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Exclusive: An Early Look at the 2nd Generation 2018 MINI Countryman

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While the automotive world is focused on the new MINI, the upcoming four door and Clubman, MINI is quietly working on what will be the largest MINI yet, the F60 Countryman. Expected in the summer of 2017 MINI is already using focus groups to help get feedback on early concepts for the car.

Why is MINI making these changes? Consumer response to the Countryman has been good over the past three years since launch with sales that have exceeded expectations. However it’s clear that those same consumers want a car with slightly more room and less trade-offs. What does that mean?

According to those in the know, the Countryman and the Clubman will both share the stretched version of the UKL platform that all new MINIs will use. Like the Clubman, the Countryman will be decidedly wider than the F56 and will likely feature a similar interior as well. More specifically this width will allow the Countryman to seat three across in the rear much easier than the current car and will allow for more room upfront. We expect the full-length rail option to die with the F60.

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The exterior of the F60 will feel much like the current car but all around slightly larger to accommodate more luggage space in the boot.

Overall MINI will thoughtfully evolve the exterior design to keep the connection between old and new in consumers minds. That means the roof shape will likely be very similar along with the rear taillights which will be vertical rather than horizontal like the Current Paceman and upcoming 2015 Clubman.

However that won’t stop MINI from making a few bold changes. One of the overriding goals of the new car’s design will be to evoke a more rugged overall look. To do this MINI will make the wheel arches more prominent potentially with notches molded into the design. Gone also are the headlights which will be much closer to the Clubman concept we saw earlier this spring.

Under the bonnet expect the entire range of MINI”s new engines from the 1.5L three cylinder Cooper to the 2.0L Cooper S. Given MINI’s investment i in the hybrid power plant that will be on other large UKL vehicles (detailed earlier this year) we’d expect the Countryman to offer that as well. Then there’s the JCW question. We’ve heard MINI will limit the JCW scope slightly this go around to make it feel more special. Does this mean no more JCW Countryman? According to our sources, that question hasn’t been answered yet.

Expect the F60 Countryman to debut in 2017 as a 2018 model. In the meantime look for a light refresh of the R60 later this year.

Written By: Gabe

  • Guest

    You may want to correct the typo in the third paragraph…

  • ulrichd

    Another larger MINI made even larger due to focus groups. It’s not like consumers don’t have other vehicle choices in the market that may better serve their needs. It’s like a woman saying “I love that miniskirt I just wish it was longer.”

    • http://twitter.com/matthewwanderer Matthew

      The tail’s wagging the dog while the frog slowly boils. Something like that.

  • John

    What about the rumored LCI for the Countryman at the New York Auto Show?

  • piper

    Bigger is Badder! What the f*&k MINI. You ain’t so MINI no mo’ Time to consider liposuction …

  • Kev50027

    At this point, why even call it a MINI? Make a new brand and call it FATTI or something.

    • r.burns

      it is too late to exercise such hypocrisy It is your Mini (R50/56) that broke the MINI size

      • ulrichd

        I see your point but one could argue that the R50/53 was the smallest car BMW could design and still meet all required modern safety requirements. The same can’t be said for the Countryman and certainly not an even bigger one.

        • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

          Except it isn’t true. The R50/53 wasn’t the smallest possible car BMW could have designed. Think about the Smart, for example. That first gen car made very clever use of its size, and really, that’s been much more at the heart of what the new MINI has been all along: being clever, not just small for small’s sake. MINI has said outright that their position for each of their models is always be one of the smallest, if not the smallest, most size-clever in its class. The Countryman lives up to that and will continue to. It’s not like there’s many other properly small crossover SUVs out there. In fact, when it debuted, the Countryman was something like the 4th or 5th smallest car you could buy. I also think it’s funny that you described the R50/53’s inception as the smallest car BMW could have made for the safety regulations of the time. You could kind of say the same thing about the F56, but that doesn’t fly with you guys who are super fixated on exact size. ;-) As for that, this whole concept of “size purity” is really, really entertaining to me. Small is a relative range, not an exact size. At least I think so.

        • Kev50027

          Didn’t MINI just reassure us a few years back that the Countryman would be the biggest MINI they make? Now they’re making it bigger.

          “MINI has said outright that their position for each of their models is always be one of the smallest, if not the smallest, most size-clever in its class.”

          By that rule, MINI could release a small-ish semi truck. I understand the need for a 4 door MINI, that makes sense, but to make an SUV that’s a MINI just kind of defeats the purpose. A small full-size sedan is still a full-size sedan, in other words.

        • John McLauchlan

          The point of these comments is that MINI has continued to grow each model with the launch of each new generation. I’m fairly sure they have a perfect track record of doing this so far. Same formula as BMW has done for the past 4 decades with virtually every model, every time. Please correct this comment if it is wrong, I did not do any real research :)

          I’m not one of the size purists, and can’t wait for the new Clubman to arrive, but the enlarging of the lineup something to be acknowledged instead of refuted IMHO.

        • ulrichd

          I specifically remember reading, perhaps on this site, that BMW engineers wanted more front overhang on the R50/53 for extra crash safety but the designers would not budge. So yes, it could have been Smart size but it would not have looked right. Also I did not include the F56 because by then, a new set of pedestrian impact standards were in place, and the front end HAD to change. I am not an F56 hater.

      • Kev50027

        It’s never too late to say a car with 7+ logos that say “MINI” on it is not small. The Countryman isn’t huge, but it’s certainly not a mini MINI, and a bigger countryman is.. well.. it’s not notable in any way at all. In other words, if it says MINI it should at least be small.

