The best driving experience is probably going to be found at your local go-kart track. Obviously that’s utterly useless advice if you’re about to lease your next car. You clearly can’t commute or do the school run in a go-kart. Or can you? Leasing yourself the brand-new MINI Countryman might actually be the perfect compromise.
Now in its third generation, the largest member of the model line-up has grown in stature – 6cm taller and 13cm longer – and for the first time the new MINI Countryman also comes with choice of fully electric or petrol powertrains.
The new MINI Countryman offers all of the versatility and practicality of a compact crossover, a wide range of trim levels and options, and the unique MINI proportions of long wheelbase and short overhangs.
The contemporary exterior design is enhanced with a slightly curved roof, and a newly designed C-pillar, to make the car appear shorter. Larger wheels, wider wheel arches and the removal of chrome details also add to its road presence. Newly designed headlights and an octagonal grille update the face of the new Countryman, with the headlights featuring three unique light signatures that you can change as easily as James Bond changed his number plate. At the rear, vertical light clusters inspired by the classic MINI design can also be switched to different modes in the same way as the front headlights.
The interior of the classic MINI boasted nothing more than a round instrument cluster in the centre and the toggle bar below. In the new MINI Countryman, it is once again these two elements, in combination with the steering wheel, that are the focus of the cabin.
The central OLED display is the defining feature of the interior.
All of the car’s functions can be operated with either touch or voice control, while the display has also been moved closer to the driver for easy reach. The upper half of the screen displays vehicle-related information such as speed and battery status while the lower portion houses Navigation, Media, Phone and Climate information. The MINI Intelligent Personal Assistant can be activated with the greeting “Hey MINI” or by using the push-to-talk steering wheel button.
Underneath the dashboard, the newly designed toggle bar houses the most important driving functions: parking brake, gear selector, start/stop key, experience mode toggle and volume control. The new layout offers more storage space in the centre console, with larger cup holders and an open storage compartment, alongside a wireless charging area.
Electric versions of the new MINI Countryman are offered in two performance levels – E and SE ALL4. The petrol-powered Countryman available in three levels – C, S ALL4 and JCW ALL4 model. UK drivers will have the choice of three highly specified trims: Classic, Exclusive and Sport.
The electric Countryman - range and performance
The Countryman E features a high-voltage battery with 64.7 kWh capacity and a 200bhp electric motor. That gives the new model a 0-60mph time of around 8.5 seconds and a range of more than 280 miles from a single charge. The SE ALL4 version ups the power to around 310bhp and adds the all-wheel drive capability. This knocks 3 seconds off the sprint time – down to around 5.5 seconds - and increases the top speed but sacrifices some range in the process as it can only manage 269 miles on a single charge. Petrol engined versions are also available in the Countryman C with front-wheel drive, Countryman S ALL4 and the sporty JCW model with all-wheel drive.
And if you’re wondering where the go-kart bit we mentioned earlier might factor into the equation, that’s where the MINI Experience Modes come in.
Eight MINI Experience modes are available on the new MINI Countryman: Core, Green, Go-Kart, Personal, Vibrant, Timeless, Trail and Balance.
Each mode has specially designed backgrounds and the optional MINI projector housed on the back of the OLED display immerses the dashboard in matching colour schemes and patterns, while the ambient lighting provides a unique cabin experience.
In Go-Kart Mode, for instance, there is a focus on MINI’s racing DNA with the display and interior bathed in anthracite and red and the display changes to feature specific analogue displays for race-inspired driving dynamics.
The new MINI Countryman has already been officially unveiled with first deliveries taking place in February 2024. If your current lease is coming to an end, or you’re looking to lease for the first time, the new MINI Countryman might be just the thing you’ve been waiting for.
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