The brand's first hybrid gets 24 miles of electric range and an efficient 1.5-liter turbo-three engine.

This is, without question, the most important thing about the second-generation Mini Countryman. A brand-new hybrid drivetrain makes this Mini's first hybrid model, building on lessons learned from the all-electric Mini E some years ago, not to mention BMW's own i3 and i8 plug-in vehicles. The new Cooper S E Countryman (that's its full name) takes all of the standard car's functionality and all-wheel-drive capability, but adds a healthy dose of efficiency.

The Countryman PHEV uses a dual-powertrain setup. Up front, under the hood, the company’s turbocharged, 1.5-liter inline-three engine makes 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque, with a six-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the front wheels. Around back, under the luggage floor, there’s an electric motor that produces 87 hp and 122 lb-ft, driving the rear wheels through a two-stage, single-speed transmission. So yes, the plug-in Countryman gets an All4 all-wheel-drive designation because, technically, it has through-the-road AWD. It’s like an Acura NSX. Kind of.

2017 Mini Cooper S E Countryman All4
2017 Mini Cooper S E Countryman All4
2017 Mini Cooper S E Countryman All4
2017 Mini Cooper S E Countryman All4

The important numbers: Total system output is rated at 221 hp and 284 lb-ft. The 0-60 sprint happens in 6.8 seconds, and with a full battery, the Countryman can drive on electric power alone for up to 24 miles, and at speeds up to 77 miles per hour. Getting a full charge takes 3 hours and 15 minutes from a 240-volt outlet. In the European test cycle, the hybridized Countryman will need just 2.1 liters / 100 km, with corresponding CO2 emissions of 49 g/km.

On the road, there are three different drive modes. Auto eDrive lets you cruse on pure electric power at speeds up to 55 mph, with the engine kicking in under heavy acceleration or at highway speeds. Max eDrive lets you hit 77 mph on electric power, though it depletes the battery quicker. Finally, Save Battery works as advertised, using only the combustion engine to power the car, keeping the battery charge state above 90 percent.

Inside, the interior is basically the same. The rear seats are raised ever so slightly, since the electric motor is housed below. Cargo capacity isn’t listed, but Mini says it’s “only slightly less than in the conventionally powered model.”

We’ll see the Cooper S E Countryman alongside its non-hybrid sibling at the LA Auto Show next month. Standard Countryman sales are expected to kick off in March 2017, with this PHEV model following in June.

 

Source: Mini

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