The more rugged version of the MINI, the Countryman, has just been revealed in its new guise by the BMW-owned British automaker. And they’re calling it the ‘biggest and most versatile’ model its its 57-year history.
They maintain that it’s entirely developed as a new version in spite of the visual impression being quite similar to the outgoing car. Of course it will be featuring a higher ride height to the regular 5-door Cooper as well as a range topping SD ALL4 version sitting at the top of the range.
In addition to the various trim levels and pricing tiers that we’ve come to expect from the Countryman, the new addition in the form of MINI’s first ever hybrid, the SE, will be joining the new range.
Despite its masked proportions, the new Countryman measures 4.3-metres, making it 20cm longer overall and 3cm wider than its predecessor. Interior space has improved too, with a longer 7.5cm wheel base that also results a slightly shorter overhang. Perhaps, the MINI moniker isn’t such an appropriate one any longer.
The rear seats fold with a 40:20:40 split and can be adjusted to various angles in order to suit use cases where either passenger comfort or cargo space is the main priority. At the rear, accessed with an optional electric tail gate, boot space is 450-litres and can be increased to a total of 1,309-litres with the second-row seats folded down.
The previous MINI Countryman did have a more aggressive appearance over the typical Cooper, but one would have to get up close to fully appreciate its more masculine details. That has changed now, though, as the new car’s more pronounced character lines, thicker cladding and squarer shape gives it a more SUV-like appearance.
The Countryman’s interior has also been given an added touch of premium with high quality materials and accent surfaces more widely distributed. Due to increased dimensions, front passengers have increased head and shoulder space while rear passengers enjoy more legroom.
“The interior of the new MINI Countryman emphasises the car's suitability for families and as a primary vehicle. The sense of quality in the interior has been significantly enhanced, too” says Julius Schluppkotten, MINI Countryman project manager.
The engine that will be powering the new Countryman should be familiar to watchers of the newest generation of MINIs. They range from either a 3-cylinder or 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol motors or a four-pot turbodiesel, all of which also seeing action in various BMW vehicles.
- MINI Cooper Countryman: 3-cylinder petrol engine, capacity: 1 499 cc, output: 100 kW/136 hp, max. torque: 220 Nm.
- MINI Cooper S Countryman: 4-cylinder petrol engine, capacity: 1 998 cc, output: 141 kW/192 hp, max. torque: 280 Nm.
- MINI Cooper D Countryman: 4-cylinder diesel engine, capacity: 1 995 cc, output: 110 kW/150 hp, max. torque: 330 Nm.
- MINI Cooper SD Countryman: 4-cylinder diesel engine, capacity: 1 995 cc, output: 140 kW/190 hp, max. torque: 400 Nm.
In terms of the premiere hybrid SE variant, drive comes from an efficient 3-cylinder turbo-petrol that alone generates 100kW, augmented by a 65kW electric motor to drive the rear wheels. This raises the combined output to 165kW and a generous 385Nm of torque. MINI claims it can sip as little as 2.1-litres/100km of petrol while emitting just 49 grams per kilometre of carbon dioxide.
While MINI stops short of claiming how far the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 can travel on electric power alone, it does say that it can do so at speeds of up to 125km/h. We assume it should be good enough for short commutes, though. Each new Countryman will use either a six-speed manual transmission or an 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission for shifting duties.