Formally launched at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show with ALL4 all-wheel drive, the first generation proved to be a rather successful model for the British marque.
The second generation – codenamed F60 – came out at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2016. This means a mid-cycle refresh is more than appropriate for the 2021 model year, and the Life Cycle Impulse is pretty much the same old, same old.
Highlights include a different radiator grille and LED lighting as standard. The Union Jack signature gives the rear lights an unmistakable Britishness, and customers are also treated to new body finishes such as the Piano Black Exterior.
New alloy wheels, greater availability for the eight-speed automatic transmission known as the Steptronic, an optional digital cockpit display with a 5.0-inch color screen, and a standard sports leather steering wheel are a few other highlights. Because it's a CUV, you shouldn't be surprised that the rear seats are split 40:20:40 and storage capacity ranges from 450 to 1,390 liters (15.9 to 49.1 cubic feet).
Even the standard audio system offers Bluetooth media streaming while the Connected Navigation option for the Connected Media infotainment system sweetens the deal with a second USB socket and wireless phone charging. Always online thanks to a SIM card that enables Intelligent Emergency Call, the facelifted Countryman offers a multitude of engine options that may seem pretty familiar.
No fewer than eleven variants are available, starting with the MINI One that packs 102 PS (101 horsepower). Known as the B38, the three-cylinder turbo needs 12 seconds to hit 100 km/h (62 mph) and maxes out at 180 km/h (112 mph).
Two performance-oriented options – the Cooper S and Cooper SD – level up to the B48 and B47 turbo four-cylinder engines with 2.0 liters of displacement. Just like the BMW X2 PHEV, the Countryman is also available as a plug-in hybrid.
The B38 mentioned beforehand combines with an e-motor to create the Cooper SE that comes standard with ALL4 all-wheel drive. It's the electric motor, not the internal combustion engine, that drives the rear axle – a similar solution to what Jeep calls 4xe in the case of the subcompact Renegade and compact Compass.
Coincidence or not, this fellow also happens to be the most powerful and frugal variant thanks to 220 PS (217 horsepower) and a claimed fuel consumption of 1.7 liters per 100 kilometers (138.3 U.S. miles per gallon).
Not long now, the JCW Countryman ALL4 will also be facelifted. The range-topper shares the 300-horsepower engine and eight-speed automatic transmission with the X2 M35i.