Let’s get this out of the way. The 2023 MINI Countryman will not look like what you see here. However it will be based on the same chassis, offer the same engines and come with the same technology as the all new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. In other words this is as good of a preview of the 2023 MINI Countryman as we will get until late next year when it debuts.
What we’re seeing here is the follow-up to the UKL2 platform called the FAAR. The biggest change over the UKL is that the FAAR was designed from the ground-up to accommodate internal combustion, hybrid and all electric power. The versatility of the platform is key as MINI (and BMW) will likely need to pivot to electrification quickly based on market and legislative pressures.
Now lets focus on what we see with this initial release of the (U06) 2 Series Active Tourer and how it will relate to the 2023 MINI Countryman. To start this is a MVP type of vehicle that doesn’t typically translate outside if Europe. However you can easily imagine a small crossover based on this chassis given the dimensions (which are slightly larger than the current Countryman).
Engines, Electrification and Performance
From a performance perspective there are a few things that should directly correlate with the 2023 MINI Countryman. There are no clean-sheet designs in the internal combustion world these days and there’s no exception here. Every petrol powered engine is a revision of an existing one. So things will look familiar but numbers will rise slightly. The 1.5 three cylinder which will be rated at 137 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque and then there’s a series of 2.0 four cylinder with varying tunes; 170 hp and 206 ft-lbs and 218 hp and 265 ft-lbs. All petrol engines will get a 48 volt mild hybrid system and will be mated to a revised 7-speed dual clutch with an all new gear selector design. Unfortunately we expect the manual transmission to be eliminated from the Countryman line-up.
We’ll also finally get the the highly anticipated 245 hp and 326 hp plug-in hybrid system – the latter could form the basis of the JCW Countryman. Also improved will be the electric only range which could be as high as 50 miles.
Bringing weight down will likely be an aluminum hood and other aluminum and composite components.
The suspension is also likely to be revised with a new adaptive that lower the ride height fifteen millimeters, giving the car a lower center of gravity and less roll in corners. Also new is a near actuator wheel slip limitation (say that three times) that should allow for improved traction, agility and stability.
Look for an all electric variant to eventually join both the BMW 2 Series AT and MINI Countryman.
Massive Leap in Technology & Infotainment
Here’s where things get really interesting. In the BMW version we’ll see the all-new BMW Operating System 8 debut. Note this is not called iDrive because the iDrive controller is gone in this application. We’d expect MINI to follow suit. In our minds it’s a step backwards given the data that points to a multi-function controller being safer to use while driving. And having tested the new BMW OS8 recently we can also say things have gotten much more complex in both functionality and usability.
Yet MINI has a history of going their own way in terms of infotainment so we expect an in-car experience that feels more intuitive and much more MINI. It’s unclear if MINI will carry over the two large screens seen above.
Part of this massive upgrade is an expansion of driver assistance systems that are typically only see in much larger cars. With the optional Driving Assistant Professional package, Active Cruise Control can be used at speeds up to 130mph, with Steering and Lane Control Assistant helping drivers to maintain their current course with subtle steering corrections.
There’s also a larger HUD as well as augmented reality within the center screen. And as expected all of this will be updated quarterly with remote software updates. Expect all of this tech on the Countryman moving forward.
2023 MINI Countryman Availability
We don’t have hard data yet but we believe we’ll see the next generation MINI Countryman debut sometime in early 2023 likely as a 2024 model in the US. Also coming will be a Clubman replacement which will likely be based on the same technology and both smaller and larger crossovers rumored.
BMW has unveiled the completely reengineered BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, offering a host of new features to create an even more tempting proposition in the premium compact segment.
The new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer boasts significant advances in all key areas and comes with an array of innovations previously reserved for the brand’s larger, more expensive models.
