2018 Mini Countryman showcased at Auto Expo
18th Feb 2018 7:00 am
The second-generation luxury SUV is the largest Mini yet; based on BMW X1 platform.
The all-new, second-generation Mini Countryman luxury SUV is also on display at the ongoing 2018 Auto Expo, along with a rather large selection of BMW models. The Countryman is expected to launch in India in the coming months, where it is expected to rival top-spec variants of compact luxury SUVs, like the Mercedes-Benz GLA, the Audi Q3 and its own cousin, the BMW X1.
That’s right, the new Mini Countryman shares its UKL1 front-wheel-drive-biased platform – and therefore most of its mechanical bits – with its German counterpart; and that includes the engines. When it launches in India, expect a 192hp, 2.0-litre turbo-petrol in the Countryman Cooper S and a 190hp 2.0-litre diesel in the Countryman D. Both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox – again, like in the BMW X1. Unlike the previous Countryman, which was only front-wheel-drive in India, this one routes its power through Mini’s ALL4 AWD system.
This mechanical difference also sets it apart from its estate-like sibling, the Clubman, which is only available in 2WD, therefore justifying the slight price premium you will have to pay.
While the new car is certainly recognisable as a Mini, the Countryman sets itself apart visually. It’s the most distinctive looking, of the current crop of Minis. For instance, its headlamps and tail-lamps are almost square in shape and there are sharp ridges over the rear-wheel arches. Then there is the angry-looking ‘upturned’ chrome grille, aggressive bumpers and chunky cladding around the wheel arches. Finally, the characteristic Mini ‘floating’ roof has a kink at the rear, so as to make it look a bit different from its siblings.
On the inside, of course, there’s that classic Mini retro look with loads of circular motifs on the dashboard, dials and doors. Beneath all the old-school chic, however, is a proper luxury car with quality levels that match (and in places, surpass) the BMW X1. It also has some state-of-the-art tech like the latest iDrive infotainment system with a touchscreen. However, in true Mini fashion, a lot of equipment is optional; and speccing it up could seriously shoot the sticker price up.
Still, the previous Countryman was perhaps the most popular Mini in India and thanks to its SUV body style, this one has the potential to be, too. Do you think it’s a proper Mini, or just a big SUV that happens to wear the retro badge? Let us know in the comments below.
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