        • Andrew Vella

          MINI is a brand….Not a car!

        • Kev50027

          Andrew, I know exactly what MINI is, I drive one every day. Of course it’s a brand name. That’s my point. The brand name means small, so to put a brand name that means small on something that isn’t is a contradiction, don’t you think?

          It would be like putting a BMW logo on a Nissan. Nissans are not made by Bavarian Motor Works, and a massive MINI isn’t mini.

        • Andrew Vella

          I drive one everyday and currently work for the brand so I don’t understand what point your trying to get across? MINI is just a “name”. The Cooper is the vehicle you are referring to. By putting a Chrysler engine into the R50/R53, does that not make it a MINI? I fail to understand you? Unfortunately, the brand could not survive on a “small vehicle”. There is not enough market share to create a profitable business. The bigger vehicles are designed for customers who want a unique vehicle that can support a family. Is it not fair to make a vehicle for everybody’s needs?

    • Andrew Vella

      I believe you fail to see that MINI is a brand name, nothing more.

      • Kev50027

        Your point? The brand name says it’s small. It’s that simple.

        • Andrew Vella

          The brand new does not mean “small”. The brand name is based on a vehicle that was completely changed the market in which MINI did. They relaunched the idea of having a vehicle that was a pleasure to drive and something unique.

  • SPICYJCWCOUPE

    Based on all the shouting out there from those that are complaining that the MINI name should have only the smallest cars out there, then I guess you’d cancel any future generations of Countryman, Paceman, the next Clubman, maybe even the 4 door F55 hatch that’s coming put this fall. Hey, it’s a whopping 2 inches longer than the F56. Can’t have that!!! Maybe reduce the entire MINI lineup to only the 2 door hatch, convertible, & maybe a combo 2 seater coupe/roadster. Would that make you happy?

    In the 1970’s I had a car that was as small as the original Mini…a 1972 Honda Z600 sport coupe. Was only 10.5 ft long, weighed in at 1310 lbs, had a 600cc 2 cyl air cooled motorcycle engine. Even had 10″ wheels like the early MIni. Took near 20 secs to get to 60mph with a top speed of 75mph. That was the red line in top gear!. It was a fun car, but I moved on!

    Fast forward to the past 7 years to my last 2 cars….an 08 MCS hatch then my current 12 JCWCoupe. But I’m not beyond moving to a ‘larger’ 4 door F55 when it comes out in the fall. Despite all the critics & low sales, I also like the HUGE Paceman. But I’m looking forward to the new technology becoming available in the F series, be it in the smallest or the larger models. They will each have a nitch & will each have their supporters

    • ulrichd

      You are overreacting and nobody is shouting, except maybe you. I am of the opinion, and I am in the minority, that MINI should be a prenium boutique brand with the hatch, convertible, Clubbie and Rocketman. If you need a bigger car or SUV BMW will be glad to help you. Also my criticism is not just about size it’s also about being everything to everyone with too many models. As for certain models just being a few inches bigger, etc, etc., well it’s just that it keeps going and going to the point where, for example, the current 3-series is so big I always think it’s a 5 series. Anyway that’s my take.

      • SPICYJCWCOUPE

        So it seems that your preference would be very close to what I mentioned in my 1st paragraph of ‘shouting’ ( I really wasn’t). Just having the smallest few models but you also added the clubman which will be even longer & wider than the current Countryman when it comes out as the F54. I personally think the 4 door F55 to be out this fall could be a real winner & seller for those that want max room & access in a small package yet still have the handling/ performance closely matching the ‘smaller’ F56.

        If MINI’s models stayed the same size, it would probably be the only maker doing that. That would really make it unique. Today’s Corolla is larger than the Camry was 25 years ago, likewise with today’s Civic over the Accord years ago. Doesn’t make it right or wrong. I had a 1958 Porsche 356 Coupe back in the 1960’s. It would look like a toy compared to today’s 911. At some point, all these models eventually reach their size limits. My guess is the F56 will not get any larger. What about that, BMW????

        • ulrichd

          I guess you are right. I was generally taken MINI to task for the size increases when, of course, every manufacturer is doing it. Maybe that means we will see the Rocketman after all at some point to finish out the model palette at the bottom.

        • Eric

          Don’t forget that the physical size of the consumer (not to mention their general expectations for roomier vehicles) has significantly increased since the original.

  • JonPD

    Bigger Motor Works is genetically incapable of not bloating its cars, no suprise that its grown. Give it another decade people will look back on the smaller demensions of the F60 fondly. More luxury (bigger), more safety (bigger) etc etc etc. BMW/MINI is a one trick pony and despite having deep research and engineering capabilites the only have one solution to every question…. BIGGER!

    • oldsbear

      With the possible exception of the new Cooper engine, which is…. SMALLER!

  • SPICYJCWCOUPE

    Gabe…in a recent comment you noted that the 2015 Countryman will have a minor refresh. Would the Paceman also be included in that? What sort of items would be included in that refresh? Perhaps some new features from the F56 such as available rear view camera or other tech items?

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

      Yes the Paceman will likely get it as well. It’ll be lights and maybe minor cosmetic tweaks in the bumpers. I doubt we’ll see any f56 tech.


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MINI Model Cheat Sheet

1st Gen MINI
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
R53: MCS Hatch
2nd Gen MINI
R55: Clubman
R56: Hatch
R57: Convertible
R58: Coupe
R59: Roadster
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F54: Clubman
F55: Five Door Hatch
F56: Hatch
F57: Convertible
F60: MINI Crossover
F58: Traveller

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