Notably, it marks the debut of the BMW Operating System 8 and the new generation of the BMW iDrive control system with BMW Curved Display in a compact-class BMW. Until now the advanced system has only featured in the fully-electric BMW iX and BMW i4. Likewise, the range of driver assistance systems specified as standard or available as options sets a new benchmark both for the BMW model line-up and the sector.
The new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer’s all-new architecture is designed to accommodate both electrified drive systems and conventional engines. New engines, the second generation of 48V mild hybrid technology from BMW, the seven-speed Steptronic dual-clutch transmission fitted as standard in all model variants, and extensively updated chassis technology take both efficiency and agility to new heights.
Customers can initially choose from two petrol engines and one diesel, with the range set to expand from summer 2022 with the addition of two plug-in hybrid models equipped with fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology for a significantly extended electric range.
A choice of Sport, Luxury and M Sport variants, plus the availability of extensive individualisation options, ensure the new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer will appeal to a wide number of drivers. Its contemporary style, interior packaging, advanced technology and efficient drivetrains are destined to continue the original’s popularity: the first-generation model sold more than 430,000 units with, significantly, around 80 per cent of sales to customers who were new to the BMW brand.
It will be produced at BMW Group Plant Leipzig. Careful selection of materials optimises sustainability in the manufacture of the new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer and ensures a high degree of recyclability at the end of its life.
The new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer will be priced from £30,265 and is due for launch and first UK deliveries in March 2022.
Sporting elegance expressed in a new style with increased presence
At the front of the car is the iconic BMW kidney grille, which has a radar sensor for the optional driver assistance systems integrated into the central section. The addition of full LED headlights as standard adds to the front end’s fresh look. A new interpretation of the distinctive light graphic divides the headlights into three clusters for low beam, high beam and daytime driving light, the latter also performing the role of turn signal indicators. Adaptive LED Headlights, available as an option (or standard on the M Sport models), include a cornering light function, non-dazzling matrix high beam, urban lights, a motorway beam pattern and bad weather light.
When viewed from the side, two precisely drawn character lines underscore the car’s surfaces. The upward tick, the forward-leaning BMW kidney grille, raked A-pillars, stretched side window graphic and slim C-pillars not only increase the appeal but improve all-round visibility. The rear of the new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer features slim light units with LED technology for all light functions, arranged – if the optional Adaptive LED Headlights are specified – in a striking L shape.
The new model is larger than its predecessor – by 32mm in length, 24mm in width, and 21mm in height. While the wheelbase is unchanged at 2,670mm, its track widths have been increased by 25mm at the front and 26mm at the back. An intelligent mix of materials minimises the body’s weight while enhancing rigidity and crash safety. The aluminium bonnet reduces weight at the front while lightweight plastic supports for the doors and lightweight forged wheels bring further weight savings.
Optimised aerodynamic properties and acoustic comfort
Aerodynamic optimisation brings benefits for both driving dynamics and efficiency. Measures undertaken to channel the flow of air around the car include an active air-flap control system for the BMW kidney grille and the addition of aerodynamic body aids, while a virtually fully sealed underbody with air guides and integrated exhaust tailpipes contribute to the car’s low drag coefficient of just 0.26 on some models. Wind noise has also been reduced and a new engine and transmission mounting improves vibration isolation, particularly when starting and stopping the engine.
Sport, Luxury and M Sport models
The new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer will be offered in Sport, Luxury and M Sport specification. Sport includes 17-inch alloy wheels, Sport seats with anthracite cloth upholstery, LED headlights, high-gloss Shadowline exterior trim, and Parking Assistance with reversing camera and Park Distance Control as standard. Luxury cars feature 17-inch V-Spoke alloy wheels, Aluminium exterior trim, Vernasca leather upholstery, and heated front seats. The M Sport package introduces a distinctive front apron design, 18-inch Bi-colour alloy wheels, Adaptive M Sport suspension, Adaptive LED headlights, folding exterior mirrors, Sport seats with Alcantara/Sensatec upholstery, Luxury Instrument Panel, heated seats, Comfort Access, and wireless charging.
