Maturity. That’s the overriding feeling you get when you step out of the 2023 F60 Countryman and into the new BMW X1. The X1 has raised the bar dramatically in terms of material quality inside the cabin. And as much as we have issues various interfaces in the new car, it’s hard to argue that the interior feels more elevated and inviting.
On the road the maturity theme carries over as the X1 feels less responsive and more isolated as well as more comfortable and luxurious. The X1 equipped with M Sport has the much more ability to dial up or down the engagement with adaptive suspension, throttle mapping and steering software than the F60 sport setting. However our Non-M Sport orange X1 test car didn’t have ability and this felt decidedly less engaging.
Is This Really a Preview of the Next MINI Countryman?
While we don’t have all the details, we have a lot of them. What we see here is roughly the specification of the Countryman S. Available only with the DCT 7 speed, the Countryman S will have a similar output to the 241 hp and 295 lbs of torque.
This is also the same platform and drivetrain will see in the Countryman. Albeit with some subtle differences. The Countryman will make do with passive dampers and steering calibrated for more direct response and feel. Additionally it’ll be 3″ shorter, 2″ shorter and fractionally more narrow which also means we’ll see less weight. While we’re not talking dramatic differences, clearly MINI is keen to make the Countryman more driver oriented than even the X1 M Sport we tested last fall.
The all new X1 has also grown fractionally across every dimension; 1.7-inches (43 mm) longer, 0.9-inches (22.9 mm) wider, and 1.7-inches (43 mm) taller. The wheelbase has also grown by 0.9-inches (22.9 mm) and sits at 106 inches (2,692.4 mm). For what it’s worth we’ll see the Countryman also grow but not quite to this size. But as you can see in the photos above this is a noticeably bigger car than the current F60 Countryman. While not dramatic, the overall length is the biggest differentiation between the two.
Which leads us to what we prefer. There’s no question that the smaller Countryman is more engaging to drive feels more MINI like. And while the X1 comes with a bit more modern technology, the touchscreen only interface is harder to use and unnecessarily complex compared to the Countryman’s proven iDrive system.
Finally the design of the two is a clear differentiator. the X1 blends in to the crossover saturated market where the Countryman still feels fresh after six years on the market. While there are aspects of the new X1 we enjoyed (material quality namely) there’s not a whole lot here to moves us to consider making a swap.