Mini keeps putting camouflage on these prototypes as if it has something to hide, but we all know how it’s going to look. Looking at the stretched wheelbase and the wider quarter glass, it’s pretty obvious the second generation will be substantially larger than its predecessor. It will turn the new Countryman into a Maxi rather than a Mini, but at least the increased footprint will enable a more spacious interior cabin.
The underpinnings are already known taking into account the model will ride on the same UKL architecture as the other recent Minis. That means it will use an assortment of three- and four-cylinder engines, all of which will be turbocharged. Front-wheel drive is going to be standard, but some of the beefier engines will be hooked up to an optional All4 all-wheel-drive arrangement for extra grip.
The not-so-mini crossover will also spawn a range-topping John Cooper Works edition, although it won’t be available from day one. When it will arrive, the fastest version of the Countryman will utilize the same 2.0-liter gasoline unit as seen in the other JCW models, so it will have 228 horsepower (170 kilowatts) and (320 newton meters) of torque on tap.
If you would rather have something more economical, a plug-in hybrid version is also on the agenda and it will allegedly combine a three-cylinder 1.5-liter gasoline engine with a rear-mounted electric motor and a 7.7-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The combustion engine will drive the front wheels whereas the electric motor will power the rear axle, thus enabling an AWD setup. Rumors say the model is going to have a combined output of 224 hp and will run to 62 mph (100 kph) from a standstill in approximately six and a half seconds. Nothing is official at this point, but apparently the “Countryman E PHEV” will return an amazing 141.2 miles per gallon and is going to have an all-electric range of 24 miles (39 kilometers).
Expect to see the second-gen Countryman at the upcoming Paris Motor Show which will open its doors at the beginning of October. It should go on sale either by the year’s end or early 2017. It could be followed in 2018 or so by a rugged derivative with an increased ground clearance, standard AWD, plastic body cladding, and other bits to make it more competent on rough terrains.