As we move through March, the winter testing season for automakers is nearing its end. Perhaps that's why we see two Mini Countryman prototypes scooting about with considerable haste on the snow, though it probably has more to do with escaping the cameras from CarSpyMedia.
That's the source for this new video, catching a standard combustion-powered Countryman and a full EV in action. There's no missing the quad exhaust tips for the ICE Mini, suggesting we're looking at a John Cooper Works trim level. In the current Countryman, the JCW sends 301 bhp to all four wheels and can reach 60 mph in under five seconds. This is the prototype we see first, zipping past the camera and then parked while two individuals frantically load backpacks into the open hatch.
Sadly, we don't get a clear look inside while the hatch is up. But we do see the driver execute an about-face in a car park, followed by a camera flyby as the SUV leaves the area. Based on the brisk acceleration down the driveway, it's safe to say this is indeed a JCW with all-wheel drive.
A second Countryman test vehicle appears next, this time wearing electric test vehicle branding on the door. The level of camouflage is the same – specifically a yellow wrap that conceals design details on the front and rear. But aside from the branding, a complete lack of exhaust outlets and silent operation confirm this is a Countryman EV. It actually closes out the video with a brisk acceleration run in the snow, showing very little wheelspin in the process. It appears to use an all-wheel-drive layout as well.
Gallery: Next-gen Mini Countryman spy photos
That would confirm earlier reports stating the new Countryman EV will share a platform with the BMW iX1. It features dual motors for all-wheel-drive performance, generating a combined 313 bhp. Range for the iX1 checks in at 272 miles, though if Mini does share the Bimmer's underpinnings, stats could certainly change in the translation.
The combustion Mini might have a bit of electricity under the skin as well. Sources suggest a turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder plug-in hybrid could arrive, making 322 bhp. According to reports, a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder plug-in hybrid is also under development, offering 322 bhp (237 kilowatts).
Styling-wise, the next-generation Countryman is expected to have a more chiselled face for a mildly rugged appearance. Recent renderings preview how the small SUV might look once the camouflage is peeled away. That could happen in the second half of 2023, though a debut for the Countryman EV could come later.
Source: Car Spy Media via YouTube