The Mini Countryman has always been the brand's flagship, the one with the most space and the most powerful engines. The new generation has only confirmed its position at the top of the range, thanks above all to a 13 centimetre increase in length, which now totals 4.43 metres. Practically the same as the Mercedes-Benz GLA, which recently underwent a slight mid-cycle restyling, and is only 2 cm shorter.

We are talking about compact SUVs in the premium segment, available with different types of engines and which do not compromise on performance with their sportier versions: John Cooper Works for the Countryman and AMG for the GLA. Here they are now in a head-to-head to discover their commonalities and differences.

Exterior

Having said that the dimensions match, the Mini Countryman and Mercedes-Benz GLA have distinctly different styling despite clearly showing the family resemblance of their respective brands. 

The British model is more 'boxy' and with a front end that evolves classic Mini styling. The proportions are almost SUV-like, with sharp lines, the nose and rear almost perpendicular to the ground and a roof that runs straight ahead so as not to steal inches from the cabin. In keeping with tradition, there is no shortage of unusual design solutions, such as the C-pillar almost hidden by the windows and an appendage that camouflages the roof tinting, as well as numerous personalisation options.

Mini Countryman SE All4 (2024)

MINI Countryman 2024

Mercedes-Benz GLA (2023)

Mercedes-Benz GLA 2023

With the restyling, the German rival has not revised itself, but updated an already winning recipe, updating the design of the front and rear light clusters and the light signatures. The grille is as always dominated by the Mercedes-Benz logo in the centre and can be styled in different ways: three-dimensional (represented by the union of numerous stars) or with vertical stripes for the sportier versions. The lines remain smooth and rounded, and the beltline rises slightly from the centre of the tailgate for a more dynamic look.

Model Length Width Height Wheelbase
Mini Countryman 4.43 metres 1.83 metres 1.66 metres 2.69 metres
Mercedes-Benz GLA 4.41 metres 1.83 metres 1.61 metres 2.73 metres

Interior

The interior of the Mini Countryman 2024 is minimalist and dispenses with digital instrumentation, replaced in its entirety by a new head-up display that projects information directly onto the windscreen. In its place, the centre of the dashboard features a 9.4-inch circular display (a homage to the past) with LED technology. Animated by the new Mini OS 9 operating system, it is completely new in its graphics and available functions.

It is operated by touch commands or via the voice assistant. Physical buttons have been reduced to a minimum and the absence of the transmission control (located at the bottom of the dashboard) in the centre tunnel frees up a lot of space. Speaking of space, the new generation Countryman gains a lot, both in the cabin and in the boot, with a minimum capacity of 460 litres.

Mini Countryman SE All4 (2024)

MINI Countryman 2024, the interior.

For its part, the Mercedes-Benz GLA 2023 remains faithful to the MBUX system configuration consisting of two 10.25-inch monitors side by side, one for the digital instrumentation and one for the infotainment system. A tried and tested recipe that always works well, with a multitude of functions and clear graphics. Once again, the transmission control is not in the centre tunnel, where several storage compartments are located. The wheelbase is 4 cm longer than that of the Countryman and offers extra roominess, while the boot has a slightly smaller volume, with a minimum capacity of 435 litres.

Mercedes-Benz GLA (2023)

Mercedes-Benz GLA 2023, the interior.

Model Digital instrumentation Central monitor Luggage compartment (min/max)
Mini Countryman n.a. 9.4" 460/1,450 litres
Mercedes-Benz GLA 7" - 10.25" 10.25" 435/1,430 litres

Engines

With the new generation, the Mini Countryman 2024 bids farewell to plug-in powertrains (PHEV), concentrating on petrol light hybrid units and, for the first time, 100% electric versions. Two powertrains are available: the front-wheel drive with 201 bhp and 250 Nm with a range of 287 miles (462 km), and the all-wheel drive with 308 bhp and 494 Nm with a claimed range of 269 miles (433 km). However, more will come in the future. For the time being, the Countryman is available with the 168 bhp 1.5-litre mild hybrid turbo petrol or the 201 bhp 2.0-litre. The range-topper is the Mini Countryman John Cooper Works, equipped with a non-electric 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine with 296 bhp, all-wheel drive and a 0-62 in 5.4 seconds.

Mini Countryman SE All4 (2024)

MINI Countryman 2024

Mercedes-Benz GLA (2023)

Mercedes-Benz GLA 2023

The restyling has seen the Mercedes-Benz GLA 2023 rethink its engines: slight electrification for all petrol units, revamped and improved plug-in hybrid powertrain, with diesel still present in the range. No pure electrics, that's what the Mercedes-Benz EQA is for. The 35 AMG (mild hybrid) with 306 hp and the 45 AMG S 4Matic with 421 hp, all-wheel drive and 4.3 seconds 0-100 km/h are still available.

Model Mild hybrid petrol Diesel Plug-in Electric
Mini Countryman 1.5 3-cylinder 168 bhp
2.0 4-cylinder 201 bhp
n.a. n.a. 201 bhp
296 bhp
Mercedes-Benz GLA 1.3 4-cylinder 134 bhp
1.3 4-cylinder 161 bhp
2.0 4-cylinder 221 bhp
2.0 4-cylinder 302 bhp
2.0 4-cylinder 114 bhp
2.0 4-cylinder 148 bhp
2.0 4-cylinder 187 bhp
1.3 4-cylinder 215 bhp n.a.

Prices

The increase in size and technology has led to higher prices for the Mini Countryman 2024 compared to the outgoing generation. The list now starts at £29,335 and goes up to £42,120 for the John Cooper Works.

The 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLA starts even higher, with a base price of £37,625 for the 161 bhp 1.3-litre mild hybrid, which is the base model in the UK, and rises to £71,150 for the 45 S 4MATIC+.

Model Minimum price Maximum price
Mini Countryman £29,335 £42,120
Mercedes-Benz GLA £37,625 £71,150