Mini announces its first plug-in hybrid model

While the Cooper S E ALL4 is arguably the most relevant member of the just-revealed 2017 Countryman range, this new arrival also demonstrates an inherent drawback of plug-in hybrid technology.

Specifically, the hybrid Countryman has two separate powertrains that rarely need to pool their resources. So, in other words, one of them is usually being carried around as redundant luggage.

Mini Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 (2017) Front Side

Driving the front wheels is a 1.5 litre, turbocharged, three-cylinder petrol engine. Its 134 bhp (100 kW / 136 PS) and 220 Nm (162 lb/ft) of peak torque are delivered via a six-speed Steptronic automatic gearbox.

Driving the rear wheels is a synchronous electric motor. Its 87 bhp (65 kW / 88 PS) and 165 Nm (121 lb/ft) are delivered via a two-stage single-speed transmission.

Electricity is supplied by an adjacent 7.6 kWh five-module lithium-ion battery pack that's positioned beneath the slightly raised back seats. A full recharge takes 2 hours 15 minutes using a dedicated 3.6 kW wallbox, or an hour longer if plugged in to an ordinary domestic socket.

Mini Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 (2017) Dashboard

Nevertheless, totals of 221 bhp (165 kW / 224 PS) and 385 Nm (283 lb/ft) have their benefits. A 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time of 6.9 seconds suggests rapid performance, plus efficiency seems impressive as well. The official combined cycle figures are 134.5 mpg (2.1 l/100km) with CO2 emissions of 49 g/km.

An eDrive toggle switch offers a choice of three modes. 'Auto eDrive' allows electric-only driving at speeds of up to 50 mph (80 km/h) and a maximum range of 25 miles (40 kilometres). The internal combustion engine starts up under heavy throttle loads or when the battery is nearing depletion, though.

'Max eDrive' is very similar to 'Auto eDrive', but the permissible top speed gets increased to 78 mph (125 km/h). Alternatively, 'Save Battery' does exactly that by running the petrol engine only.

Mini Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 (2017) Rear Side

The Dynamic Stability Control system can also determine which axles receive power. For example, all-wheel drive could kick in when travelling over rough terrain, provided there's sufficient battery charge remaining.

UK deliveries of the 2017 Countryman are scheduled to begin next February. A price for the plug-in hybrid version isn't known yet.

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Mini introduces eight Seven special editions
Three-cylinder Mini One D Clubman unveiled
Mini launches the first all-wheel drive Clubman

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