A few weeks ago we revealed details on the larger next generation MINI Countryman and told you we’d soon be seeing tests mules running about. It looks like our predictions have come true as several media outlets are running stories today headlined by the first ever spy photos of the next generation MINI Countryman.
We don’t own the photos so we won’t reproduce them on MF but you can check them on Autocar and Autoblog only if you promise to come back here and read the real details on the car.
Yes It’s Bigger
The all new 2024 MINI Countryman will be about 200 mm (8 inches) larger – specifically in the rear. In a sense the best way to get a feel for the increased size is to look at the BMW X1 which the current Countryman is based on. MINI chose to modify the UKL chassis to shorten the rear giving it slightly more MINI-like proportions. With this new generation MINI will be basing the Countryman more on the actual size of the X1 and more specifically lengthening the rear. This will allow for a larger cargo area and more rear legroom. Yes it will also likely mean more weight despite an aluminum hood and other aluminum and composite components.
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.
Given what we know about the FAAR platform the 2024 MINI Countryman will introduce a new adaptive suspension that can 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.
The All Electric Countryman
Yes it’s coming. The FAAR platform was designed from the ground up to accommodate a battery pack and electric motor as part of the brand’s plans to transition all products over the next decade. That means we should see a fully electric version of the Countryman shortly after launch possibly as a 2025 model.
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.
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.
Seen clearly in the spy shots is a large center sensor in the grill. That will be part of this massive upgrade to 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.
We don’t have hard data yet but we believe we’ll see the next generation 2024 MINI Countryman debut sometime in 2023 likely as a 2024 model in the US. The all electric MINI Countryman should debut shortly after.