Update: ‘Release Date,’ ‘MINI is going all-electric,’ and ‘BMW Group E-Mobility Roadmap’ sections updated.
The new MINI Countryman will be the third generation of the British brand’s largest model and will grow into a proper SUV, spawning the first-ever MINI Countryman Electric.
The next-gen MINI Countryman, including its electric variant, will draw plenty of inspiration from the MINI Aceman concept. This concept is a preview of a future MINI crossover positioned between the Hatch (Cooper) and the Countryman. It debuts a new design language for the MINI brand, called “Charismatic Simplicity.”
The next-gen Countryman will retain the retro-style look, featuring an angular hexagonal grille, rectangular main light cluster, cleaner bumper design, and subtler lower grille. The increase in size is evident from the larger doors and rear quarter glass.
MINI has used new, flush-fitting door handles for a more streamlined airflow and improved efficiency. At the rear, the spy picture shows a relocated license plate area on the redesigned model (bumper instead of tailgate).
Newer spy photos show a development prototype of the Countryman Electric undergoing winter trials, dressed in bright neon camouflage. The test mule was spotted with new matte-finished five-spoke alloy wheels that could be production-ready, full-LED taillights with a tall profile, black roof rails, and what appears to be a panoramic sunroof concealed using temporary camouflage.
Alloy wheels made with 100% green power
The next-gen Countryman will be BMW Group’s first model to adopt light-alloy cast wheels made from 70% secondary aluminum in 2023. Compared to conventional production processes, combining 100% green power for making these wheels and using 70% secondary raw material content in the process can reduce CO2 emissions. From 2024, BMW Group will cast aluminum wheels made with 100% green power in all MINI (and BMW) models. This is one of the various measures the company has taken to reduce emissions throughout the BMW Group Supplier network by 20% from 2019 levels by the end of the decade.
Interior & Features
Spy pictures have partially revealed the interior of the next-gen MINI Countryman, and the first-ever MINI Countryman Electric should look more or less the same inside. An oblong digital instrument cluster and a massive circular touchscreen lend a clean and minimalist appearance to the redesigned crossover’s dashboard. The signature switches on the center console help the interior feel familiar and traditionally MINI. One of these switches is for “Experiences,” possibly the various drive modes.
Many automakers are deleting physical volume controls, but MINI isn’t one of them. The next-gen Countryman does have a physical volume controller, which, in addition to being convenient, is safer than fiddling with a touch-operated slider while driving. The driver-side dashboard appears to have a notably wide AC vent, which would be something truly new.
Alternative to leather
Instead of leather, MINI will likely offer newly developed alternative premium upholstery options in the next-gen Countryman, including its electric variant. It won’t surprise us if all of those materials turn out to be vegan.
In 2020, Bernd Körber, the then-head of MINI, had told Auto Express that the Countryman will move half a segment above with the redesign for its third generation, positioned in the BMW X1 class (compact or C). As the Countryman will grow moving to its next generation, it will create enough space for the MINI Aceman to slot in below.
Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design, and Oliver Heilmer, Head of MINI Design, have confirmed that the MINI Countryman will grow moving to its third generation, CNET reported on July 28, 2022. The customer feedback is that the crossover could be slightly bigger, Heilmer said. For reference, the Mk2 Countryman measures 169.7 inches in length, 71.7 inches in width, and 61.3 inches in height, and has a 105.1-inch wheelbase.
According to a report auto motor und sport released on March 9, 2023, the next-gen MINI Countryman will measure 4.42 meters or 174.0 inches long. That would mark a significant improvement of 4.3 inches over the second-gen U.S.-spec model, meaning better legroom and knee-room and more cargo volume. The icing on the cake is the character of the MINI Countryman which will also see a major change such that it looks more like an SUV than a crossover.
A report Autocar filed in March 2022 had said that the next-gen Countryman could have a 200 mm (7.9-inch) longer wheelbase (current model: 2,670 mm or 105.1 inches). While making more room for passengers and luggage, increasing the length between the axles would make room for a large battery pack under the cabin floor comfortably and thus allow offering a competitive range.
Performance & range
The next-gen MINI Countryman will be based on the new multi-energy FAAR platform, an updated version of the current model’s UKL platform. This won’t be a skateboard designed only for electric vehicles, as you would find under a Hyundai Ioniq 5 or a Mercedes EQS.
The Volvo XC40 Recharge offers a range of 514 km (319 miles), while the Mercedes EQA can travel 531 km (330 miles) on a full charge. For competitiveness, the MINI Countryman Electric also should achieve a maximum range of around 500 km (311 miles) in the range-focused configurations. All range figures are in the WLTP metric.
According to the auto motor und sport report, the MINI Countryman Electric will be available with in E and SE variants. The Countryman Electric E will have a 54 kWh battery pack and a 140 kW powertrain, while the Countryman SE will use a 64.8 kWh battery pack and a 200 kW powertrain. The latter’s WLTP range will be around 440 km (273 miles), so we expect its EPA-est. range to be approximately around 220 miles. Do note that neither BMW Group nor MINI has confirmed the Countryman Electric’s U.S. launch yet.
MINI Countryman Electric production
Production of the third-generation MINI Countryman, including the first-ever MINI Countryman Electric, will happen in Leipzig (Saxony), Germany, starting later in 2023. This will be the first time a MINI model will be made in BMW Group’s home country. In fact, the prototype pictures in this article’s Design section were shot inside that domestic plant. Thanks to German production, customers upgrading from the second-gen Countryman may find the third-gen model of a higher quality.
The Countryman is the second highest-selling MINI model worldwide, with 82,363 units sold in 2021. Its contribution to the brand’s sales volume could be more significant with the added space and the introduction of an electric powertrain in the third generation. BMW Group hasn’t disclosed the global sales figure for 2022, but it has revealed that the U.S. sales were 9.1% lower year-over-year – 9,489 units (2021: 10,440 units).
The gasoline-powered next-gen MINI Countryman will celebrate its world premiere at IAA 2023 in September 2023, but the first-ever MINI Countryman Electric will debut in May 2024, Auto Express reported on March 8, 2023. The investor presentation BMW Group released on March 15, 2023, indicated the electric model will arrive a little earlier, in Q1 2024 (January-March 2024).
The MINI Countryman Electric should start heading to global dealerships around Summer 2024. MINI head Stefanie Wurst has said that the next-gen Countryman “will definitely help” the company in the U.S. It’s safe to assume Wurst anticipates that based on the model’s enlarged dimensions, which should increase its appeal in the U.S. That said, we’re awaiting confirmation for the U.S. launch of the Countryman EV model.
As per a report filed by MotoringFile in February 2023, production of the Countryman Electric’s SE variant will begin in March 2024. The table also mentions the regular Countryman EV (U25 EV Countryman) which is the second zero-emissions variant. The combustion-engined Countryman will precede the all-electric model to the production line in November 2023, as per the same story.
MotoringFile reports that MINI could bring down the pure-electric version of the Countryman to the U.S. market. While BMW has yet to make plans to launch the iX1 in the country, the Countryman EV, since it is cheaper and aimed at a different demographic, makes sense to be launched locally, says MotoringFile.
MINI is going all-electric
Of the three BMW Group brands, MINI will go fully electric first. The German conglomerate has revealed that all MINI models from the early 2030s will run only on electricity. The company plans to cease the development of combustion-engine models in 2025. Even the last combustion engine MINI will have an electrified variant.
MINI will be the first BMW Group brand to go fully electric. MINI is perfect for the city – and for e-mobility. We will be releasing the last model with a combustion-engine variant in 2025. By the early 2030s, MINI will be exclusively fully electric.Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management, BMW Group, at the annual conference in March 2021.
Oliver Zipse, Chairman – BoM, BMW Group, reiterated the company’s commitment to converting MINI into an EV-only brand during the company’s annual conference on March 15, 2023:
MINI will be really taking off in the next few years. By the early 2030s, the brand will be electric only. This is what the pioneering new Mini family is all about. A total of three new electric models will be coming onto the market next year.Oliver Zipse, Chairman of BoM, BMW Group (Annual Conference 2023 on March 15, 2023)
BMW Group E-Mobility Roadmap
BMW Group aims to convert more than half of its annual sales to pure electric vehicles before 2030, Zipse said during the company’s annual conference on March 15, 2023. The German automaker is doubling down on EVs, tapping even niche opportunities, like all-electric security vehicles, for instance. An armored BMW i7 called ‘BMW i7 Protection’ is coming in late 2023. Then there are market-specific EVs like the BMW iX1 L and BMW i5 L in the pipeline, also due by Q1 2024, aimed at China.
With the launch of the new BMW 5 Series and the fully-electric BMW i5 this year, the BMW Group will have a BEV offering in virtually every major segment of its business. The range will be rounded out at the end of the year by the fully-electric BMW iX2 and an absolute first next year, when the very first fully-electric touring model will make its debut in the BMW 5 Series.BMW Group (March 15, 2023)
By around the beginning of the next decade, BMW Group estimates a cumulative BEV sales figure of approximately ten million units.
The MINI Countryman Electric, derived from the brand’s largest model, will likely be a premium compact electric SUV with a chic design, loads of space, arriving at a price that doesn’t burn a hole in the pocket like BMW’s iX1. The Countryman Electric will be the brand’s most practical model and allow traveling more comfortably and at lower running costs than the gas-powered Countryman.
MINI Countryman Electric FAQs
What is the next-gen MINI Countryman release date?
The Countryman Electric will debut in the first quarter of 2024. The market launch is expected by mid-2024.
Which are rivals to the MINI Countryman EV?
The MINI Countryman Electric will rival the likes of the Volvo XC40 Recharge and Mercedes EQA.
What is the expected MINI Countryman EV price?
If it eventually comes to the U.S., we’re expecting the Countryman EV to start at under USD 50,000.
Featured Image Source: TopElectricSUV’s render of the MINI Countryman Electric