The recently revealed 2011 MINI Countryman could soon spawn a handful of new variants as BMW continues its expansion of the iconic MINI brand into something that is edging closer to becoming a full line automaker. We’ve already reported on MINI launching a seven-seater Countryman Plus, as well as a high-performance John Cooper Works model and a toughened up off-road version based on the Beachcomber concept, and now there’s news that a three-door version of the Countryman could also be launched to take on the likes of the BMW X1 and upcoming Range Rover Evoque.
Reportedly nicknamed the ‘Canyon’ within MINI, the new three-door Countryman was first devised as far back as 2005. It is designed to slot above the Countryman in positioning and will feature a distinctively lower roofline and plenty of aggression.
Inside, the vehicle’s styling should resemble that of the sporty John Cooper Works models but MINI’s now trademark cubby holds will remain.
Power should come from the brand’s top-of-the-line 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, with levels hovering around the 200 horsepower mark. A high-performance 2.0-liter turbodiesel will almost certainly be launched as well. All-wheel drive will come as standard. Additionally, the combination of a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive configuration would make the new MINI Canyon a prime candidate for the World Rally Championship, which switches next year to 1.6-liter turbo engines.
Either way, things are going to get very busy for MINI over the coming years, with the new Countryman and a planned Coupe and Roadster also due. On top of all that, there’s even talk of a sub-Cooper model in the works as well.