New 2024 MINI Countryman grows in size and gains all-electric power
The new MINI Countryman offers EV powertrains for the first time alongside petrol models, with prices starting from £28,500
Alongside its all-new Cooper Electric, MINI has unveiled an all-new third-generation Countryman at the 2023 IAA Munich Motor Show, with the British brand's new compact SUV growing in size to offer family buyers more practicality, as well as a choice of powertrains that now includes full-electric propulsion for the first time on the Countryman.
As with the three-door MINI, this new MINI Countryman's design is based around a simplified look. The octagonal grille and simplified lighting signature at both the front and rear is present, as per the new Cooper, but the Countryman's headlights are a lozenge shape to better differentiate this new model. The same choice of three LED running light signatures will be offered on the 2024 Countryman as on the new Cooper Electric.
MINI's latest SUV – which will rival the likes of the Volvo EX30 and Kia Niro EV – is 13cm longer and 6cm taller than the car it replaces, which combined with a long wheelbase relative to its overall length, has helped improve the level of space on offer inside – a key point for a small family SUV.
As a result, MINI claims boot space is up to 460 litres with the rear seats in place, rising to 1,450 litres with them folded down; there's also space under the car's boot floor to store the electric models' charging cables. The rear bench can also be moved forwards and backwards by as much as 13cm, prioritising passenger room or boot space, while the seat backs can recline individually in six separate positions by up to 12 degrees, boosting comfort.
The new Countryman shares its three-door hatchback sibling's 9.4-inch central OLED display, called the MINI Interaction Unit and runs the same Operating System 9 software, which is based on Android open source tech. As a result, the same Experience Modes and configurability are offered, which include Core, Green, Go-Kart, Personal, Vibrant, Timeless and Balance modes.
Timeless alters the round central panel to show a classic Mini speedo, while Personal allows users to upload a background photo of their choice. The Interaction Unit can detect the main colour from those that feature in the image and will sample this across the rest of the screen to better tie in the picture.
Each Experience mode offers a corresponding soundtrack in Countryman Electric models, with the same mix of modes and sounds as per the smaller MINI EV. This is also true of the interior ambient lighting, with LEDs and projections shone onto the dash linked to the drive mode, altering the colour and the patterns shown in the cabin.
The level of tech on offer is the same too, with cloud-based sat-nav routing that offers real-time traffic data and a “charge-optimised” route for EV models. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also both included, with the former sampled so that iOS users see the software across the entire area of the new high-definition screen. Android Auto only displays in a rectangular box on the circular screen, while an optional 3D head-up display is available.
Two fully electric powertrains are available, ranging from the MINI Countryman Electric E to the Countryman Electric SE. Both cars are powered by a 64.7kWh battery, which feeds a single electric motor in the Electric E, producing 201bhp and 250Nm of torque. The 0-62mph run takes 8.6 seconds, while the base-spec Countryman EV will cover up to 287 miles on a full charge, according to MINI.
Countryman Electric SE models feature a pair of electric motors, producing 308bhp and 494Nm of torque for a hot hatch-rivalling 0-62mph time of 5.6 seconds. Given the extra performance, MINI says maximum range drops to 269 miles. DC charging at 130kW means the two EVs' batteries take around 30 minutes for a 10 to 80 per cent top-up.
Petrol engine options include the front-wheel drive MINI Countryman C. The brand hasn't confirmed exactly what engine powers this model – which is confirmed to produce 167bhp and 280Nm of torque for a 0-62mph time of 8.3 seconds and fuel economy of up to 46.3mpg – but it's likely to be a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged unit.
The Countryman S ALL4 will most likely use a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, with power and torque outputs confirmed to be 215bhp and 360Nm for a 0-62mph time of 7.1 seconds, helped by an automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive.
At the top of the petrol line-up is the Countryman JCW ALL4, which offers a scorching 296bhp and 400Nm of torque for a sport 5.4-second 0-62mph dash.
There have been plenty of advances when it comes to the new Countryman's chassis tech too, with different chassis settings available, including an optional adaptive suspension set-up that reduces the ride height by 15mm when compared with the standard car. There are lightweight 20-inch alloy wheels available too, which are made from 70 per cent secondary aluminium to improve sustainability.
As per the new MINI three-door, three trim levels will be available, including Classic, Exclusive and Sport models which alter the upholstery and trim but not the powertrain or the equipment specs.
Classic features a knitted textile interior, with black synthetic leather sports seats, amongst other items. Exclusive gets a two-tone houndstooth pattern for its knitted textile trim on the dash panel, perforated trim for its sports seats and the option of what MINI calls a “Spray-Tech” roof, which blends three different colours. Finally, Sport trim delivers the raciest look and feel, with multi-coloured knitted textiles, black synthetic leather seats with contrast red stitching and more gloss black for the car's grille and logos. A contrasting roof and bonnet stripes can be added.
There's more driver assistance tech available than ever too, with MINI highlighting that this new Countryman is the first of the brand's cars to feature Level 2 semi-autonomous driving tech. This includes Automatic Active Cruise Control with Steering and Lane Assistant, which allows drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel at up to speeds of 37mph – in queuing traffic, for example.
This will be optional and a price has not yet been outlined, but the brand has confirmed the new Countryman will start from £28,500 for the Countryman C, with first deliveries scheduled for February 2024.
The Countryman S comes in at £33,900, while the hot JCW is priced from £39,900, while the Countryman Electric E and Electric SE models start from £41,500 and £46,600 respectively.
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