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New Mini Cooper, Countryman emerge

British marque showcases next-gen hatch and SUV range in Munch, due in Oz next year

4 Sep 2023

MINI has unveiled its new Cooper and Countryman models at the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA) in Munich this week, the duo slated to join the city-sized Aceman electric SUV when it arrives in Australian showrooms this time next year.


The Countryman SUV will be Mini’s first German-made model while the Cooper rides on underpinnings developed in conjunction with China’s GWM, with electric cabriolet, three-door hatch and five-door hatch versions to be manufactured in Zhangjiagang, China in parallel to internal combustion variants that will continue to be produced at the Mini facility in Oxford, UK.


Offering both internal combustion (ICE) and battery electric (BEV) powertrains as part of an extensive reworking of the 64-year-old brand, the ICE line-up is likely to closely reflect Mini’s current offerings while the electric Mini Countryman will arrive in front- and all-wheel drive formats developing 150kW/250Nm and 230Nm/295Nm respectively.


Zero to 100km/h acceleration times are listed at 8.6 and 5.6 seconds respectively with top speeds of 170 and 180km/h.


Mini says both Countryman models will have a 66.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack allowing fast DC charging at up to 130kW. The duo’s driving ranges are listed at 464km (FWD) and 433km (AWD) on the WLTP cycle.


Power for electric Mini Cooper models comes from a front-mounted asynchronous electric motor developing 135kW/290Nm in E variants and 160kW/330Nm in SE variants. 0-100km/h times for the duo (in hatch form) are listed at 7.3 and 6.3 seconds, while top speeds are yet to be announced.


The electric Mini Cooper E is energised by a 40.7kWh lithium-ion battery to offer a WLTP driving range of up to 330km, while the more powerful SE is fed by a larger 54.2kW battery pack to provide as much as 402km range (WLTP).


Charging is possible via 11kW AC or 75kW (E) and 95kW (SE) DC units, the latter offering a 10 – 80 per cent top-up in “just under 30 minutes”.


For ICE-powered versions of both Cooper and Countryman, familiar three-cylinder 1.5-litre and four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engines plus a four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbo-diesel will be available globally, all including 48-volt mild hybrid assistance.


Progressive styling adjusts, rather than reinvents, the familiar Mini Countryman form. More angular and linear than the outgoing model, the new Countryman offers angular LED headlights and a ‘floating’ roof, more prominent recesses, and body cladding, and larger daylight openings (DLO). Alloy wheels now measure 20 inches in diameter.


Stylistically, the Mini Cooper range adheres closely to that of the outgoing R56 series. The front is characterised by a more octagonal grille and hexagonal LED headlights, similar to those of the Countryman, while a more steeply raked windscreen and sloping roofline improve the model’s aerodynamic efficiency (now 0.28Cd).


There is no longer chrome garnishing around the DLOs nor wheel arch extensions above the wheels. The faux vent with logo found behind the front wheels is also absent, giving the Cooper a more modern and cleaner look.


At the rear, triangular taillights, again in LED, bear the familiar Union Flag motif, while the Cooper name is now detailed across the tailgate.


“Inspired by our history, we have developed our own new design language, defining our DNA. We call it ‘Charismatic Simplicity’,” explained Mini head of design, Oliver Heilmer.


“The idea behind it is a design that gives each new Mini model a strong, individual character and is characterised by a clear, reduced design language intuitively focused on the essentials of the brand.”


The new Countryman grows significantly to 4433mm in length (+120mm), 1843mm in width (+22mm) and 1656mm in height (+101mm) brining it closer in size to its BMW X1 platform partner. The wheelbase has also grown to 2692mm, a stretch of some 22mm.


Unlike the Countryman, the Cooper is now shorter than before at 3858mm long (-5mm). It has, however, become wider at 1756mm (+19mm) and taller at 1460mm (+46mm), and rides on a stretched 2526mm wheelbase (+31mm). Cargo space drops 11 litres to 200L.


“With its electric drive and purist design, the new Mini Cooper is a perfect fit for an urban lifestyle,” said Head of Mini, Stefanie Wurst.


“In the fifth generation of the Mini Cooper, we combine the traditional Mini DNA with innovative, future-oriented technology while enabling locally emission-free driving fun that is typical of Mini.”


Internally, the Mini Countryman E and SE (electric) variants feature an OLED infotainment array measuring 9.4 inches in diameter and a gear selector that is now set in the centre of the dashboard and not the centre console.


Cabin accommodation is increased in line with the Countryman’s larger dimensions, while the rear (second row) seats now offer fore-aft sliding. Cargo space is now listed at 460 litres, up 40.


“The new Mini Countryman is our vehicle for the whole family. In its latest generation, it has not only grown in height, length and interior – it has also noticeably improved in character, appearance and experience. It is now even more present, more spacious and more stable,” explained Mini head of design, Oliver Heilmer.


The 2024 Mini Countryman will rival the likes of the BYD Atto 3, Tesla Model Y and Volvo EX30 when it goes on sale in Australia in the third quarter of next year. Pricing and local specification will be announced closer to the model’s launch.


The 9.4-inch central OLED infotainment screen found in the Countryman also makes its way into the Cooper line-up, joining an optional head-up display, multifunction steering wheel controls, new HVAC outlets and dash-mounted gear selector.


Said to draw inspiration from the 1959 original, the new Mini’s central dial (or Interaction Unit) runs Mini’s latest OS9 software and 5G connectivity to provide an operating logic Mini says is similar to a smartphone. Navigation, phone, media, and climate information can all be viewed simultaneously.


“With the all-electric Mini Countryman, the largest model in the new Mini vehicle family takes the brand into an era of locally emission-free electric mobility,” said Ms Wurst.


“The first Mini to be manufactured in Germany also offers the highest possible level of environmental compatibility in production. Its versatility and powerful electric drive make it the perfect companion in the city as well as for adventures beyond.”

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