The New BMW X1 – A Preview of the Next MINI Countryman & Clubman

Today BMW fans are either celebrating a new model or mourning the passing of their small rear wheel drive crossover. Either way you’re looking at the first front wheel drive based BMW to be sold globally. This new X1 also has something in common with all future MINIs. Like the forthcoming Clubman and Countryman it is based on the the larger version of the front wheel drive UKL platform. This means it’s not just a new X1 but a sneak peak at a number of things we’ll see in the 2016 Clubman and 2017 Countryman. Just what are they? Read on.


BMW of North America will likely import two petrol variations of the X1 and one plugin hybrid. There’s an outside chance for a four cylinder diesel but sources tell us that’s still up in the air. We’ve already scooped the plugin hybrid and how it relates to the MINI. So lets turn our attention on the two petrol power plants that will make up the vast majority of sales.

First to the market for the X1 will be the 28i powered by the same B48 variation of the BMW 2.0L found in the new MINI JCW. Toned down in power delivery (and noise), this engine’s 228hp is seen as the base in the North American market due to the weight of the X1 – 3600 lbs. While it’s down almost 70 lbs from the previous X1, it still requires a healthy power figure to keep on par with competitors. We expect MINI to use a similar strategy and use this 228hp version of the B48 for the Cooper S variations of both the Clubman and the Countryman. Moving down the ladder a bit, this means we may well see the 190hp version of this engine (used in the F56 Cooper S) offered in the Cooper Clubman and Countryman. This would give it performance roughly on par with the small F56 based Cooper.


Where does this leave potential JCW variants? We’ve told you previously about MINI’s plans for a 300 hp crossover. This new X1 will be laying the ground work for that in its 35i variant released either late this year or early next. Matching the output of the previous X1 35i, this new version will feature a 300 hp engine derived from the B48 and exclusively coupled with all wheel drive.

Even if these new larger Clubman and Countryman MINIs weigh near 3,500 lbs, the combination of all wheel drive and 300 hp should motivate them to 60 mph near or under 5 seconds. Couple this is the new Aisin 8 speed automatic (a transmission we expect to be used across the MINI range in the next two years) and you have a dramatically different performance level than any MINI before it. Granted the question remains, will it feel like a MINI?

With an increase in size and weight, that remains to be seen.

For more on the new BMW X1 (including full specifications, galleries and videos), head over to our sister site BimmerFile.

  • R.O.

    Interesting, BMW still keeps the CD player as standard across all their lines, yet for MINI, the CD single slot was eliminated as will be the CD changer for the 2016 MINI.

    Wonder why that is? If keeping a CD is good enough for a BMW, why not for the MINI. Both brands have USB’s, so why not have a CD.

    • Demographics and cost control collided with this decision. Makes a ton of sense to me personally. I haven’t used a CD in almost ten years.

      • R.O.

        I continue to use CD’s almost everyday (of course not in my F56 as no CD player (single slot available).

      • Tell me if I’m wrong Gabe but can we assume that parts of the interior of the X1 are derivated from the F20 which came out in 2011 back when the decision to get rid of CD players has not been taken. As opposed to the F56 that came out at the end of 2013.

      • R.O.

        On Demographics, I don’t know about the rest of the US/Canada or the world but when I attended an open house last week at my MINI Service Center for new MINI owners,(or people who had purchase a new or used MINI in the last 30 days) all 12 people were in their 50’s plus So it’s not like these folks were Gen X or Millenniums who are 100% into digital media – non CD users.

        • MINI’s average age is lower than BMWs and has generally decreased since the 2002 launch. Needless to say usage and sales of compact discs is what is driving this. And MINI isn’t alone.

        • “MINI’s average age is lower than BMWs and has generally decreased since the 2002 launch”

          Anecdotally, it appears as though the MINI ownership trend here (Boulder County) is going in the other direction: MINI drivers seem to be getting older. 40+/- seems to be the general age I’m seeing in new MINIs.

        • R.O.

          Here in Northern California too, or at least SF Bay Area.

  • R.O.

    Auto Express from the UK review the new BMW X1

    • Not really a review. Drives aren’t scheduled until later this summer. This is a common BMW UK practice btw. Wheel a car into a studio as a backdrop for video content. EVO, Autoexpress and Autocar all use the same thing.

      via mobile

  • R.O.

    German magazine; “Auto, Motor und Sport” have posted a video on their You Tube Channel new (next Gen) MINI Clubman being test driven on the Nürburgring.

    • Creed Cate

      looking good and flat in the corners!

      • Don Compton

        There’s all this regret about MINI selling bigger cars. Bottom line, the success of sales of these new models will keep the two-door hardtop alive. After nearly 10,000 miles, I have come to enjoy my ’15 F56S even more. BMW knows how to build cars for an enthusiast.

    • Nick Dawson

      Interesting new paint colours on the Clubman. Regular production of F54 at Plant Oxford, will start in a few weeks time, so these colours are most likely factory available.

  • The current Countryman tips the scales at a bit less than 3000 lbs, I think. The next one better not be 600 lbs heavier!

    If I had to read tea leaves, this would mean no 300 HP Countryman (even if there is an X1 version to take on the GLA45) because if they put that motor in, it would eat X1s for lunch…..

    Anyway, let’s see what BMW/MINI does to differentiate the two offerings.

    It’s an interesting take on the engine lineup for MINI. This would be the first time that they’d used different engines for the Countryman line than the hardtop versions…. It means that the Countryman might not take the performance hit, and it means there will be some interesting “MINI” engines available for transplant!

  • sugurunishioka

    Any sign of bringing manual transmission to the US market this time around?

  • Tom Kennedy

    And I wonder if there will be space for a donut spare like in the X1