Large selection of exterior colour shades and light-alloy wheels
Two non-metallic and nine metallic paint finishes are available for the new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, including the new Sparkling Copper Grey metallic. 17-inch light-alloy wheels are fitted as standard to Sport and Luxury models, with additional18- and 19-inch wheels as options.
Progressive premium ambience for the interior
The interior of the new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer has been completely redesigned. Taking its cues from the BMW iX, the BMW Curved Display – with its frameless glass surface angled towards the driver – brings a modern highlight to the cabin, as well as enhancing the spacious and open feeling of the cabin. Five interior trim variants, including the new Aluminium Hexacube and open-pore fine eucalyptus wood, enable owners to individualise their car. The newly designed control panel contains the redesigned gear selector, Start/Stop button, volume control, and buttons to activate the parking brake, My Modes, Park Assist and vehicle settings. The front area of the centre console serves as a smartphone tray with wireless charging an option, or standard for M Sport models.
The new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer enjoys increased headroom, shoulder room and elbow room in both rows of seats compared to its predecessor. Rear seat passengers also enjoy a noticeable increase in kneeroom over the previous model.
Newly-developed seats provide improved long-distance comfort and enhanced lateral support. Anthracite cloth upholstery is standard on Sport models with perforated Sensatec as an option. Vernasca leather and Alcantara/Sensatec with blue stitching are featured on Luxury and M Sport models respectively. Seat heating can be specified as an option for Sport models, as can 6-way electric adjustment with memory, lumbar support and massage function for all models.
ISOFIX child safety seat fasteners are integrated into the rear outer seats, and the 40:20:40 split rear backrests can be folded down to expand boot capacity. The backrest angle can be adjusted separately, allowing the boot capacity to grow by up to 90 litres, while the forward/back adjustment allows up to 13cm of travel.
Load capacity can be expanded from 470 to 1,455 litres (BMW 218d Active Tourer) or from 415 to 1,405 litres (BMW 220i Active Tourer, BMW 223i Active Tourer). The boot of the plug-in hybrid model holds up to 1,370 litres of cargo. Automatic tailgate operation comes as standard, while the optional Comfort Access (standard for M Sport) adds hands-free opening and closing.
A Sport steering wheel is standard, while the M Sport specification includes an M leather steering wheel with shift paddles, joined by an anthracite M headliner, Sensatec/Alcantara sport seats, M pedals and an M logo in the information display.
A host of further options allow owners to individualise the premium interior to their own tastes and requirements, including an electric panoramic roof with a new multi-layer roller blind cover and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon Sound System.
New engines, seven-speed Steptronic dual-clutch transmission as standard, 48V mild hybrid technology, plus two plug-in hybrid models
Driving pleasure, reduced fuel consumption and lower emissions are key features of the new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, with petrol and diesel engines taken from the latest generation of the BMW Group’s EfficientDynamics engine family. A more powerful version of 48V mild hybrid technology makes its debut in the new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, with two plug-in hybrid variants to follow. All engines are married to a new seven-speed Steptronic dual-clutch transmission as standard.
Petrol engines with optimised fuel consumption and emission levels
Two latest-generation petrol engines will be available from launch, starting with a new 1.5-litre three-cylinder unit. Its output of 156hp is assisted by a 19hp electric motor for a combined output of 170hp and peak torque of 280Nm. As a result, the new BMW 220i Active Tourer accelerates from 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit powering the BMW 223i Active Tourer develops 218hp (204hp plus 19hp) and 360Nm. It sprints from 0-62mph in 7.0 seconds, yet emits just 137-149g/km and achieves 42.8-47.1mpg.
Standard: seven-speed Steptronic dual-clutch transmission
The new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is the first to feature a new version of the seven-speed Steptronic dual-clutch transmission. The latest generation of BMW’s automatic transmission features all-electric actuation, a wider gear spread, better shift quality and higher internal efficiency. It also offers a gear selection strategy adapted to the route profile and now includes a coasting function in all My Modes options. When the engine is switched off, the transmission now automatically shifts into the P position.
