MINI's range revolution is nearly complete, although there’s one car that’s getting a bit long in the tooth. The Countryman, first launched in 2010, is now the oldest model in the brand’s line-up. Prototypes of the all-new second-generation crossover are undergoing final testing, and our exclusive images show you how the finished product could look when it’s released towards the end of the year.
Don’t expect the Countryman’s styling to change dramatically. The car is still a strong seller and the class is booming, so a radical new design approach isn’t necessary. Spy shots indicate that the front end will remain square-edged, yet it’ll have a more muscular look than other MINIs. The side profile will be very similar to the outgoing model’s, save for a more sloping roofline and chunkier haunches. Rugged wheelarches and lower body cladding will give the newcomer the necessary crossover appeal, too.
One of the biggest and most obvious changes to the Countryman will be the increase in size – a result of switching to the new UKL1 modular platform used for the MINI hatch and Clubman. The car is expected to approach 4.2 metres in length thanks to a longer wheelbase, which means more interior space, especially in the rear. MINI is now able to have greater differentiation between its models after trimming its line-up from seven cars to five.
The new Countryman will get the same three and four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines as the Clubman and hatch. The entry-level Cooper will feature the three-cylinder 1.5-litre turbo, with the more powerful four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbo offered on Cooper S and range-topping John Cooper Works models, delivering as much as 228bhp.
What do you think of the Countryman's new look? Let us know in the comments below...