As with all Mini models, the new Countryman bears a clear resemblance to its predecessor, though combines design elements from the new-generation Mini Hatch and Clubman to give it a classier and more mature look.
UPDATE: The Countryman range is locked in for a March 2017 launch
Up front the new face sports a unique headlight and LED daytime-running light design, which is more of a squircle shape rather than the more circular signatures of the Hatch and Clubman.
Out back the Countryman looks very much like a beefy jacked-up version of the Hatch, with plastic cladding on the wheel arches and bumpers adding to the crossover vibe.
Filling the arches are a selection of alloy wheels, ranging from 16 to 17 inches in diameter, though buyers can option rims up to 19 inches in diameter.
The new Countryman is a whopping 200mm longer than the car it replaces, while also being 30mm wider and sporting a 75mm longer wheelbase - matching the 2670mm footprint of its platform mate, the new BMW X1.
Thanks to the growth spurt, the Countryman now has “fully-fledged” seating for five people, with significantly more room for rear passengers, and a 450-litre boot that expands to 1309 litres with the rear bench folded - up to 220 litres larger than the previous model.
Inside, the Countryman further distinguishes itself from the Mini Hatch and Clubman, sporting a unique interior design though numerous elements such as the hallmark central instrument display and toggle switches, including the start/stop button.
Higher-quality materials used throughout the interior raise the cabin ambience, while a new electric park brake switch lives on the centre console.
Pre-collision warning with low-speed autonomous emergency braking (AEB) are included as standard, though the rest of the Countryman’s safety suite will likely be revealed closer to the car’s February launch.
Other features available include dynamic damper controls with selectable Mini driving modes, satellite navigation systems ranging from 6.5 to 8.8-inches - the latter of which comes with a touchscreen - along with an array of driver assistance and connectivity options.
One of these options is the Mini Find Mate system, which is similar to the Tile tracking app that debuted in the 2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport.
Customers attach Bluetooth tags to belongings like bags, cases and key rings, and are then able to track their location using both the Countryman’s infotainment system or a smartphone.
The Mini Connected smartphone app also allows owners to pre-plan their journeys and transfer them to the car’s navigation system.
Mini Connected is also able to inform the driver of optimal departure times based on calendar entries and current traffic data.
Under the bonnet are a selection of the turbocharged petrol and diesel engines available in the wider Mini line-up.
Kicking off the range is the Cooper Countryman, with its 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine, producing 100kW of power and 220Nm of torque.
Next up is the sporty Cooper S Countryman, which features a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine boasting outputs of 141kW and 280Nm.
Mini says the new Cooper S Countryman can sprint from 0-100km/h in 7.2 seconds when equipped with the eight-speed automatic transmission and All4 all-wheel drive system (both optional) - 0.9 seconds quicker than the previous model.
Meanwhile, the diesel range commences with the Cooper D Countryman, which utilises a 110kW/330Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel unit.
Sitting atop the range is the Cooper SD Countryman, which packs an uprated version of the Cooper D’s 2.0-litre oiler, producing a meaty 140kW of power and 400Nm of torque.
Standard on all variants bar the Cooper SD Countryman (in Europe) is a six-speed manual transmission.
Optional on the entry-level Cooper Countryman is a six-speed automatic, while an eight-speed self-shifter is available as an extra for the Cooper S Countryman and Cooper D Countryman, but standard on the Cooper S D Countryman.
The new Countryman is also the first Mini to offer a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) drivetrain, in the form of the Cooper S E All4 variant.
Coupling a 100kW 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder with a 65kW synchronous electric motor, the Cooper S E Countryman All4 produces combined outputs of 165kW and 385Nm - giving it the highest power output in the Countryman range.
While performance figures are yet to be released for the first Mini PHEV, the company claims the S E Countryman All4 uses 2.1L/100km on the EU combined cycle, and offers an all-electric range of 40km.
With a February 2017 launch announced, it’s likely we will see the new Countryman arriving locally not long after.
Speaking to CarAdvice, Adam Davis, product communications manager at BMW Australia, said that the company's local arm is expecting to launch the new Countryman range in 'late' Q1 2017 - hinting that first deliveries will commence around April next year.
Expect final specifications and pricing to be revealed closer to the Countryman’s launch next year.
Stay tuned for our coverage of the new Mini Countryman at the 2016 Los Angeles motor show next month.
Click the photos tab for more images of the 2017 Mini Countryman