Earlier this month we brought you an exclusive first look at the all new 2024 MINI Countryman. While the larger exterior dimensions and massive center screen dominated most conversations, there was another detail that looked incredibly intriguing and pointed towards a massive re-think. And come to find out, it’s re-think that might just be the most divisive change for current Countryman owners.

Looking at the spy photos of the interior the second think you notice (after the giant screen of course) is the lack of switch gear and a very different console design than what we’re used to seeing. Of course the switchgear is there but it’s been re-routed into a temporary space where cupholders will ultimately be.

Luckily thanks to some internal sources we have answers. We already know the next Countryman won’t have a manual option at all. But what about the automatic gear lever? Our sources tell us that it will be identical to the one recently released in the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. That means it will radically transform into a small switch with a “Park” button just behind it.

This change (coupled with the iDrive controller going away) is set to be a massive shift in design direction for MINI. Not only is the next generation Countryman not going to have a manual, it won’t even have a traditional automatic shifter.

Additionally the center console will house two large cupholders and (importantly) a spot to wirelessly charge your phone. That spot will also be where you’ll place your phone to start your car. Yes you will be able to use your phone as a kay in the next generation Countryman. Sources tell us that this will be the same CarKey technology in recent BMWs. It will also be capable of ultra white band tech which makes the process of using your phone as a key even easier.

Finally one other aspect of the design we can gleam from the photos is a new air vent design that will be identical to the one seen in the all New BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. The BMW 2AT as you can likely guess is based on the same FAAR platform as the new 2024 MINI Countryman. And yes, unlike the refreshed petrol powered F56, the new Countryman will very much be an all new MINI.

2024 MINI Countryman Launch Details

With the test mules progressing quickly, we believe we’ll see the 2024 MINI Countryman make its debut in the second half of 2023 as a 2024 model in the US. We’ll likely see petrol powered Cooper and Cooper S models first before MINI launches its first ever all electric Countryman. And don’t worry; an even higher horsepower JCW Countryman is coming.

Gallery – BMW 2 Series Active Tourer Console