New 2017 MINI Countryman set to get hybrid power
Bigger, more spacious MINI Countryman to be unveiled in the coming days with new hybrid powertrain
MINI has officially confirmed its first ever plug-in hybrid model is on the way – and it takes the form of the all-new 2017 MINI Countryman.
The second-generation crossover is due to be unveiled later this month, and MINI bosses have teased the new model by showing a near-production petrol-electric prototype plugged into the mains.
The British brand is keeping tight-lipped about the exact powertrain in the new Countryman, but we expect the Countryman plug-in to use the familiar 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine, with battery assistance.
MINI has revealed that the hybrid is capable of up to 78mph in pure EV mode and “long-lasting electric driving” – although we don’t yet know the electric range or power output of the motor
We do know that the electric motor powers the rear wheels and the petrol engine powers the front wheels, allowing for intelligent all-wheel drive that activates when grip is lost. MINI is also claiming the chassis and suspension is unchanged over the standard Countryman, with electric components balanced across both axles for better weight distribution.
The Countryman plug-in’s drivetrain will come with three modes: Auto eDrive to balance petrol and electric power, Max eDrive and a Save Battery mode.
What else do we know about the new MINI Countryman?
We've already spotted the new MINI Countryman with barely any camouflage ahead of its big reveal.
The Countryman, first launched in 2010, is now the oldest model in the MINI line-up and with the SUV market booming, there’s a lot riding on this new model. Prototypes of the crossover were seen undergoing final testing, and our exclusive images show you how the finished product
could look when it is revealed.
Don’t expect the Countryman’s styling to change dramatically. The existing car is still a strong seller so a radical new design approach isn’t necessary. Spy shots indicate that the front end will remain square-edged, yet it’ll have a more muscular look than other MINIs. The side profile will be very similar to the outgoing model’s, save for a more sloping roofline and chunkier haunches. Rugged wheelarches and lower body cladding will give the newcomer the necessary crossover appeal, too.
One of the biggest and most obvious changes to the Countryman will be the increase in size – a result of switching to the new UKL1 modular platform used for the MINI hatch and Clubman. The car
is expected to approach 4.2 metres in length thanks to a longer wheelbase, which means more interior space, especially in the rear. MINI is now able to have greater differentiation between its models after trimming its line-up from seven cars to five.
Aside from the new plug-in hybrid powertrain that’s been confirmed, the new Countryman will get the same three and four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines as the Clubman and MINI hatch. The entry-level Cooper will feature the three-cylinder 1.5-litre turbo, with the more powerful four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbo offered on Cooper S and range-topping John Cooper Works models, delivering as much as 228bhp.