MUNICH - Mini released pictures and details of its new Countryman model, the BMW-owned brand's first four-door model.
The SUV will be the fourth model in Mini's lineup when it goes on sale in Europe starting in September and in the U.S. in early 2011, expanding the lineup beyond the current hatchback, station wagon and convertible.
"The Mini Countryman bridges the gap between the classic concept of Mini and a modern sports activity vehicle," Mini said in a statement.
The Countryman will be the first Mini not built in the brand's factory in Oxford, which is running at full capacity. Magna Steyr will build the model in Austria.
The car will debut the Geneva auto show in March and will be offered in Europe with three gasoline and two diesel engines.
The top engine is a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder with BMW's twin-scroll turbo and direct fuel injection, rated at 184 hp. Transmission choices are a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.
To reduce fuel consumption, Mini will equip the Countryman with technologies such as brake regeneration, engine stop-start at idle and on-demand use of accessories.
All-wheel drive, named All 4, will be optional. The system uses a electrohydraulic differential to split drive force between the front and rear wheels.
Under normal driving conditions, drive force is split 50-50 between the front and rear wheels. But up to 100 percent of drive force can be sent to the rear wheels by the center differential.
The standard equipment list includes stability control and a limited-slip differential for the front wheels. Traction control is an option on some models and standard on others.