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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist


No more hiding as Mini unwraps all-new Countryman

Electric for now, the Countryman range will be supplemented at a later stage by a petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid.


Subtly styled compared to its hatch stablemate, the new Mini Cooper SE, BMW has nonetheless unwrapped the all-new Countryman ahead of its public showing at the Munich Auto Show next week.

Evolution of the boxy Mini

The automaker’s third generation, and first wholly new model since current F60’s debut six-years ago, the Countryman premieres as to what will be Mini’s second SUV in a line-up set to be topped next year by the currently named Traveller based on the same platform as the BMW X1.

Bowing in electric Cooper SE form, the Countryman reveres the example set by the Cooper hatch as it will be produced exclusively at the Leipzig plant in Germany that made the BMW i3 and i8, on a single platform without any input from Great Wall Motors (GWM).

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Until now seen in disguise form, the fully unwrapped Countryman sports a distinct evolutionary design by retaining the same profile as the F60, but with model specific new LED headlights and a bigger grille.

Equipped with flush door handles and offering alloy wheel sizes ranging from 17 to a first time 20-inches, Mini has also added slimmer wheel arches with plastic cladding in addition to a new C-pillar graphic that can be colour coded with the roof.

Mini has officially revealed the all-new Countryman
Rear now better distinct from the Cooper hatch. Image: Mini.

At the rear, the LED taillights are slimmer than before and compared to the Cooper hatch, different as Mini has opted for a unique vertical design. Also new is the rounded tailgate and smaller rear window.

As before, the Countryman can be specified in a range of colours for various trim pieces depending on the trim level selected; Essential, Classic, Favoured and the sporty John Cooper Works similar in principle to Volkswagen’s R Line and Toyota’s GR Sport.

Dimensions

Unlike the Cooper hatch, Mini has detailed the Countryman’s fundamentals; an overall length of 4 433 mm, wheelbase of 2 692 mm, width of 1 843 mm and height of 1 656 mm.

Compared to the outgoing F60, the new Countryman is therefore 136 mm longer, 21 mm wider and 99 mm taller while being 22 mm longer on the wheelbase front.

At the same time, boot space also increases by 10-litres to 460-litres, and by 60-litres to 1 450-litres with the split rear seat folded down.

New inside

Inside, the Countryman sports the same interior design as the Cooper, but with a unique centre console comprising a dual shelf layout topped by the wireless smartphone charger and underscored by a storage area. A pair of cupholders rounds the set-up off.

Elsewhere, the retro-styled, freestanding OLED infotainment system has been retained, albeit with a black surround and measuring 9.4-inches versus the Cooper’s nine-inches.

Mini has officially revealed the all-new Countryman
Interior has been altered slightly from the hatch. Image: Mini.

Integrated as standard though is the Mini 9.0 operating system, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus over-the-air updates as well as satellite navigation.

Similar to its sibling, the Countryman receives the new steering wheel with physical buttons, a choice of material options, including the new knitted textile and imitation leather, and the rectangular panel below the infotainment system that houses the switchgear for the climate control, hazard lights and mode selector, as well as the starter button and the dial for the automatic gearbox now that a manual is no longer offered.

On the safety front, new or revised tech include adaptive cruise control, Park Assist, a surround-view camera system, Head-Up Display, Remote Parking and semi-autonomous driving, where allowed, at up to 60 km/h.

EV more now, petrol and diesel following

Available for the first time with adaptive air suspension as an option, the initial Countryman range comprises two models, both electric in lieu of Mini moving towards an EV future by 2030.

Utilising a 64.7-kWh battery pack, the Cooper E produces 150kW/250Nm while in the Cooper SE, a second electric motor has been added, resulting in it wearing the ALL4 all-wheel-drive moniker.

New Mini Countryman debuts
Seats can be finished in various materials and colours. Image: Mini.

The result is a combined output of 230kW/494Nm, a limited top speed of 180 km/h and 0-100 km/h in 5.6 seconds. Accordingly, the Countryman Cooper SE will travel 462 km between visits to the plug.

Comparatively, the front-wheel-drive Cooper E will travel the same distance, but get from 0-100 km/h in 8.6 seconds before topping out at 170 km/h.

New Mini Countryman debuts
Black surround has been kept for the new 9.4-inch roundel infotainment system. Image: Mini.

Standard on both is an 11 kW on-board charger and ability to be charged from a DC charger up to 95 kW.

Confirmed to debut later alongside the petrol version, the Countryman will also offer a plug-in hybrid and rather surprisingly, a Euro 7 optimised turbodiesel with full John Cooper Works also expected.

Debut expected in 2024

Entering production, reportedly, in November with sales starting soon after, the Countryman is expected to become available in South Africa sometime next year with final pricing and expect to be announced then.

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