Mini is about to jump on the hybrid bandwagon with the second generation of its largest model, the Countryman.
The first ever plug-in hybrid model to wear the Mini badge is going to be based on the forthcoming second-gen Countryman and will likely carry the “E” suffix, as revealed in a leak from June. Mini isn’t sharing a lot of details about the car, but it does say the combustion engine will drive the front wheels while the electric motor is going to power the rear axle to provide the car with an all-wheel drive layout. The eco-friendly Countryman will always start in electric mode and is going to reach speeds of up to 77 mph (125 kph) without sipping even a drop of fuel.
Chances are the Countryman E will have just about the same hardware as the BMW 225xe introduced last year with a turbocharged 1.5-liter, three-cylinder gasoline engine working together with an electric motor. It should give it a combined output of 224 horsepower (165 kilowatts) and 284 pound-feet (385 Newton-meters) of torque. A 7.7-kWh battery pack is going to be installed underneath the rear seats and will have enough juice for an all-electric range that should be in the same ballpark as the 225xe’s 25 miles (41 kilometers).
There’s no word about performance just yet, but the aforementioned BMW 225xe runs to 62 mph (100 kph) in 6.7 seconds and tops out at 126 mph (202 kph). More importantly, the plug-in hybrid people carrier from Bavaria has a combined fuel consumption of 2.0 - 2.1 liters / 100 km. Charging the battery takes 3 hours and 15 minutes in the 225xe, which can also be had with an optional fast charger that reduces the charging time by an hour. Expect roughly the same numbers from the equivalent Mini.
As far as the design is concerned, the Countryman E will look just about the same as the other versions of the range, with the exception of the additional cap mounted on the front-left fender. Some changes will occur on the inside where the rev counter is going to be replaced by a power display, while the start/stop button will glow yellow instead of the usual red.
The Countryman E will likely be available from day one and should go on sale at some point in 2017. It’s worth pointing out it won’t actually be the first electrified model from the brand taking into account back in 2008 there was a Mini E built in 500 units and offered with a one-year lease to select private and corporate customers.