The first Mini petrol-electric hybrid is looking increasingly likely for an Australian launch next year. The Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 has appeared on the brand’s local website, inviting potential buyers to register their interest.
Mini is also set to import two evaluation cars, with the first customer cars likely to arrive in Q4 of 2018. Mini Australia spokesman Tony Sesto has said “It’s probably not a question of if, but a question of when.”
Powered by a combination of a 3-cylinder petrol engine and a synchronous electric motor which together generate a system output of 165kW, the plug-in Mini Countryman registers a combined fuel economy figure of 2.1L/100km.
That comes with the caveat that plug-in hybrids are extremely good at gaming the EU fuel test, but nevertheless, it should prove a very economical means of attaining that much power and a chunky torque figure of 385Nm.
The all-wheel drive system works by powering the front wheels with the combustion engine and the rears by the electric motor. The car is also able to run solely on electricity, with a range of 40km and a top speed of 125km/h.
Mini claims that the lithium-ion high-voltage battery can be charged at a wallbox in 2hr15m and that the car offers three operating modes, selectable via the eDrive toggle switch, which in turn bring up hybrid-specific displays.
The original Mini was renowned as a technological innovator, and while BMW has embraced hybrid and electric tech, Mini has latterly lagged behind the field in offering alternative power sources to loyal customers. Pricing is likely to be in the region of $56,000, which doesn’t look bad value when the Countryman JCW flagship can generate just 5kW more and is pitched at $56,900.