Now that the third-generation BMW X1 (U11) is out and about, our attention is being gradually redirected toward the mechanically related Countryman. The not-so-mini MINI crossover has now been spotted undergoing final testing at the Nürburgring ahead of its reveal before the end of 2022. It’s safe to say that whoever was behind the wheel of the car was pushing the prototype to its absolute limit.
Looking larger than ever, the third-gen Countryman seemingly confirmed a recent report about MINI extending the vehicle to nearly 4.5 meters (177 inches) long. We’ll remind you the latest X1 is precisely 4,500 mm long while being 1,845 mm (72.6 in) wide and 1,642 mm (64.6 in) tall. Aside from the obvious growth spurt, the prototype was flaunting a quad exhaust system.
With the X1 M35i (pictured above) coming with four tips, it’s no wonder the Countryman S will also have a more aggressive setup. Both will feature around 300 horsepower, automatic transmissions, and all-wheel drive to mirror the likes of the M135i hatchback, X2 M35i crossover, and the M235i Gran Coupe. This will effectively be the last Countryman with a combustion engine since the Oxford-based company has pledged to go fully electric around 2030.
Meanwhile, the new crossover will spawn a first-ever electric variant, twinned with the iX1 xDrive30 featuring dual motors good for 313 hp and 494 Nm (364 lb-ft) of torque. In the BMW, the setup is good for a 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) sprint in 5.7 seconds. We have it on good authority the plug-in hybrid model available today is going to be retired, leaving only ICE and EV flavors available for the Mk3.
Before the new Countryman debuts, the end of this month will bring an electric crossover concept from MINI that will also preview the brand’s fresh design language dubbed “Charismatic Simplicity.” It’s touted as being a premium offering in the small car segment, which tells us it’s probably going to slot below the larger-than-ever 2023 Countryman when the subsequent production model will debut.
Source: CarSpyMedia / YouTube