motor show: Chevrolet Aveo RS, Detroit motor show: Chrysler 300C, Detroit motor show: electric Fiat 500, New Ford Focus revealed, Detroit motor show: Ford Mustang V8, Detroit motor show: Hyundai Blue-Will, Detroit motor show: Jeep specials, Detroit motor show: Merc E-class cabrio, Detroit motor show: Mini Beachcomber, Detroit motor show: Toyota hybrid concept, Detroit motor show: VW Jetta coupe hybrid concept, Detroit motor show: electric Volvo C30.

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Comments
3

16 December 2009

What ever next for the Mini?!, buy a house?, get a free Mini!, i really think this is taking a British icon(the original, not the German one) too far, i mean how many niche's can you turn out of a Mini?

Peter Cavellini.

16 December 2009

Did someone mention side impact protection?

11 January 2010

I like many of the styling cues in this version of the Mini Countryman. I hope BMW carry as much over as possible

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