New 2024 MINI Countryman officially unveiled
MINI’s latest Countryman model has finally been fully revealed at the International Motor Show in Munich and will get a £28,500 starting price
- Mild-hybrid and fully electric powertrains
- Range of up to 287 miles for electric model
- Due on sale in February 2024 from £28,500
The all-new MINI Countryman has just been unveiled at the International Motor Show in Munich, revealing a larger, longer SUV with an all-new design and plenty of new tech. The new Countryman will also be the first to be offered with a fully-electric powertrain as well as a combustion-engined model.
Now in its third generation, the new Countryman’s design is a much stronger departure from the rounder MINI Cooper than ever before, featuring squarer headlights and a new octagonal grille. Some features it also shares with the latest Cooper are the flush, body coloured door handles replacing the chrome pieces of the previous models.
Despite the new Countryman’s more upright overall design, the roof tapers off at the rear, seamlessly following through to a long spoiler on the hatch. Gone are the Union Flag-styled rear lights, replaced with units that feature multiple small triangular elements. As with the new Cooper, drivers will be able to toggle between three different headlight and taillight signatures to change the look of their Countryman.
The MINI Countryman will first arrive as a petrol model in February 2024, followed by a fully electric version in May of the same year. We’ve already taken a ride in a camouflaged pre-production model alongside driving dynamics engineer Simon Kruger. You can read our initial thoughts below.
Based on the new BMW X1, it will be the first ever MINI to be built solely in Germany. All versions of the Countryman will sit on the same platform as the BMW 1 Series and 2 Series Active Tourer, as well as the aforementioned X1 and forthcoming X2 coupe-SUV.
New MINI Countryman specs and powertrains
MINI has announced that the Countryman Electric will be offered with two different performance outputs: E and SE ALL4. The petrol model will be available in three outputs: C, S ALL4 and JCW ALL4. On top of this, buyers get the choice between three different trim levels dubbed Classic, Exclusive and Sport.
In Electric E guise, the Countryman produces 201bhp from a single electric motor, enough power for 0-62mph in 8.6 seconds. This version is paired with a 65kWh battery for up to 287 miles on a charge. The more powerful SE bumps power up to 309bhp thanks to an extra motor giving it all-wheel drive – MINI gives a 0-62mph time of just 5.6 seconds, but the SE uses the same battery as the E for a reduced range of 269 miles.
Both E and SE models will be capable of 130kW DC charging, meaning they can charge from 10 to 80% in as little as 30 minutes.
MINI has not revealed full details about the combustion engines that power the Countryman, but has said the front wheel-drive Countryman C will get 168bhp, with the Countryman S ALL4 getting four wheel-drive and a higher power figure of 215bhp. The most powerful combustion-engined model is the JCW ALL4, which gets 296bhp and four wheel-drive. The C will do 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds, the S ALL4 in 7.1 seconds and the JCW ALL4 in a rapid 5.4 seconds.
Interior and practicality
As with the latest Cooper model, the Countryman gets a high-tech interior that still echoes that of the original classic MINI. It gets a minimalist design that uses knitted textiles made from recycled polyester, but the most striking element is MINI’s new circular central screen which is designed to echo the central speedometer of the original MINI – this system gets Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. The Countryman’s air vents and door handles are also vertically oriented, in contrast to those of the Cooper hatchback.
Below the central display, the MINI Countryman gets the same switch as in the Cooper, which allows drivers to switch between various Experience Modes. These include Core, Green, Go-Kart, Personal, Vibrant, Timeless and Balance. Timeless turns the central screen into a traditional MINI speedometer, while the Personal option allows you to upload your own image to the software, with the ambient lighting and system colours changing to match it. The other options change the car’s drive settings depending on your preference, and the Electric version even changes between various augmented engine noises to suit the setting.
Three trim levels will be available, kicking off with Classic, which features the knitted textile interior paired with synthetic leather sports seats. Exclusive is the next step up, which gets a two-tone houndstooth pattern on the dash textile trim, plus perforated trim on its sports seats and MINI’s ‘Spray-Tech’ roof which blends three different colours for a unique look. Sport trim adds multi-coloured textiles, red stitching to the synthetic leather sports seats and gloss black surrounds for the car’s exterior grille and logos. Customers can also add a contrasting roof and bonnet stripes.
MINI is keen to point out some of the new driver assistance features available to option on the new Countryman, including Level 2 semi-autonomous driving tech – a first for the brand. This comprises Automatic Active Cruise Control with Steering and Lane Assist, which allows the driver to take their hands off the wheel at speeds of up to 37mph.
MINI has made the new Countryman 13 centimetres longer and 6cm taller than the outgoing car in an effort to improve practicality. Boot space is up to 460 litres with the rear seats up (10 litres larger than before), and this increases to 1,450 litres when folded down compared with the outgoing car’s 1,390-litre capacity. There’s even a dedicated area under the boot floor to store the Electric model’s charging cables when not in use.
2023 MINI Countryman Prototype ride review - Steve Fowler
The new MINI Countryman isn’t due to be revealed in full until September, with production slated to start before the end of the year. Even so, we’ve managed to hitch a ride in the forthcoming compact crossover, alongside one of the car’s chief engineers.
Our first on-road taste of the third-generation SUV is of the pure-electric Countryman, which as mentioned, shares a large proportion of parts with the BMW iX1. While a less powerful single-motor model is likely, we were treated to a ride in the range-topping 309bhp ALL4 version.
On the cold, icy roads of Austria, the new Countryman – largely thanks to that all-wheel drive system – had no trouble putting its power down. And with all that shove, it has the potential to pin you in its new, more comfortable seats with ease. The body stays almost completely flat, even during hard cornering.
Other cool quirks include a sound generator that mimics the brand’s old petrol engines, with a purposeful growl as you accelerate and even the odd pop or crackle when you lift off. Speaking of which, there are different levels for the regenerative brakes, including a one-pedal mode for super-efficient urban driving.
The way the car rides has been a key consideration for Countryman driving dynamics engineer Simon Kruger and his team. He admitted they wanted to retain the old car’s “go-kart feel” but without compromising comfort – something MINIs haven’t always been famed for. The feeling, from the passenger seat at least, is of a car that’s still fun but more grown up than before.
It’s evidently more spacious, too – the extra length really adds to the roominess inside the cabin. The fact it’s a bit taller also makes it easier to get in and out, which will be a boon for taller adults or those regularly putting kids in the back.
Overall then, it seems as if the new MINI Countryman really does have all the ingredients to succeed. We always loved the way the SUV drove, and the extra comfort can only be a good thing. We can’t wait to take one for a proper drive.
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