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Next MINI Countryman to be bigger, more rugged

The next Countryman will borrow a few styling cues from the Dakar-winning X-Raid.

MINI engineers are busily developing the second-gen Countryman, and a new report coming out of England provides us with a better idea of what we can expect from it.

Visually, the next Countryman will fall in line with MINI's newest design language but it will adopt a much more rugged appearance than the current model thanks to styling cues borrowed from the Dakar-winning X-Raid rally car (pictured). It will stretch roughly 167 inches long, making it the biggest member of the MINI lineup.

The Countryman will ride on BMW's ubiquitous UKL front-wheel drive platform, and it will launch with three- and four-cylinder engines sourced from its parent company's parts bin. Buyers will be able to order an evolution of the all-wheel drive system that equips the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer at an extra cost.

Interestingly, British magazine Autocar reports that MINI could capitalize on its Dakar successes by launching a more off road-focused version of the Countryman capable of going far off the beaten path. The crossover could also spawn a BMW X6-style four-door coupe model, though neither project has been given the green light for production yet.

The next-gen MINI Countryman is scheduled to land in showrooms in about a year and a half, so it will likely be introduced at next year's edition of the Paris Motor Show.

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