NEXT COUNTRYMAN SPOTTED: Mini will make some radical changes to its second-generation Countryman, due in late 2016. Image: Mini
Mini launched a face-lifted version of its Countryman in 2014. Mere months later and our spyguys have captured action images of what will become the second-generation Countryman.
The Mini Country is expected to be launched in 2016 as a 2017 model.
With the unveiling of its first five-door hatchback, Mini could afford to be a little more daring with the new Countryman as it occupies strong position in its crossover SUV market. The next Countryman will take a more rugged approach to styling to tackle the BMW X1 and new Audi Q1.
IMAGE GALLERY: 2015 Mini Countryman
Expect larger proportions, making the new Countryman the biggest Mini yet, with bulging wheel arches and extensive use of rugged body-cladding to mark it as the new range-topper. The latest Countryman wouldn’t be a Mini without its trademark round headlights, chromed grille and wraparound windscreen.
The versatile UKL1 front-wheel drive platform will be used and can be adapted for all-wheel drive. There’ll be various Cooper, S, SD and John Cooper Works versions of the new Countryman, each using the automaker’s downsized, turbocharged, three-cylinder engines.
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Currently only the new three-door and five-door Minis are underpinned by the UKL1 platform but eight new vehicles from the brand can be expected. A new Clubman, Convertible and Paceman are being developed
Mini also seems likely to tap-in to the two-seat sports-car market with its Superleggera Concept. This car, to replace the roadster and coupe, will rival the Mazda MX-5 and Audi TT. Mini also wants expand into markets such as China with a new MPV and hatchbacks, although these cars are unlikely to be sold in Europe and the US.