A break from tradition as MINI gets bigger

MINI is to add a fourth model to its product family with the launch of the MINI Countryman.

The Countryman will be the first MINI model with four full doors and is designed to bridge the gap between the classic MINI compact vehicle and a larger sports utility vehicle. It is the first attempt by the BMW-owned brand to move away from the iconic small car roots towards a larger model suitable for families. The Countryman adds to the existing model lineup of the MINI, the MINI Convertible and the MINI Clubman.

At the top end, the MINI Cooper S Countryman will feature a turbocharged 1.6L petrol engine delivering 135kW/184hp, a six-speed gearbox and four-wheel drive. At lower levels, it will be available in other models featuring a choice of two smaller petrol engines or two diesel engines.

MINI has designed the Countryman with functionality in mind, providing larger body dimensions, a higher wheel base and a wide-opening trunk lid. Inside, the MINI Center Rail extends from front to rear and is designed to allow drivers and passengers to customize storage areas as required for cups, iPods, mobile phones.

The Countryman is expected to make its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show, which begins on March 4. Renault-owned Dacia is also rumored to be readying a crossover concept to be launched at the show, whilst Alfa Romeo is set to launch the replacement of the popular Alfa Romeo 147.

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