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.
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.