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Tony O'Kane | Jan, 23 2015 | 2 Comments

The second-generation MINI Countryman will be bigger than before, with MINI's traditionally quirky and unique styling cues to take a back seat to size and practicality.

Seen cold-weather testing, this stickered-up prototype again confirms that the next Countryman will sport more bulk in the form of a higher roofline and longer wheelbase, though its silhouette will still be recognisably MINI.

Proportionally, expect the new Countryman to be largely identical to the upcoming all-new BMW X1.

The new X1 will switch from a longitudinal engine layout to a more common transverse arrangement, which will see 2WD variants driving the front (rather than rear) wheels and a boost in interior space.

Its version of BMW's UKL platform (which is also used by the 2 Series Active Tourer and MINI Cooper) will be shared with the Countryman to keep production costs low.

Under the bonnet, we can expect to find the same range of three and four-cylinder engines as the new MINI Cooper, with a 100kW/220Nm 1.5 litre turbo three-pot in the base model and a 141kW/280Nm 2.0 turbo four in the S models.

A 1.5 litre turbo diesel three-cylinder will offer greater efficiency, along with 85kW of power and 270Nm of torque.

The next Countryman will continue to be offered in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, with the latter reserved for the Cooper D, Cooper S and John Cooper Works versions. Six-speed manuals and six-speed autos will also be offered.

It's unclear whether a sportier diesel Cooper SD will continue to be part of the range, though we should get the full picture when the all-new Countrman makes its motor show debut in 2016.

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