New 2023 Mini Countryman grows to go after Audi Q3

1 year, 7 months ago - 16 December 2022, autocar
New 2023 Mini Countryman
New 2023 Mini Countryman
Electric and petrol options for next-gen Countryman, which bulks up and gets a bold redesign

The new, second-generation Mini Countryman is a larger and heavily redesigned proposition that will enter the fiercely fought mid-sized crossover segment in 2023 with a choice of combustion and electric power.

The Mini Countryman will share its FAAR front-driven architecture with the all-new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer and the new BMW X1 crossover, and be built alongside them in Leipzig, Germany. It is set to bring petrol and pure-electric drivetrain options, shunning plug-in hybrid power for its second generation, while a diesel version will be offered in markets outside the UK. 

The electric car is expected to use a similar drivetrain set-up to its BMW twin, which comes with a motor mounted on each axle for 4WD, 309bhp and 0-62mph in 5.7sec. If replicated, this would make the Mini Countryman Electric the brand's most powerful car yet.  

Meanwhile, the pure-combustion car will offer either 168bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder or 215bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engines, both with 48V mild-hybrid technology.

We got our first look at the hot range-topper late last year. A camouflaged test mule gave itself away with a beefy quad-exit exhaust, sports alloys and prominent rear spoiler. It is not yet confirmed whether the most powerful Countryman will wear the JCW badge traditionally reserved for Mini’s performance models, but the brand has already confirmed its intentions to carry the nameplate through to its electrified product range. 

Importantly, however, FAAR will not be used for Mini's new three-door hatchback, the electric version of which will be built in China as part of a new joint venture between BMW and Great Wall Motors and use a platform supplied by the latter, while the petrol car will be an evolution over the current model and continue to be built in Oxford. 

Crucially, the Countryman will be noticeably bigger than today's car, with early estimates suggesting a 200mm increase in length to provide enhanced load capacity and leg room. Effectively, this increase will bump Mini's crossover into a new segment, moving it away from rivals such as the Toyota CH-R and Nissan Juke, and lining it up against larger, more premium-focused cars like the Audi Q3 and Volvo XC40.  

The Countryman's tenure as Mini's only SUV model is nearly up. It will be joined in dealerships shortly after launch by an all-new electric crossover model built in China by Great Wall Motors, as part of the 'Spotlight' joint venture between the two companies - previewed by the bold Aceman concept. 

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