By Otsile Kadiege
MINI has lifted the veils off the all-new, all-electric Countryman which sports a modern look thanks to a new design philosophy, increased exterior dimensions, a raft of new and advanced technologies, an electrified powertrain with two power options and advanced assistance systems to list a few.
Countryman gets bigger
Outside, MINI used their new design language for the new Countryman called Charismatic Simplicity. Up front, the new Countryman is unmistakably MINI thanks to its octagonal ring surrounding high-gloss black grille and a part of the front bumper. The grille is flanked by modish LED headlights with LED daytime running lights and a front skid plate coated with a contrasting colour. Optionally, the daytime running light elements can be switched to create three light signatures in the front and rear LED lights.
Viewed from the side, the new MINI Countryman has a minimalist appearance with a powerful presence accentuated by contrasting wheel arches, a distinctive C-pillar design and wheel sizes of up to 20-inches in size. As a result of the new MINI aesthetic, the rear section has an especially consistent appearance with its clear surfaces and flush rear lights. Here, the vertical light cluster quotes the classic MINI lights and frames the large central section of the vehicle’s rear.
The new Countryman’s exterior dimensions are as follows: 4,433 mm long, 1,843 mm wide and 1,656 mm high. It has a wheelbase of 2,692 mm.
Four trim levels
There are four new trim levels to choose from, namely Essential, Classic, Favoured, and JCW.
Digital and immersive interior
In the interior, the robust Countryman offers even more space, comfort, convenience features and safety. The new Countryman has a radically redesigned, spacious, curved dashboard made of textile surfaces for the first time. The dashboard houses a large high-resolution OLED display with high-quality glass edge and a diameter of 240 mm (9.44-inches), and a newly designed three-spoke multifunctional steering wheel. The touchscreen runs on MINI’s Operating System 9 which features “Hey MINI” intelligent voice assistant.
The driver and front passenger enjoy significantly enhanced comfort in the new MINI Countryman, with almost three centimetres of additional width in the shoulder and elbow area. The shoulder width of the rear seats has also been increased by 2.5 centimetres. The backrest of the three rear seats are individually adjustable in six positions by up to 12 degrees. With the rear seat folded down, even bulky items can be easily transported in the 460-litre to 1 450-litre luggage compartment.
Advanced assistance systems
The new Countryman has an extensive list of advanced driver assistance systems. A few noteworthy features include the familiar Automatic Active Cruise Control as well as Steering and Lane Assistant that supports lateral guidance as part of the optional Driving Assistant Plus package.
For the first time, the MINI Countryman also offers semi-automated driving on motorway-like routes at speeds of up to 60 km/h. Up to this speed, the driver can take their hands off the steering wheel providing they continue to follow the traffic closely. Other assistance systems include a new Trailer Assistant, automatic parking with the 360-degree Parking View. As part of the optional Parking Assistant Professional, the vehicle can be manoeuvred out of a parking space via smartphone using the new Remote Parking function.
The all-electric MINI Countryman is based on the current BMW X1 platform and is available in two performance levels. The 150 kW electric motor in the MINI Countryman E achieves 250 Nm of torque, accelerates from standstill to 100 km/h in 8.6 seconds and reaches a top speed of 170 km/h. With 230 kW, the electric motors in the all-wheel-drive MINI Countryman SE ALL4 achieve a combined torque of 494 Nm, accelerates the vehicle from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 180 km/h.
The new Countryman has a battery with an energy capacity of 66.45 kWh availing up to 462 km range. MINI claims the battery of the new Countryman can be charged via alternating current with 22 kW. Fast charging with direct current is possible in both all-electric models with 130 kW. This means that just under 30 minutes of charging at a fast charging station is enough to charge the battery from 10 per cent to 80 per cent.
The new third-generation Countryman will be produced at BMW Group’s factory in Leipzig, Germany. MINI South Africa is yet to announce local availability.
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