The first hybrid MINI is now available, with the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4. The new model starts with a 1.5 litre, 136hp MINI TwinPower Turbo 3-cylinder petrol engine. And then adds a synchronous 88hp electric motor, which is located under the floor of the luggage compartment and feets into the rear axle.
The stats of the two power plants highlight one advantage of electricity. While the 136hp petrol unit makes 220 Newton metres of torque from 1,250rpm, the 88hp electric power achieves 165 Newton metres directly from a standing start!
That’s in addition to being able to make short journeys entirely on electric rear-wheel drive. Or using both power sources together for 224hp. Which means 0-100km/h in 6.8 seconds.
If you do want to save the planet, the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 can manage 42 kilometres on a charge, which is 26 miles. Not the biggest range, but many of us commute that type of distance every day. And you don’t have to do it all at a crawl, with a top speed of 125km/h ( 77mph), on electric power.
MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 Battery Details:
So you know you have 26 miles to play with. But usefully, the lithium-ion battery under the rear seat has a capacity of 7.6 kWh, and will charge in 2.5 hours from a 3.6kW wallbox, or 3.15 hours from a normal household plug socket.
Which means your morning commute can be 20+ miles, as long as you can plug in at work. And the connection for the charging cable is under a flap on the left-hand site scuttle.
So park up near a plug socket and you’re sorted.
MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 Modes:
So you use one of the two power units to get moving. And the other can be added at any time to optimise traction, ride stability and agility. This comes from the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) unit, which means you have an intelligent all-wheel drive system, similar to that in the BMW i8. It’s just reversed to have petrol FWD, and electric RWD.
You choose 3 modes by flipping the eDrive toggle switch:
- Auto eDrive: Electric only up to 80km/h, adding the combustion engine at higher speeds, when accelerating quickly of if charge falls below 7%
- Max eDrive: All electric until 125km/h, then adding the combustion engine at higher speeds or on kickdown.
- Save Battery: Petrol power, with the charge start kept above 90% or raised to that level by the starter generator.
But it’s even cleverer than that. If you have a BMW MINI navigation system and the route guidance is on, the management system will work out which sections of your drive should be run on electric power, getting the maximum from your battery.
The result of all this is an average fuel consumption of 2.3-2.1 litres per 100 kilometres, and CO2 emissions of 52-49 grams per kilometres (EU test cycle figures for plug-in hybrid vehciles).
A Practical Choice?
So the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 is pretty quick, rather clever and very economical. It’s also practical, as although there is a battery and a 36 litre fuel tank under the slightly raised seat, the luggage space is only slightly less than the purely fossil-fuelled versions. And the rear backrests offer a 40:20:40 split, and can be folded down and tilted.
“The entire hybrid technology is installed in such a way that you don’t notice it inside the car at all,” says Uwe Seitz, MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 project manager, “with the exception of the controls used to activate the various driving modes.”
And from the outside there are few clues beyond the model-specific “e” badge on the side scuttles and a yellow “S” in the model inscription on the rear, the radiator grille and door sills.
So basically, it’s a typical MINI. But with the option to save petrol costs and the planet on short journeys. Or a bit more power to mess around with if you’re more interested and having fun.