Almost immediately following its announcement of the autonomous and electric MINI Vision NEXT 100 Concept, we’ve learned that the Oxford-based brand will be developing a hybridized variant of its next-generation Countryman.
MINI has previously tried its hand at electric drivetrains, with the MINI E back in 2011. However, that was more of a limited-production testbed for electric powertrains, while this new MINI Countryman E will be the brand’s first plug-in hybrid.
Using a similar version of the BMW i8’s powertrain, the MINI Countryman E will pack a 1.5 liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine that powers the front wheels through a six-speed automatic gearbox with an electric motor powering the rear wheels. A high-voltage generator mounted to the front axle will provide added boost to the engine for short periods of time, generate electricity for the battery and even act as the starter motor.
The gas engine at the front will develop 136 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque on its own and will get an additional 20 hp from the front-mounted motor. The rear-mounted electric motor will provide 88 hp and 122 lb-ft of torque to just the rear wheels and clever electronics will figure out how to make all of that word seamlessly. According to the EU Cycle, electric range should be about 38 km (24 miles) and can get up to about 50 mph on electric power alone. So the MINI Countryman E will be good for quite a bit of around town electric driving.
This new generation of MINI Countryman will wear the F60 internal model designation and will be both longer, taller and wider than the car it replaces. This new Countryman will continue to seat five but will likely have more backseat room than before, thanks to its longer and wider wheelbase. The new MINI Countryman E will also not give up any interior or cargo space to its hybrid powertrain, like some BMWs. In fact, the trunk space will reman the same as on the internal combustion-engined cars and it will even keep the same underfloor storage in the trunk. The latter is lacking in the BMW i3 REx and the BMW X5 xDrive40e.
The current-generation MINI Countryman is a bit of a mixed bag. It’s kind of strange looking, too bit to be a MINI and not as fu as one might hope. However, it’s still good to drive and is a MINI for those who have families and need more space. This new one is going to get even bigger and will even have more interior room, while also gaining new technology. This plug-in hybrid MINI Countryman E should be very helpful to the MINI brand and BMW Group as a whole.