Mini makes the Countryman grow into a full-fledged SUV in the second generation. There are new engines, for the first time a plug-in hybrid drive and a few new gadgets. The five-door car will be premiered at the Los Angeles Auto Show (18 until 27, November), and the European launch in February will be 2017 at prices starting at 26.500 Euro.
The first Mini Countryman just outgrown its sister models in the small car segment, the new edition is just half a meter longer than three-door and convertible. Even the recently also vigorously grown station wagon Mini Clubman towers over the SUV with its now 4,30 meters between the grille and tailpipe significantly. This also benefits the interior, promises the manufacturer, which announces five full-size seats and a clear plus in room comfort and variability.
Externally, the Countryman seems longer in profile, but the typical crisp proportions of the brand look at least in pictures, as if they had been preserved. Also on the other optics has changed little. The headlights have become a little more oval, the bumper bulky and the turn signals in the fenders are now taken in an arrow-shaped housing. Inside, the Countryman is based on the style of its current siblings, but settles with larger-sized surfaces in detail from them. A specialty is also the touch screen function for the central round screen in the center console. The well-known knob with its own touch field but there are still.
The developers have also thought of a few new games. So there is now a "Country Timer", which measures the time spent offroad. Analogous to the Weiland introduced in the convertible "Always Open Timer" for measuring the open-time, he apparently wants to make the trip off paved roads. The driver is motivated with a nice graphic on the on-board monitor. Another innovation is the "Find Mate" - a find buddy - a part of the surcharge-based online package. Who ordered this, receives a handful of so-called tags, which can be attached to luggage, keychain or mobile phone and from there spark their respective location to the car. Forgotten suitcases or smartphones should be a thing of the past. Also practical: the "Picnic Bench" for 120 Euro - a two-seater bench for placing on the trunk threshold. When not in use, it is stowed under the double load compartment floor.
The engine program of the Countryman initially consists of two petrol and diesel engines, which are available in combination with front or four-wheel drive (plus 2.000 Euro). The entry marks an 1,5-liter gasoline engine with 100 kW / 136 PS at prices from 26.500 Euro, about it ranks an 141 kW / 192 PS strong 2,0-liter gasoline engine (from 29.900 Euro). The base engine among the two 2,0-liter diesels makes 110 kW / 150 PS (from 29.500 Euro), the stronger version comes on 140 kW / 190 PS (from 33.900 Euro). The power transmission afford six-speed manual transmission as standard, the strongest diesel is an eight-speed automatic mandatory.
While the conventional engines are already known from the other models of the brand, celebrates in Countryman the first plug-in hybrid drive of the BMW subsidiary Premiere. Not yet for the market launch, but only a few months later. The combination of a three-cylinder gasoline engine and an electric motor for the rear axle comes together on 165 kW / 224 PS and should be content with 2,1 liters of fuel on 100 kilometers. The purely electrical range is given as 40 kilometers.
The features of the new Countryman depend in detail on the engine, but always on board are air conditioning, audio system and gray metallic paint. In addition to countless design customizations, there are, among other things, LED light (990 Euro), an adaptive chassis (500 Euro) and a head-up display (600 Euro). Overall, the new edition has become significantly more expensive than the old - and almost 20 centimeters shorter. While now at least 26.500 euros are due, the comparable model (Cooper) costs so far 22.700 Euro. (Holger Holzer / SP-X)