The new Countryman – shown here in sporty JCW guise – has grown in size to appeal to families
Next-generation Countryman targets families needing enhanced practicality
Mini will take a bold first step into the mid-sized SUV market with the new, larger Countryman, created to stop the firm losing customers whose needs outgrow its current lineup.
“This is something for people that say ‘I have a second child now, so I can’t get the stroller into this one [the current Countryman]’,” said Wurst. “We need it for the people that we are losing right now, because they don’t have enough space.”
The Volkswagen ID 4 rival has also been conceived to grow the brand in the US market, which favours larger vehicles – something up until now Mini has not been able to cater to.
Visually, the car will differ from the current generation with a squarer front end, large front and rear overhangs and a more rugged treatment. It wears a more angular interpretation of Mini’s new bulbous headlights – as seen on the Cooper and Aceman.
It will expand on the current car’s powertrain line-up, with electric power replacing the soon-to-be-axed plug-in hybrid, alongside a petrol offering.
The entry-level electric variant will start with the Cooper’s and Aceman’s largest 54kWh battery, with a larger 64kWh unit offered in top-wrung SE guise. Although not yet confirmed, the longest-legged variant is expected to roughly match the iX1’s 272-mile maximum range. Power will start at 188bhp in the E, rising to 268bhp in the SE. The car will also be the only Mini offered with four-wheel drive, for both electric and combustion variants.
JCW variants, arriving in both ICE and EV forms, will, as well as offering extra grunt, get visual cues such as red brake callipers and quad-exit exhausts.
Although bulking up and changing shape, the Countryman will keep its name, something Wurst doesn’t believe will confuse customers: “I think they will understand. The Countryman is already established as the ‘big Mini’.”