The Mini Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 has become the first Mini-branded vehicle available with a plug-in hybrid system, which the company states helps it ‘achieve outstanding performance with extremely low consumption and emissions’. BMW states that the new car draws on the expertise in this area from across the group, including the range of BMW iPerformance vehicles.
Powered by a three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with ‘TwinPower technology’, the car produces 136hp and 220Nm of torque, which in turn powers the front wheels. This engine is combined with a six-speed Steptronic transmission. The rear wheels are powered by a synchronous electric motor housed under the floor of the luggage compartment. This motor offers an additional 88hp and 165Nm of torque, with all of the torque available from zero rpm. The motor’s output is sent to the rear axle via a two-stage single-speed transmission.
The lithium-ion battery is positioned directly in front of the electric motor underneath the rear seat. It is made up of five modules, each comprising 16 battery cells. Like the electric motor, the battery is produced at the Dingolfing plant, the BMW Group’s competence centre for eDrive technology. The high-voltage battery has a capacity of 7.6kWh. At a wallbox with a charging capacity of 3.6kW it can be fully charged in 2:15 hours, while charging at a regular household socket takes 3:15 hours. The intelligent energy management system, controlled by the power electronics of the plug-in hybrid system, ensures that the interplay between the combustion engine and the electric motor is optimised for both driving fun and efficiency in all situations. Using the power of the electric motor alone, the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 is able to provide locally emissions-free driving, and in the event that more intense acceleration is required, the electric motor supports the combustion engine via a boost function. A total system output of 224hp and a combined torque of 385Nm are available, enabling 0-62 mph in just 6.9 seconds. Fuel consumption and C02 emissions are very low, with 134.5mpg and 49g/km respectively, and the Cooper S E Countryman can travel up to 25-miles on electric power alone.
Via the eDrive toggle switch, the driver can also influence control over the interaction of the power units. There are three operating modes: Auto, Max and Save Battery. In the standard setting Auto eDRIVE, the vehicle runs on electrical power only up to a speed of 50mph. At higher speeds and in the case of very intensive loads, the combustion engine is automatically enabled in addition. In ‘max’ eDRIVE mode the vehicle is powered by the electric motor alone at speeds up to approximately 78mph. Finally, the ‘save battery’ mode can be selected so as to relieve the capacity of the high-voltage battery or raise its charge state to at least 90 per cent so that sufficient electrical power remains for locally emissions-free driving later on.
With route guidance activated on standard specification navigation system, MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 uses an anticipatory energy management system to ensures that appropriate sections of the route are run on electric power alone.
The high-voltage battery is housed underneath the slightly raised rear seat, as is the 35-litre fuel tank. When all seats are in use, the luggage compartment volume in the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 is only slightly less than in the conventionally powered models. The connection for the charging cable is under a flap in the area of the left-hand side scuttle.
The model is distinguishable by the model-specific “e” badge on the side scuttles, and also a yellow “S” in the model inscription on the rear as well as on the radiator grille and doorsill finishers. At the rear, a JCW aerodynamic rear bumper features a single exhaust outlet. Inside, the cockpit includes a yellow start/stop unit at the centre of the toggle switch panel and a performance display in the instrument cluster on the steering column.
The MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 comes as standard with the MINI Visual Boost Radio featuring a 6.5-inch colour screen in the central instrument. In addition to the MINI Country Timer, this also displays information such as the charge state of the high-voltage battery and operating mode of the hybrid drive selected by eDrive toggle switch. In conjunction with the optional Media package including MINI navigation system XL, operation is via an 8.8-inch screen with a new graphic design and touchscreen function as well as via the Touch Controller in the centre console.