Mini Countryman displayed at Auto Expo 2018
The all-new, 2nd gen Mini Countryman luxury SUV is also on show at the ongoing 2018 Auto Expo, along with a rather large selection of BMW models. The Countryman is likely to launch in India in the coming months, where it is expected to rival top-spec variants of compact luxury SUVs, like the Mercedes-Benz GLA, the Audi Q3 and its own cousin, the BMW X1.
That’s right, the new Mini Countryman shares its UKL1 front-wheel-drive-biased platform – and therefore most of its automatic bits – with its German counterpart; and that contains the engines. When it launches in India, expect a 192hp, 2.0-litre turbo-petrol in the Countryman Cooper S and a 190hp 2.0-litre diesel in the Countryman D. Both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox – again, like in the BMW X1. Unlike the previous Countryman, which was only front-wheel-drive in India, this one routes its power through Mini’s ALL4 AWD system.
This mechanical difference also sets it apart from its estate-like sibling, the Clubman, which is only accessible in 2WD, therefore justifying the minor price premium you will have to pay. While the new car is certainly recognisable as a Mini, the Countryman sets itself apart visually. It’s the most distinctive looking, of the current crop of Minis. For instance, its headlights and tail-lamps are almost square in shape and there are sharp ridges over the rear-wheel arches. Then there is the angry-looking ‘upturned’ chrome grille, aggressive bumpers and chunky cladding around the wheel arches. Finally, the characteristic Mini ‘floating’ roof has a kink at the rear, so as to make it look a bit different from its siblings.
On the inside, of course, there’s that classic Mini retro look with loads of circular motifs on the dashboard, dials and doors. Beneath all the old-school chic, however, is a proper luxury car with quality levels that match (and in places, surpass) the BMW X1. It also has some state-of-the-art tech like the latest iDrive infotainment system with a touchscreen. However, in true Mini fashion, a lot of equipment is optional; and speccing it up could seriously shoot the sticker price up.