BMW says the new Mini Countryman is the biggest and most versatile model to be launched in the brand’s 57-year history. With its larger external dimensions, and increases in space throughout the cabin and luggage area, the company says that it offers occupants greater comfort and a genuinely premium ambience. There are new features such as electric tailgate control with touch-free opening and unique options, including a fold down picnic bench at the rear.
For the first time Mini is offering a plug-in hybrid model with the new Mini Cooper S E Countryman ALL4. Drawing from expertise gleaned from across the BMW Group, this new hybrid features a turbocharged petrol engine and an electric motor, reducing fuel consumption to 134.5 mpg while enabling a 0-62 mph time of just 6.9 seconds.
The rest of the new Mini Countryman line-up is powered by an all-new range of engines sourced from the latest Mini TwinPower Turbo generation. With between 134 an 189 bhp, and 162-295 lb ft of torque, the new Mini Countryman can sprint from 0-62 mph in as little as 7.2 seconds, while fuel consumption reaches 64.2 mpg and CO2 emissions drop as low as 113 g/km.
The new Mini Countryman is available with both manual and Steptronic gearboxes and with front- and all-wheel drive. The latter, Mini’s ALL4 system, has been further refined for increased driving agility and efficiency.
Equipment levels on the new Mini Countryman have been bolstered versus the outgoing model. Additions to the standard equipment list include Mini’s acclaimed Satellite Navigation System, Bluetooth, Cruise Control, Emergency E-call and Active Guard among others. There is also a broad scope for owners to personalise their new Countryman, with extensive colour and trim options, advanced technology features and a range of option packs that offer selected items with significant cost savings for the customer. One such option is a new 8.8-inch touchscreen display as part of the Mini Navigation System XL, offering touchscreen multimedia and navigation control for the first time in a Mini.
The new Mini Countryman is available to order at Mini retailers nationwide today starting at £22,465 for the Cooper Countryman, with the first UK deliveries in February 2017. Prices for the plug-in hybrid model will be announced in due course.
The new Mini Countryman is some 20 centimetres longer than its predecessor and three centimetres wider, while its wheelbase has been extended by 7.5 centimetres. These enlarged proportions make it the largest of any Mini on sale. The familiar ‘floating roof’, large headlamps and hexagonal radiator grille are all present. From the front, the headlamp units differ from other Mini models by having an asymmetric shape, with LED lighting now an option. And at the rear, the vertically arranged light units help create the family ‘look’.
Inside, the hallmark Mini central instrument is integrated in the instrument panel and is surrounded by an LED ring that provides a lighting display in response to driving situations by way of feedback from the controls.
Both driver and front passenger benefit from extended head and shoulder space, while the adjustment range of the seats has also been extended. Electrical adjustment of the driver and front passenger seats is now an option, including a memory function on the driver’s side.
The second row of seating now contains three full seats, and the rear door openings have been enlarged, enabling easier entry and exit. In addition to overall interior width, leg space is now significantly more generous too, with an extra five centimetres of knee room over the previous model. The rear seats can be shifted back and forth by up to 13 cm, prioritising either passenger legroom or boot capacity depending on the situation. The folding rear backrest offers a 40 : 20 : 40 split and also provides a variable tilt angle so as to also offer either increased seating comfort or additional storage space at the rear.
The luggage compartment volume is 450 litres and can be extended by folding the rear seats to a total of 1,309 litres. This constitutes a maximum increase of 220 litres as compared to the previous generation model.
The luggage area can be accessed via an optional electric tailgate with touch-free opening and closing possible in conjunction with Comfort Access. The optional storage package comprises a variable load floor, lashing eyes and tension straps and also a stainless steel insert on the loading sill. One unique option is the Picnic Bench – a flexible surface that folds out of the luggage compartment and provides seating for two people.
The new Mini Countryman is available at launch with a choice of four new engines: two petrol-powered variants and two diesels. In addition, for the first time there will be a plug-in hybrid Mini, the Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 (see below).
