The all new electric MINI Countryman hasn’t even reached buyers hands yet and we already have a glimpse of what’s next. This past week BMW took the wraps off of the BMW Neue Klasse X concept which itself is a peek at the forthcoming electric BMW X3. But more importantly this concept is a preview of how BMW will approach its next generation of electric vehicles. And for MINI this gives us a glimpse into the technology that will power the next generation Countryman.

We went hands-on with this radical new concept in Portugal and talked to the designers and engineers who created it and are working on the next generation of electric BMWs. What we learned shed light on key aspects of future BMWs and could play a major role in the next Countryman due late this decade.

The new U25 electric MINI Countryman is the most complex and advances model MINI has ever created. It’s particular impressive as it’s sold both as an internal combustion and electric car. That’s made possible by BMW and MINI’s use of the new FAAR platform which allows for internal combustion engines (ICE), plugin hybrids (PHEVs) and battery electric (BEVs) vehicles. However there is a downside to this amount of flexibility. Because the platform is designed to accommodate so many powertrains there are some key engineering tradeoffs.

The tradeoffs in EV form are primarily about packaging and efficiency. The biggest is that the electric U25 MINI Countryman can’t pack as many battery cells as dedicated skateboard chassis EV can because it has to deal with structure built for internal combustion drivetrains. This also translates into less interior room and a use of space that’s not as ideal of effective as bespoke electric cars.

Luckily BMW and MINI are already working on what’s next and the Neue Klasse X gives us some clues.

The BMW Neue Klasse Connection to Next Generation MINIs

First let’s demystify what the Neue Klasse terminology is. The phrase is an homage to the Neue Klasse generation of vehicles that BMW created in the 1960’s that quite literally saved the company. Highly advanced for the time, they defined the notion of the sports sedan and set the company on a course that continues to this day. BMW has similar aspirations with this modern day Neue Klasse.

At its core this is an advanced electric vehicle platform designed with 15 years of accumulated knowledge from BMW’s electric cars. But it’s more than just a skateboard chassis. The term Neue Klasse also extends to the next generation electric engines and batteries which promise to be more powerful and 30% more efficient all while being smaller.

The Neue Klasse platform is highly modular and will accommodate front, rear and all-wheel drive models in varying wheelbases, tracks and heights. Additionally it’s designed to offer wheel sizes ranging from 18in to 22in. In short it will underpin every EV that BMW produces (from the 2 Series to the 7 Series). According to trusted sources this will include MINIs like the Countryman which are based on BMW underpinnings.

At this time it’s unclear if BMW has any aspirations to shrink the platform down to accommodate a future version of the MINI Cooper. Given complexities of the global production of the J01 a decision in that front seems unlikely for years. But the next generation Countryman is another story.

Late stage clay buck design for the U25 MINI Countryman

Enter The 2028 NE5 MINI Countryman

Our sources have confirmed that the next generation Countryman will be codenamed the NE5 and will be based on the Neue Klasse platform. But the big news is that its introduction will be pushed up replacing the current U25 electric Countryman before the normal seven year lifecycle. Based on our sources, the current U25 electric Countryman will end production two years early in October 2028. Accordingly the next generation NE5 electric Countryman will begin production (likely at the German Leipzig Plant) in November of 2028.

MINI Countryman – Electric ModelsDrivetrainStart of ProductionEnd of Production
U25 MINI Countryman E Electric03/202410/2028
U25 MINI Countryman SE ALL4Electric03/202410/2028
MINI Countryman – ICE Models
U25 MINI Countryman CICE (Petrol)03/202412/2030*
U25 MINI Countryman DICE (Diesel)07/202412/2030*
U25 MINI Countryman S ALL4ICE (Petrol)03/202412/2030*
U25 MINI John Cooper Works Countryman ALL4ICE (Petrol)03/202412/2030*
* Tentative as demand may push this back

That doesn’t mean the U25 generation of the MINI Countryman will be dead in 2028. The ICE powered Countryman C, S and JCW will have (at least) a normal seven year product cycle until its production ends on December 31st, 2030. And even that’s influx. We’re hearing that that date is tentative and might be extended based on demand. But more on that at a later date.

electric MINI Countryman SE

An Increase in Performance and Range For the 2028 NE5 Countryman

Given that the 2028 NE5 Countryman will be based on the Neue Klasse platform we can surmise a few key details. Let’s start with the propulsion system. First expect an 800v system architecture allowing for much faster charging times and even Bidirectional charging. Second we should see higher battery density with a 30% overall improvement in range from the same size battery pack.

Rumors point to BMW using 75, 90 and 105kWh battery sizes across its range of cars with the Countryman (and its X1 and X2 twins) likely seeing an upgrade to 75kWh from its current 66.5 kWh (63.78 kWh usable size). Finally there will be a new generation of electric motors that are smaller, more efficient and even more powerful than before.

The results are obvious. Expect noticeably improved range from a larger, more dense and more efficient battery pack. That should translate into conservative EPA range figures well above 300 miles. But just as important you’ll be able to charge at an increased rate. Imagine it taking only 12 minutes to gain almost 200 miles of range. That’s theoretically possible.

Check back tomorrow for perhaps the biggest change the Neue Klasse platform could bring to the new Countryman. In the meantime you can read our hands-on take on Neue Klasse X at BimmerFile.