MUNICH, Germany – Mini kicks off the most comprehensive new-model offensive in its 64-year history with the unveiling of the fifth-generation Cooper and third-generation Countryman prior to the opening of the IAA Mobility Show here.
A third all-new Mini model in the form of a production version of the Aceman concept revealed at the 2022 Gamescon convention in Cologne, Germany, is scheduled to be revealed next April as an indirect replacement for the existing Clubman, says Stefanie Wurst, head of the Mini brand, which is part of the BMW Group.
The new Cooper and Countryman will be produced with both all-electric drivetrains and traditional internal-combustion engines in a move Mini says is aimed at providing customers with greater choice in increasingly diversified automotive markets across the globe.
In a realignment of its model naming, Mini confirms it will now use the “Cooper” name for all 3-door and 5-door hatchback and 2-door convertible models, irrespective of their drivetrain and power output. Previously, the entry-level Mini was simply referred to as the “hatch.”
For its public premiere in Germany, Mini unveils the new Cooper in 3-door electric form, saying it will go on sale in selected markets by the end of 2023. More traditional ICE versions and variants will follow shortly, Wurst tells Wards.
In a significant change to Mini's global operations, the electric version of the new Cooper will be produced exclusively in China in a joint venture with Great Wall Motors operated under the name Spotlight Automotive in the city of Zhangjiagang. Cooper ICE models will continue to roll from Mini's factory in Oxford, England.
The new electric-powered Cooper sits on a new dedicated electric-vehicle platform jointly developed by BMW and Great Wall Motor, with the new ICE model continuing to be based on BMW's FAAR platform.
Power for initial new electric Cooper models comes from a front-mounted asynchronous electric motor. It develops 181 hp and 214 lb.-ft. (290 Nm) of torque in the Cooper E and 215 hp and 243 lb.-ft. (329 Nm) in the Cooper SE.
The former is claimed to accelerate from 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in 7.3 seconds, with the latter claimed to run the benchmark sprint in 6.7 seconds.
The Cooper E receives a 40.7-kWh lithium-ion battery and boasts an official WLTP range of up to 205 miles (330 km), while the Cooper SE gets a larger 54.2-kWh unit and a maximum claimed WLTP range of 250 miles (402 km), according to information on European specification models released by Mini.
The styling of the new Cooper, known internally under the codename J01, draws heavily on the traditional shape and detailing of its predecessor, the R58.
The front end is distinguished by a modern reinterpretation of Mini's signature grille, which takes on an octagonal form instead of the hexagonal shape used previously, and round LED headlamps.
It's at the rear where the biggest design changes are concentrated, however. Here, Mini has provided the new Cooper with new triangular-shaped taillamps (pictured, at bottom) with familiar Union Jack-inspired LED graphics. The Cooper name is also featured within a panel across the tailgate.
The new Cooper bucks the trend toward ever larger vehicles: It’s shorter, with a reduced wheelbase, but it’s also wider and taller than its predecessor.
The interior of the Cooper (pictured, above) has been radically reworked with a fabric-covered dashboard, horizontal air vents and a reduced control layout that does away with a traditional instrument cluster completely. All information is concentrated either within a new 9.4-in. (23.9-cm) round OLED infotainment display or via an optional head-up display.
The distinctive-looking infotainment display uses Mini’s new Google Android-based 9.0 operating system. It allows the driver to choose between eight different Mini Experience modes and supports 5G over-the-air software update functionality.
At the other end of the new-for-2024 Mini lineup is the third-generation Countryman – a model that has grown appreciably in size and technical standing owing to a decision by parent company BMW to twin its development and production with the latest BMW X1.
In Munich, two electric Countryman models were revealed: the front-drive Countryman E that delivers 201 hp and 184 lb.-ft. (249 Nm) of torque, while the all-wheel drive Countryman SE ALL4 offers 308 hp and 364 lb.-ft. (494 Nm).
The 0-62 mph times and top speeds are put at 8.6 seconds and 106 mph (171 km/h), and 5.6 seconds and 112 mph (180 km/h), respectively.
Both electric-powered Countryman models use 66.4-kWh lithium-ion batteries with a charging capacity of 130 kW, giving the Countryman E and Countryman SE with respective WLTP ranges of 288 miles (463 km) and 269 miles (433 km). The towing capacity of the electric versions is put at 1,653 lbs. (750 kg).
Mini says the turbocharged 1.5L 3cyl. and 4-cyl. as well as the turbocharged 2.0L 4-cyl. diesel versions of its new CUV featuring 48V mild-hybrid properties, will be the first to go on sale across Europe in February. Mini is yet to confirm the technical and performance details of these models and what versions are planned for the U.S. market, although it does say they will offer a towing capacity of up to 4,090 lbs. (1,855 kg).
Larger than any previous Mini model, the Countryman has grown by a significant 4.7 ins. (119 mm) in length and 4 ins. (102 mm) in height.
The interior of the new Countryman mirrors the modern look of the new Cooper, with the same infotainment display.
The larger dimensions provide the Countryman with space for up to five occupants and greater interior accommodation all round.
Both electric and ICE versions of the Countryman are set to roll from the same production line as the BMW iX1 and X1 in Leipzig, Germany.
Previous Countryman models were produced at Magna in Graz, Austria and, more recently, at a former Volvo factory in Born, Holland.