BMW Group has unveiled a spanking new MINI Countryman model which, not surprisingly, got a bump in size – making it the largest MINI yet. Also introduced was an electrified Countryman, a plug-in hybrid model MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4, the marque’s first electric drive since like when? 2010? Whatever is the case, the SE is still officially the British marque’s first plug-in hybrid. Anywho, the plug-in hybrid model is a welcome addition for those who love upsized MINI with a lower carbon footprint. Speaking of upsized, the 2017 MINI Countryman is a good 20 centimeters (7 7/8 inches) longer and 3 centimeters (13/16) wider than the outgoing model.
The stretched and wider body is complemented by a 7.5 cm (215/16) increase in wheelbase which translates to a more spacious five-seater with improved seat comfort, legroom, as well as cargo space. Looks-wise, the new Countryman appears to sport a more polished design and has a somewhat ‘flatter’ front end which consummates with horizontally elongated headlamps. The look is cool, no doubt but we shan’t dig further as we can all see for ourselves what a beauty it is. So, lets not get too long-winded and jump straight into the power plant.
The plug-in gets a 1.5L 3-pot turbocharged petrol unit paired to an 87-hp electric motor with a 7.6 kWh lithium-ion battery to achieve a combined output of 224 horses and 385 Nm (284 lb-ft) of torque that readily gets the not-so-mini MINI from naught to 100 km/h (62 mph) in a decent 6.9 seconds.An eDrive toggle switch lets you choose between three drive modes: Auto eDrive, