New MINI Spacebox MPV will use next-gen Countryman platform

Article by Christian Andrei, on July 18, 2012

After the latest mules for the next-generation Mini Countryman were seen, we finally get an idea of how BMW will expand its third-generation Mini range and add to its current seven models. It’s likely that a new Mini family MPV, which is also known as Spacebox, will be added to the lineup.

This would permit the Mini Countryman to have a more SUV-like appearance instead of a family vehicle and to be a sister model to the second-generation BMW X1.

Mini has not been candid about what its plans are to expand the Mini range further. It is expected that the Countryman will be replaced by two models since the Countryman isn’t a proper SUV or a utility family car.

What Mini offers for the next generation is a Countryman SUV that appears more rugged, partnered with the next X1, which would be longer than the Mini version by about 15cm because of its bigger overhangs. The new Spacebox model has a profile that’s similar to the Countryman but this is more of a practical family car instead of just a bigger version of the Mini hatch, says Autocar.

In addition, the third-generation Mini family will see the Clubman redefined to serve as more of a sporting estate car. It will probably get twin rear suicide doors. Beginning later in 2012, the company will start to produce the new Mini and BMW models that are built on its all-new, front-wheel drive UKL platform.

It’s believed to come in at least two wheelbases, two track widths and with high and low seating positions. All-wheel drive would be an option.

The Mini hatchback is the first Mini model to shift to the corporate platform. BMW’s new front-drive 1-series models would be next. From the images released, we see that the bigger version of the UKL platform will use wider tracks and have a wheelbase that’s slightly longer than the Countryman.

For the upcoming Autumn 2012, customers could start availing of the heavily updated MINI Countryman. The latest version of the MINI Countryman – MINI’s first model to offer all-wheel drive – is extensively modified to feature detailed design refinement as well as more premium materials for the interior. These modifications should further the vehicle’s appeal and continue the brand’s surge in this segment.

Likewise, these modifications made the spacious five-door more practical by optimizing ease of use. Customers could expect these modifications to be rolled out across all MINI Countryman variants starting November 2012. For instance, customers could expect a refreshed palette of exterior colors for the MINI Countryman, including the Brilliant Copper metallic and Blazing Red metallic shades.

Customers could expect refreshed equipment packages that should allow them to personalize the MINI Countryman according to their preferences. Interior modifications, meanwhile, include newly designed Carbon Black rings surrounding the Centre Speedo and four air vents. These rings feature an inner ring in high-gloss black or in chrome, if customers avail of the Chrome Line Interior option.

Whether in standard trim or in optional trim, the interior of the MINI Countryman features fresh colors and materials that boost its high-quality nature. The MINI Countryman now boasts of newly designed door inserts and remodeled door armrests for better comfort and practicality. MINI has located the controls for the electric windows in the door trim and integrated a full control panel into the door armrest on the driver's side.

This allows drivers to control all the windows, deactivate the rear window controls and adjust the exterior mirrors. By moving the window controls away from the center console, MINI has made it easier to access a large storage compartment below it. As standard, the MINI Countryman features a three-seat rear bench, although a pair of individual seats could be availed at no extra charge.

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