Debut for new 48V mild hybrid technology
Mild hybrid technology has enabled the BMW 223i and 220i Active Tourer models to deliver improved driving dynamics and optimised efficiency. The 48V electric motor acts as a starter generator and power booster for the engine and is now integrated into the automatic transmission. It delivers an extra 19hp when pulling away from a standstill, or during mid-range acceleration. The starter generator enhances the smoothness of the Auto Start Stop function, with the energy required stored in a 48V battery located underneath the boot, charged by recuperation during overrun and braking.
Two plug-in hybrid models added to the range
Plug-in hybrid technology is expected to join the range from summer 2022 with the BMW 230e xDrive and 225e xDrive Active Tourer. The fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology consists of a current-excited electric motor installed in a single housing along with the power electronics and transmission plus the latest battery and charging technology. In both models, the electric motor acts on the rear wheels while a three-cylinder petrol engine drives the front wheels. With the aid of an intelligent powertrain management system, this results in all-wheel drive that delivers exceptional sportiness, directional stability and traction in all driving situations.
Maximum output is 326hp (150hp plus 177hp) for the BMW 230e xDrive Active Tourer and 245hp (136hp plus 109hp) for the BMW 225e xDrive Active Tourer. Maximum charging capacity is up from 3.7kW to 7.4kW, meaning that a full charge can be delivered in around 2.5 hours, or just under 8 hours via a conventional household socket. Electric range has also been increased and is now up to 49 miles based on the WLTP cycle.
Great to drive and comfortable, whatever the situation
The chassis of the new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer has been engineered to combine driving pleasure and ride comfort. All front-end components have been re-developed almost from scratch to give the car better turn-in and optimised steering feel, while highlights of the rear include a bespoke modular three-link axle with relocated springs and dampers that free up more interior space.
Adaptive M suspension with mechanically controlled adjustable dampers is standard on M Sport models. The package brings a 15mm drop in the vehicle’s ride height (except plug-in hybrid models) and includes M Sport steering with a more direct rack ratio.
Near-actuator wheel slip limitation for extremely quick, precise response
The new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer now comes with near-actuator wheel slip limitation to maximise the car’s agility. This traction control system is integrated into the engine management, eliminating the long signal paths to the control unit for the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) and allowing corrective inputs to be applied up to ten times faster than in conventional systems, ensuring optimum traction even on slippery roads and during acceleration.
The functions provided by the DSC system include not only anti-lock braking (ABS) and Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), but also a variety of stabilising functions and the drive-off assistant. The Performance Control function further increases agility by varying torque to the front wheels.
Integrated braking system optimises handling characteristics
The braking system in the new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is unique in its segment and delivers outstanding stopping power and reliable pedal feel. This system brings together brake activation, brake booster and braking control functions within a compact module. The required brake pressure is triggered using an electric actuator that generates pressure more dynamically and ensures faster and more precise interventions by the DSC.
Driver assistance systems
Comfort and safety in the new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer are enhanced by the largest selection of automated assistance functions ever offered in a compact BMW. These functions can be improved or expanded by means of Remote Software Upgrades and Functions on Demand.
The right speed for every situation – automatically
Automatic Speed Limit Assist controls the car’s speed by maintaining the desired safe distance from vehicles in front and observing speed restrictions along the route. It takes into account speed limits detected by the Speed Limit Info system or by using data from the navigation system and, with the system enabled, the maximum permitted speed is automatically adopted.
The route monitoring function uses the navigation system’s map to look ahead and reduce the car’s speed when approaching a corner, roundabout, junction or an exit. The system also adjusts the speed as required before entering built-up areas.
