BMW started the series production of the new Mini Countryman and its all-electric offshoot in Leipzig. It is the first time a Mini model is being made in Germany. The new Mini Countryman is scheduled to hit dealerships on 17 February 2024.
It is also the first time the BMW Group produces Mini and BMW cars in the same factory. The Mini Countryman now rolls off the same assembly line as the BMW 1 Series, the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé, and the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer.
Milan Nedeljković, Board Member for Production, calls this ‘multi-brand operations’ on a flexible production system as part of a long-term strategy for the BMW iFactory.
The Group has invested around half a billion euros in Leipzig to increase production volume for new models. The third-generation Mini Countryman will be available with a petrol, diesel, or fully electric powertrain, with the high-voltage batteries for the Mini Countryman Electric also being made in Leipzig.
To adapt the production system to Mini-specific requirements, the BMW Group invested around € 200 million. Initially, some 100 Mini Countryman cars a day will roll off the production lines, rising to 500 during the following year. They come in addition to the almost 1 000 BMW cars already coming out of the factory daily. The company doesn’t give estimates about how many will be electric.
Electric Countryman with FWD and AWD
As for the new Mini Countryman from Leipzig, BMW will offer the electric version as a front-and all-wheel drive model. The single-motor Mini Countryman E delivers 150 kW of power and 250 Nm of torque and will sprint to 100 kph in 8,6 seconds.
The all-wheel drive Countryman SE ALL4 is based on the BMW iX1 xDrive30: Here, 230 kW is available, and with 494 Nm of torque, it reaches 100 kph in 5,6 seconds.
While the front-wheel drive model can cover 462 kilometers on a single battery charge, according to the WLTP, the all-wheel drive model has a range of 433 kilometers. In both cases, a 66,5 kWh battery is installed.
The new electric Countryman can be charged with up to 22 kW AC. Fast charging at a DC charging point is possible with a peak of up to 130 kW. The Countryman also features battery preconditioning via the navigation system, and the model also has Plug&Charge functionality.
The starting price is already known. In Belgium, the Countryman E starts at € 46 250, while the all-wheel drive SE model will presumably cost some 6 000 euros more.
Innovative painting method
One of the striking design features of the Mini exterior is the contrast roof, which can be ordered in a different color from the rest of the body. In the Countryman, it will be painted using a new, resource-friendly method known as overspray-free painting. It does away with the excess paint and also helps save CO2 emissions, as exhaust air from the cabin requires less cleansing, and it requires considerably less conditioned air.
Another sustainable innovation operating at Plant Leipzig is the burner technology used to dry the paint on contrast roofs. Last year, Leipzig became the first car plant in the world to pilot the new technology, which can run on natural gas and hydrogen.
And Mini Oxford?
The traditional Mini home in English Oxford is also undergoing modernization after BMW denied rumors it could cut UK production entirely. Instead, the Group confirmed plans in September that BMW will invest £ 600 million in producing Mini brand vehicles in the UK and turn the location into EV-only.
The Oxford plant is preparing to build two new all-electric Mini models from 2026 and exclusively electric models from 2030. The two small EVs are the Mini Cooper 3-door and the compact Mini Aceman crossover, not the Mini Countryman.
As in Leipzig, the Oxford plant can also produce ICE and EV models. Currently, these are the Clubman with conventional engines and the Mini Electric. From 2024, the plant will produce the next-gen ICE cars and the new Mini Convertible before adding the two aforementioned fully electric models in 2026.
At the time, BMW added a targeted production capacity of around 200 000 vehicles per year. The carmaker insists it will invest more than £ 3 billion (± € 3,5 billion) in its UK plants at Swindon, Hams Hall, and Oxford by 2030.