New Cooper and Countryman keep Mini charged

Mini plays big at the IAA 2023 in Munich with the public debut of the three-door Cooper and its SUV derivative, Countryman. Presented as battery-powered models, the new-generation Mini models come in two flavors but in an unmistakable recognizable design.

However, one can’t help but notice that the Countryman is moving toward a more refreshed design language. Squircle-formed headlights are accompanied by a boxy style, which doesn’t hide the pumped-up dimensions of the newcomer.

No more Cooper with five doors

With a length of 4,4 meters, it isn’t exactly a rival to Europe’s best-selling EV, the Tesla Model Y, but it is a point of departure next to the forerunner. Together with the increased height, occupant and luggage space have grown significantly.

As for the latter, maximum storage is at 1 530 liters, almost double the size of its smaller sibling. It’s partly due to the 20-inch wheels of the show car, but it gives a sturdier appearance than before.

The final version of the Cooper – the distinction between three-door and five-door has disappeared in a bid to simplify the range – asserts what leaked pictures already uncovered. The minor family member retains the overall rounded look and the circular headlights.

It shares its front grille with the Countryman, which has been transformed into an octagonal shape instead of the six-cornered interpretation. And, indeed, at the back, triangle-formed clusters can be witnessed as those spy pictures already unveiled.

Chinese-made platform

The Mini Cooper rides on an EV platform from Spotlight, a joint venture BMW has set up with Chinese car group Great Wall Motors. The future SUV variant Aceman will join.

As for the Countryman, the building blocks from the X1 are carried over. Both models come in a lower-powered E version and a more spiced-up SE. In the case of the Countryman, the latter includes four-wheel drive.

In the Cooper, the battery pack with 40.7 kWh (184 hp) offers a range of 305 kilometers, which rises to 402 kilometers in the version with a capacity of 54.2 kWh (214 hp). Both versions of the Countryman get the 64.7 kWh pack from its sister model at BMW, the iX1.

Ranges vary from 433 kilometers (SE) to 462 kilometers (E). While the three-door can recharge at 11 kW, the Countryman doubles up to 22 kW with DC peak charging at 130 kW. In the Cooper, fast charging happens at 75 kW (E) or 95 kW (SE).

Digital pancake

The most striking similarity is found in the interior, where the pancake dial now comes in a wholly digital and eye-catching format. Also, the design of the steering wheel, dashboard, upholstery (from knitted textiles to black faux leather for the sports seats), and switches is fully interchangeable. The models also feature Mini’s sustainable alloy wheels, consisting of 70% recycled aluminum.

As for the chassis and driving spirit, Mini promises a new adaptive damping system, which can lower the car by 15 millimeters, and Level 2 autonomous driving assistants. The Mini models will be able to autocorrect steering maneuvers and unwanted lane changes and offer hands-off queuing in traffic jams.

Waiting for gasoline

Mini has announced that it will end sales of combustion-engined models by the beginning of the next decade. So, the current generations of the Cooper and Countryman will still be offered with cylinders as well. This will likely be the 1.5-liter turbo-powered gasoline unit accompanied by a top-of-the-line 2.0-liter, but BMW has yet to confirm this as it is focusing its full attention on the electric editions first.

The Cooper and Countryman will be available in three trim levels: Classic, Exclusive, and Sport. These don’t affect the powertrain choice but only change for look and feel.

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