Cruise Control with brake function and manual Speed Limit Assist as standard
Cruise Control with brake function is fitted as standard. A manual Speed Limit Assist function is also available, allowing the driver to import the speed limit registered by the Speed Limit Info system including no-overtaking indicator – another standard feature – as the new set speed.
The optional Active Cruise Control with Stop&Go function can maintain the preferred speed (operational between 19-112mph) while also keeping a safe distance from vehicles travelling ahead by using sensor data from the cameras and radar.
Front-collision warning and Lane Departure Warning are also standard, with the former now able to react to oncoming traffic.
The complete package: Driving Assistant Professional including Steering and Lane Control Assistant
With the optional Driving Assistant Professional package, Active Cruise Control can be used at speeds up to 130mph, with Steering and Lane Control Assistant helping drivers to maintain their current course with subtle steering corrections. Active Navigation, meanwhile, helps the driver to keep to the route calculated by the navigation system on multi-lane roads.
Emergency Lane Assistant (in selected European countries including the UK) and Lane Keeping Assistant with active side collision protection are also included, while Road Priority Warning, Wrong-way Warning and Front-crossing traffic Warning help to further prevent collisions. Exit Warning activates visible and acoustic signals if a vehicle or cyclist is approaching and there is a risk of collision on either side of the vehicle.
Providing the help required with parking and manoeuvring: Reversing Assist Camera, Reversing Assistant, Parking Assistant
Active Park Distance Control (PDC) uses visual and acoustic alerts and automatic brake inputs to help avoid collisions with obstacles and includes a Reversing Assist Camera as standard.
The latest version of the Parking Assistant is also standard and helps the driver to park in spaces parallel or perpendicular to the road. Instead of just using other vehicles to help it select a parking space, the system is now also able to use the kerb as a guide. Parking Assistant can now be used both to enter and exit spaces and as well as steering, it also carries out the acceleration, braking and gear changes required.
Reversing Assistant, meanwhile, offers the option of automated reversing in confined spaces or situations where the driver does not have a clear view, such as multi-storey car parks.
The optional Parking Assistant Plus incorporates Surround View, Panorama View and 3D View to create a 360-degree image of the vehicle and its surroundings. Meanwhile, the Remote 3D View function gives drivers the ability to call up a three-dimensional live image of their vehicle and its immediate vicinity on their smartphone.
BMW Drive Recorder is available on cars with Parking Assistant Plus and uses the driver assistance systems’ cameras to record video all around the vehicle, up to 60 seconds in length, for later playback or export via the USB interface. In the event of a collision, up to 20 seconds of video taken both before and after the impact (40 seconds in total) are stored.
The new BMW iDrive and innovative digital services
The new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is the first premium compact model to be equipped with the most recent incarnation of the BMW iDrive display and operating system. Boasting new-generation BMW Operating System 8 software along with powerful connectivity and data processing, it takes interaction between driver and vehicle to another level.
The user experience is underpinned by the seamless interaction between the BMW Curved Display, voice control, the multifunction buttons on the steering wheel and the optional BMW Head-Up Display. The new display grouping and the expanding capabilities of the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant mean the new BMW iDrive has been geared towards interaction using touch and natural language. As a result, steps previously carried out with the BMW Controller can now be performed more easily and intuitively using the touchscreen, voice control or the buttons on the steering wheel.
Fully digital BMW Curved Display with state-of-the-art graphics
The BMW Curved Display fitted as standard in the new 2 Series Active Tourer is formed by a 10.25-inch information display and a control display of 10.7 inches. The screens are housed together behind a glass surface that curves towards the driver, so they merge into a single fully digital, high-resolution unit.
The BMW Curved Display’s graphics and menu structure have been designed to have a smartphone-style appearance. The layout in the centre of the display can be customised to suit the driving situation and personal preferences, while the arrangement of widgets on the home screen provides a simple overview of the menu options.
The automatic climate control is operated by voice control or the touchscreen. Controls for adjusting the temperature on the driver and front passenger side are shown permanently, while airflow, air distribution and the seat heating function can be controlled by calling up the climate control menu.