The 2-litre diesel engines in the Mini Cooper D Countryman and Mini Cooper SD Countryman both also feature Mini TwinPower Turbo technology, with high pressure common rail injection. The 148 bhp / 243 lb ft engine in the Cooper D enables a very competitive 0-62 mph time of just 8.9 seconds (quicker than the previous model) but with 64.2 mpg and 113 g/km of CO2 emitted. The high performance Cooper SD Countryman features 187 bhp and a full 295 lb ft of torque, providing a 0-62mph sprint of just 7.7 seconds but with 61.4 mpg and 121 g/km of CO2 emitted.
For the first time a Mini is available with a plug-in hybrid system, achieving high performance with low consumption and emissions. BMW says the new Mini Cooper S E Countryman ALL 4 draws on the expertise in this area from across the BMW Group, including the range of BMW iPerformance vehicles.
A three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with Mini TwinPower technology, producing 134 bhp and 162 lb ft of torque, powers the front wheels of the Cooper S E Countryman. This engine is combined with a six-speed Steptronic transmission. The rear wheels are powered by a synchronous electric motor housed under the floor of the luggage compartment. This motor offers 87 bhp and 122 lb ft of torque, with all of the torque available from zero rpm. The motor’s output is sent to the rear axle via a two-stage single-speed transmission.
The lithium-ion battery is positioned directly in front of the electric motor underneath the rear seat. It is made up of five modules, each comprising 16 battery cells. Like the electric motor, the battery is produced at the Dingolfing plant, the BMW Group’s competence centre for eDrive technology. The high-voltage battery has a capacity of 7.6 kWh. At a wallbox with a charging capacity of 3.6 kW it can be fully charged in 2:15 hours, while charging at a regular household socket takes 3:15 hours. The intelligent energy management system, controlled by the power electronics of the plug-in hybrid system, ensures that the interplay between the combustion engine and the electric motor is optimised for both driving fun and efficiency in all situations. Using the power of the electric motor alone, the Mini Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 is able to provide locally emissions-free driving, and in the event that more intense acceleration is required, the electric motor supports the combustion engine via a boost function. A total system output of 221 bhp and a combined torque of 284 lb ft are available, enabling 0-62 mph in 6.9 seconds. Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are 134.5 mpg and 49 g/km respectively, and the Cooper S E Countryman can travel up to 25-miles on electric power alone.
With route guidance activated on standard specification navigation system, Mini Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 uses an anticipatory energy management system to ensures that appropriate sections of the route are run on electric power alone.
The high-voltage battery is housed underneath the slightly raised rear seat, as is the 35-litre fuel tank. When all seats are in use, the luggage compartment volume in the Mini Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 is only slightly less than in the conventionally powered models. The connection for the charging cable is under a flap in the area of the left-hand side scuttle.
This particular model is distinguishable by the model-specific “e” badge on the side scuttles, and also a yellow “S” in the model inscription on the rear as well as on the radiator grille and doorsill finishers. At the rear, a JCW aerodynamic rear bumper features a single exhaust outlet. Inside, the cockpit includes a yellow start/stop unit at the centre of the toggle switch panel and a performance display in the instrument cluster on the steering column.
Mini’s all-wheel drive system, ALL4, is available as an option on all engine variants. The system’s electronic control is interconnected with the Dynamic Stability Control DSC, so it detects any need to adapt power distribution early on.
Seventy-five per cent of customers who purchased the outgoing Mini Countryman model in the UK selected a Pepper, Chili or Sport pack for their vehicle. Mini has raised the level of standard equipment offered on the new Countryman, with many features previously included in the ‘Pepper’ pack on the outgoing Mini Countryman now offered as standard. Highlights include 16” alloy wheels on Cooper and Cooper D models, rear parking sensors (PDC), MINI Connected and Bluetooth connectivity. Mini Cooper S and Cooper SD Countryman models add 17” alloy wheels and cloth/leather upholstery. All models in the Mini Countryman range now benefit from Satellite Navigation as standard.
The broad range of exterior paint finishes, seat upholstery types and interior surfaces enables individualisation of the new Mini Countryman and owners can choose to personalise their vehicles further with the aid of Mini’s option packs. These bring together several items of optional equipment but with a cost saving compared to buying the items individually.