New Countryman Will Have a Hybrid Personality

Mini has confirmed that its second-generation Countryman will be offered in hybrid form alongside three and four-cylinder petrolsa nd diesels when it arrives next year.

The petrol-electric SUV will be Mini’s first hybrid car ahead of other alternatively powered models, including a fully electric version of the Cooper hatchback due in 2019.

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The Countryman hybrid will share its platform and drivetrain with the BMW 225xe plug-in hybrid, with a 1.5-litre combustion engine mounted up front and the electric motor sited within the rear axle. It offers four-wheel drive in hybrid mode and rear-wheel drive in pure electric mode, with combined system outputs of 221bhp and 284lb ft and a 0-62mph time of 6.7sec. Mini is yet to reveal figures for the Countryman, but sources suggest they will not vary too much from those of the 225xe.

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The hybrid Countryman has been engineered to provide an electric range of at least 25 miles. It has three driving modes (Auto eDrive, Max eDrive and Save Battery), with the 7.6 kWh lithium ion battery programmed to provide full electric drive up to 50mph in Auto eDrive mode and up to 78mph in Max eDrive. The battery lives beneath the rear seats, suggesting that the fuel tank will be smaller than that of the regular model.

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The charging socket for the battery is located in the left-hand front wing. No charging time details have been revealed, but BMW quotes 3hr 15min on standard mains and 2hr 15min with a high-power wall box for the 225xe.

Mini suggests that the hybrid Countryman is focused on fun rather than efficiency.

“We want to convince customers of the benefits of hybrid drive,” said Peter Wolf, head of Mini brand management. “As far as the chassis and suspension are concerned, nothing changes from the conventionally driven variant.”

The hybrid Countryman is not the first Mini model to possess electric propulsion capability. That distinction goes to the limited-volume Mini E offered to private customers for short-term lease in 2009.

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