The current MINI Countryman has just been updated for 2015 but development of its successor is already well underway. A prototype for the new Countryman has just been spotted, revealing many of the details of the next-generation compact crossover. It appears designers have adopted a boxier, more rugged look for the new Countryman although there’s no mistaking it for anything but a MINI. The prototype is also bigger than the current Countryman, which should add some much needed room in the cabin.
Underpinning the vehicle is the same UKL platform found in the 2014 MINI Hardtop and 2015 MINI Hardtop 4 Door (MINI 5 Door in other markets). The UKL platform is also found in BMW’s 2-Series Active Tourer and it will also appear in the next-generation BMW X1, with the latter’s development closely tied with the development of the new Countryman.
Expect the base Cooper Countryman to continue with front-wheel drive, with MINI’s ALL4 all-wheel-drive system remaining an option. There will also be more potent variants like the Cooper S Countryman and another John Cooper Works model, with the latter coming standard with the ALL4 system and at least 228 horsepower on tap.
In the engine department, Cooper Countrymans should feature 1.5-liter three-cylinder engines, with the Cooper S and JCW variants getting 2.0-liter four-cylinder mills. Turbocharging will feature across the range and transmissions will include standard six-speed manual and available six-speed automatic options.
Buyers can also expect some new safety features. These will include a head-up display, collision and pedestrian warning systems, a parking assistant and even a speed limit information system.
At present, the latest third-generation MINI family consists of just the Hardtop and Hardtop 4 Door. This year we’ll see a new Clubman arrive, with the new Countryman likely hitting the scene sometime in 2016, as a 2017 model. Anther model we’re expecting eventually is a new sports car to replace the previous Coupe and Roadster models.