We boarded the electric Mini Countryman, with its gigantic round screen that looks like a smartphone

During the Munich Motor Show, we were able to climb aboard the all-new Mini Countryman, electric for the first time, and which features a new digital experience. We particularly liked its round Oled screen, whose interface looks a lot like a smartphone!

It was in Munich, just a few hours before the opening of the IAA Motor Show 2023 that we went to Mini. Already to discover the new and fifth generation of Mini Cooper in its electric versions. Then to get to know the third generation Countryman. We were also able to board the new Mini Cooper, to test the gigantic round OLED screen!

If the Countryman will be offered in thermal versions, it is the zero-emission version that was presented to us during a colorful show which highlighted both its new engines and the latest digital solutions, such as its new all-round central screen. We boarded this new Countryman, here are our impressions.

Exterior: a compact SUV, but not too much

First of all, this Mini Countryman is growing. And it shows. We are talking about the size with a length which takes 13 centimeters, and a height which increases by 6 cm. It’s not nothing, and it’s immediately noticeable, especially when it’s displayed next to the first two generations. It should be remembered that it takes the basis of its cousin BMW iX1, and that it will be produced like the latter in the Regensburg factory, in Germany.

This change in stature is accompanied by a change in physique. We find nothing or almost nothing from the previous models. And this new Mini Countryman also displays a unique physique within the brand. He loses a little in good nature, what he gains in seriousness. But ultimately, it suits him well, it goes with his new XXL size.

As we walk around the car, we notice everything that makes this new physique stand out: smooth, cleaner body surfaces, flush handles, fewer small details (disappearance of the side vents)… And then we arrive at the rear, and there we discover a completely redesigned stern which moves the place of the license plate lower under the tailgate, and which sports new customizable lights. It’s quite successful.

The event on the sidelines of the Munich show was also the opportunity to discover a slightly less “fancy” version of the Countryman, a Countryman E with a more basic finish. And if the English green looks great on it, the more simplistic design of the rims, the black grille and the absence of “chrome” sabots on the front and rear rocker panels obviously make it less sexy.

Interior

Obviously this move upmarket of the Countryman, in the sense of “increase in size”, is accompanied by an equally larger interior volume. You can feel it at the front, but also at the rear with a very comfortable space for passengers.

Not against it, big disappointment because the press release told us about a rear seat sliding 13 cm. Practical for increasing either the legroom for the rear passengers or the volume in the trunk. We looked everywhere, but we couldn’t find the lever to slide it. And for good reason ! Not because it’s an option that wasn’t present on our demo model, but because it will be reserved for thermal versions!

The electric Countryman does not have, for reasons that one can imagine, batteries under the floor, and frankly it’s a shame.

And as long as we are in the rear seats, there is also a small downside on the service tunnel in the center which remains visible, where certain 100% electric competitors offer a completely flat board (Tesla Model Y not to mention it).

In terms of the trunk, it seemed a good size to us, again larger than the outgoing generation, but we will have to wait for official figures from Mini to confirm this.

The Countryman and the new Mini Cooper have almost identical interiors. Except for a few details: the door handles, vertical on the SUV, just like the air vents.

And then we obviously find exactly the same infotainment system on the central round screen measuring 24 cm in diameter. Almost everything goes through him. Even the instrumentation normally behind the steering wheel (there is still the possibility of having a head-up display as an option).

As for the buttons, they are limited to a few switches to recall the old Minis (starting the car, selecting forward or reverse gear, volume and driving modes), and a few shortcuts in the form of haptic buttons to access driving aids. driving or front/rear defrosting.

We were able to “play” a bit with this new infotainment, wander through the menus, and we must admit that the user experience is very good. Mini wanted to get as close as possible to what we find on a smartphone, and we could see it both in the fluidity and in the responsiveness of the touch screen, as well as in the tree structure of the menus.

We swipe on the sides to access the different functions, upwards to add shortcuts, we click on the left to return to the previous page… It’s childishly simple, we find ourselves there in just a few minutes, and the graphics and integrations are very successful.

To find out more about the different menus available, we refer you to the detailed article on the Mini E.

Engines

The Mini Countryman has so far been presented to us in electric versions. We might even have thought that there would no longer be a thermal Mini. But as with the BMW X1 cousin, customers will have the choice between electric and thermal.

For the time being, only the electric versions have been shown to us and detailed, with one and the same battery for the two versions available Countryman E and Countryman SE, of 66.45 kWh, offering respective powers of 204 and 313 horsepower.

You will find the detailed characteristics of the new Mini Countryman electric in the table below:

Mini Countryman E Mini Countryman SE ALL4
Autonomy 462km 433km
Battery
Power 150 kW (204 hp) 230 kW (313 hp)
Couple 250Nm 494Nm
0 to 100 km/h 8.6 sec 5.6sec

While waiting to know the prices that will be displayed on the French market, we already know that the new Mini Countryman E will be available from 43,500 euros from our German neighbors.


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