I know what you’re probably thinking – didn’t MINI just introduce the new Countryman? Although the compact crossover made its debut earlier this week at IAA Munich 2023, automakers are always a couple of steps ahead with the planning. With that in mind, there are already reports about which direction the fourth-generation model will take when it arrives near the end of the decade.
Well-known BMW insider ynguldyn from the BimmerPost forums claims the future Countryman will switch to the Neue Klasse platform. We did a bit of digging of our own and sources close to the BMW Group have told us it’s very likely to happen. The tipster has it on good authority that production is scheduled to commence in November 2028 and end in October 2036, although we’d take this timeline with the proverbial pinch of salt.
Switching to the NE platform means the Countryman will be sold exclusively as an electric vehicle. That seems just about right since MINI has already said it’s going to discontinue sales of cars with combustion engines around 2030 or a little after that. It is believed the just-released EV model will be discontinued in June 2028 to make room for its NE-based successor entering production a few months later. However, the conventionally powered crossover is going to stick around for a couple of years.
In other words, there will be a period when MINI will sell two Countryman models based on different platforms. The gasoline-fueled car will remain on CLAR while the zero-emission model will transition to Neue Klasse. The latter is also likely to be built at a BMW factory, much like it’s the case today with both ICE and EV versions of the 2024 Countryman in Leipzig. As a reminder, production of the outgoing model was externalized to VDL Nedcar in Born, The Netherlands.
Logic tells us that the next-generation iX1 will also transition to Neue Klasse as BMW surely wants to spread out development costs across more models, but nothing is official yet.