It might not be evident from a first glance, but this is the all-new, second-generation of MINI’s Countryman crossover. The prototype was spied over the weekend by Carscoops’ reader Nasyr J.
While company officials had pointed to a tougher and more SUV-like appearance for the next Countryman in statements to the press last year, these images tell a more evolutionary story, with the new model keeping the same styling and proportions as the current car.
In fact, if it wasn’t for some minor changes here and there, including the different door handles, the placement of the rear license plate that has been relocated from the bumper to the tailgate, and the less protruding front grille, one could have easily mistaken this prototype for the first-generation model.
Evolutionary design aside, the 2017MY Countryman will be a brand-new car, as it’s based on the BMW Group’s ULK1 modular platform shared with a number of models, including MINI’s own Clubman and BMW’s latest X1. Recent reports suggest that it will grow in size stretching to around 4.25 meters in length, with similar gains in height and width to improve both passenger and luggage space.
The overhaul will continue under the bonnet where the new Countryman will obtain MINI’s latest 3-cylinder and 4-cylinder turbo engines, with a John Cooper Works model powered by a 228hp 2.0L turbo four topping the range. Both 6-speed manual and 8-speed automatic transmissions will be available, with an electronically-controlled four-wheel drive system offered as an option.
MINI’s new crossover model is expected to launch in the second half of 2016.
Thanks to Nasyr for the scoop!