Personalised driving experience with the new My Modes
Drivers of the new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer have a choice of PERSONAL, SPORT and EFFICIENT My Modes, each activating specific settings for the powertrain and steering, the style of the readouts on the BMW Curved Display and the interior lighting.
Fast, accurate, informative: the BMW Maps navigation system
The cloud-based BMW Maps navigation system, which is part of the standard BMW Live Cockpit Plus, offers enhanced performance and accuracy along with a simplified method of destination entry. The new-generation navigation system enables fast route calculation, carried out dynamically and based on real-time traffic data. The arrival time is calculated using an anticipatory method which factors in the usual traffic levels along the entire route.
With Connected Parking, BMW Maps is also able to provide assistance when searching for a parking space close to the destination.
Precision navigating with Augmented View
The new optional Augmented View function supplements the navigation system’s map view with a live video stream from the driver’s perspective shown on the control display and augmented by, for instance, an animated directional arrow to help the driver take the best turn-off for the planned route.
Natural dialogue with the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant
The new generation of BMW iDrive also sees the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant gaining additional skills. Spoken instructions can now be used to adjust the air conditioning, open a window or operate the optional panoramic glass roof, for instance. The system is also capable of recognising routines and proactively suggesting that the driver automates them, for example, if you have to scan an ID badge upon arriving at work at a similar time each day, BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant will recommend automating the driver window lowering.
Interior camera for snapshots; glancing inside the car using the My BMW App
The new overhead interior camera can be used by the car’s occupants to take snapshots during the journey. Pictures can be shared by simply scanning a QR code in the control display with any smartphone connected to the car via Wi-Fi.
Customers are also able to have pictures from the interior camera sent to their smartphone using the My BMW App’s remote function if they wish to glance inside the car to check whether bags or other items have been left there, for example. The interior camera is also activated when the Remote Theft Recorder is triggered.
Personalisation using the BMW ID
With the new BMW iDrive, customers benefit from greater personalisation thanks to BMW ID. This is used for securely storing personalised settings and transferring them between vehicles with a PIN code for security. Scanning a QR code is all it takes to create a new BMW ID on a smartphone, and if the user already has a BMW ID, this will be automatically imported into the car via the app.
The BMW ID can be created and activated in vehicles with BMW Operating System 8 or BMW Operating System 7. Once imported, the driver will receive a personal greeting that will include their customised profile image. At the same time, personal settings for seat position, exterior mirrors, navigation system, driver assistance functions, display layouts, shortcuts and favourites as well as infotainment system settings will be imported automatically. Personalised suggestions from the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant are also stored in the BMW ID, together with individually selected wake words and privacy settings.
Smartphone linking and integration of third-party services
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are integrated wirelessly as standard, allowing customers to access digital services they use on their smartphones such as voice assistants, map apps, music streaming and messaging services. Information from the apps can be viewed both in the control display and in the instrument cluster or optional Head-Up Display.
The My BMW App is available in more than 40 countries for both iOS and Android operating systems and can be downloaded free from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. It acts as a universal interface to the car, providing information on the vehicle’s status at any time, enabling (depending on equipment) remote operation of functions such as vehicle location, door locking, Remote 3D View and, on plug-in hybrid models, the auxiliary climate control system.
The optional BMW Digital Key Plus enables customers to lock and unlock their new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer with their Apple iPhone via NFC technology, making a conventional car key superfluous. The car owner can share access with up to five other users and can create a configuration for young drivers which restricts top speed, engine power, maximum radio volume and more.
Always up to the minute: Remote Software Upgrades for over-the-air updates
The Remote Software Upgrades function keeps the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer up to date with the latest software, offering new services and improved vehicle functions. All updates can be downloaded over the air, on a smartphone via the My BMW App, or directly into the car using its built-in SIM card.