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Mini Working on a Two-Door Countryman Off-Roader

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On: Fri, Sep 3, 2010 at 4:09PM | By: Chris Weiss

Mini Working on a Two-Door Countryman Off-Roader

Thanks to the success of the BMW X6, BMW-owned Mini may offer an off-road-capable coupe for those that crave something a little smaller. The company is currently beginning design work on a coupe version of its recently released Countryman five-door crossover. The new model would be a coupe aimed squarely at Range Rover's new Evoque, which will make its world debut at the Paris Motor Show in late September/October. If approved, the new Mini could hit the market as soon as 2013.

According to an Autocar report, Mini is currently considering several possible designs for the new concept. A four-door variant with no B-pillars and rear suicide doors is one direction under consideration, and a more traditional two-door model is the other. The car will feature a sloping, coupe-like roofline similar to that seen on the Evoque.

If Mini goes through with the Countryman coupe, it's expected to offer a car that undercuts the pricing of the Evoque while boasting better overall fuel economy and improved city driving. Speculation indicates a price of as low as £20,000.

The Range Rover Evoque, which was unveiled in July, will make its world auto show debut at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. It will be offered in both two-door and four-door varieties and will be the first Land Rover to offer a front-wheel-drive configuration. It will be Land Rover's smallest, lightest model, but will cost more than the Land Rover LR2 due to its sportier, more luxurious build.

The Countryman coupe is just one of several models that Mini is considering. The company is also developing a city car concept in the vein of the Smart ForTwo. That model is expected to feature a two seat or 2 + 1 layout and debut next year. Autoweek reported last month that that concept might debut at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show.

Reports earlier this year indicated that Mini is also considering a revival of its open-air Moke, which was discontinued in 1993. At the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mini introduced the Beachcomber crossover concept, an open-air version of the Countryman that looked like Mini's take on a Jeep Wrangler. Back in the spring Auto Express reported that Mini execs had given "strong hints" that a Moke revival based on the Beachomber concept was a good possibility.

The Countryman will be available in the U.S. beginning next year. It will be offered with two engine options: a 1.6-liter 120 hp four-cylinder and a 1.6-liter 180-hp four cylinder with direct injection and twin-scroll turbocharging. The Countryman S, which is powered by the latter plant, will include Mini's ALL4 all-wheel drive. The Countryman is expected to start around $30,000.

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