By 2010, BMW’s idea of the Mini had been around for a decade. The slightly larger and haplessly left-field Clubman had appeared in 2007, but otherwise the brand was locked into the supermini archetype prescribed to it by Alec Issigonis’s original.
In retrospect, it seems a fairly logical step, but Mini previewed the idea with concepts before launching it and even made a WRC version – a gestural grope at the original Mini’s rallying heritage.
The first Countryman did as advertised in proportional terms, yet it failed to kick off the transformation of Mini into a broader brand.
But at least the Countryman did sell fairly well: for several years of its life, this was Mini’s most popular new car.
Now the model returns for a second swing, trumpeting, it must be said, much the same point it made last time round: namely, that size counts. To show Mini means business they have also added a hybrid to the range too.