While not slated to debut in production form until the Frankfurt Motor Show this September, word out of Europe now indicates that the upcoming crossover
variant of the MINI Cooper is almost certain to be called the Countryman. That name has been trademarked by MINI's parent company, BMW
AG. Like the Clubman, the Countryman moniker carries historic precedent with the original MINI Cooper lineup, having previously been used on a long-wheelbase version of the vehicle that was sold in several markets around the world. The new Countryman will be the first MINI to ever be available with all-wheel drive, a feature that should endear it to U.S. buyers who live in the snowbelt as well as those who frequently encounter inclement weather. Based on the Crossover
Concept originally displayed at the 2008 Paris Auto Salon, the Countryman is expected to be about six inches longer, wider and taller than its Clubman counterpart. Unlike the show car, which featured a conventionally hinged rear door on its right side and a slide out-and-back unit on the left, the volume-build Countryman is expected to sport four conventional doors as well as a single-piece rear hatch.