GOING BIG FOR NEXT COUNTRYMAN: Mini is forging ahead with a new Countryman which will be more rugged and larger than the model it replaces. Image: Automedia
BERLIN, Germany - Mini has only just released the new-look Countryman, but it’s forging ahead with radical plans for an all-new model, due in 2017 – and spy images give a first impression of how it will look.
With the unveiling of the first five-door Mini hatch, the automaker can afford to be a little more daring with the new Countryman as its cars currently occupy a similar position in the market.
To help separate the two, the Countryman will take a more rugged approach to styling to tackle the challenge of the forthcoming BMW X1 replacement and the new Audi Q1.
LARGER COUNTRYMAN IN THE WORKS
Expect much larger proportions, making the new Countryman the biggest Mini available when it arrives, with bulging wheelarches and extensive use of rugged body cladding to mark it out as the new range-topper. The latest Countryman wouldn’t be a Mini without the trademark circular headlights, chromed grille and wraparound windscreen.
IMAGE GALLERY : Mini Countryman (Spy)
As with the new Mini hatch, the Countryman’s overhaul will continue under the skin. The versatile UKL1 front-wheel-drive platform will be used and can be adapted for all-wheel drive, too. The new range will comprise Cooper, S, SD and John Cooper Works versions, all powered by new downsized, turbocharged three-cylinder engines.
Only the new three-door and five-door Mini models are at present underpinned by the UKL1 platform, but a total of eight new model lines from the brand can be expected.
A new Clubman, Convertible and Paceman are being developed.
Mini also looks set to tap into the two-seat sports car market after revealing the Superleggera Concept earlier in 2015. This rival for the Mazda MX-5 and Audi TT will replace the Roadster and Coupé models which have never really proven popular with buyers. The company is also looking to expand into markets like China with new MPV and sedans, although these cars are unlikely to make it to Europe and the US.