MINI prepares to launch first plug-in hybrid EV

MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 plugged in
This environmentally-friendlier MINI Countryman can drive on pure electric power at speeds up to 125 km/h.

For the first time in the brand’s history, MINI is about to go plug-in hybrid. The model? The Cooper S E Countryman ALL4.

The large MINI hatchback will feature emissions-free technology that allows for pure electric driving, and the company has promised no changes to the fun-to-drive nature of the car.

MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 side

“With this model we want to convince MINI customers of the benefits of hybrid drive,” said Sebastian Mackensen, head of brand management, “and impress everyone who already has hybrid driving experience with MINI’s unique go-kart driving feel.”

The chassis and suspension is the same as found on conventional models, and if anything, the green variant makes the handling even sharper. The vehicle’s eDrive components are positioned at the rear and close to the floor, lowering the centre of gravity and balancing the front to rear weight ratio.

MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 rear

The electric motor powers the rear wheels while a 1.5-litre three-cylinder gasoline engine drives the front. The total power output is 221 horsepower and 284 lb-ft of torque that can get this Countryman from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 6.8 seconds. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard.

Unlike some other hybrids, the MINI is not limited to slow speeds when running on pure electricity. In fact, in AUTO eDRIVE mode, speeds of up to 80 km/h are possible. Setting it to MAX eDRIVE and the threshold is increased to 125 km/h. The onboard 7.6-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack provides a maximum e-range of approximately 40 kilometres.

MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 interior

To differentiate the Cooper S E Countryman from the rest of its siblings, bits of the exterior and interior have been given various yellow accenting like the MINI E badge and the engine start/stop button. Additional hybrid information menus have been added to the display system, and the side of the car now has an extra flap covering the plug socket.

MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 plug

More information will be available closer to the Q2 launch date.

Posted by Benjamin Yong

Benjamin Yong is a freelance journalist and communications professional living in Richmond, B.C. He is often found writing about cars and the auto industry, amongst other things, or driving around in his work-in-progress 1990 Mazda MX-5. Twitter: @b_yong Instagram: @popuplights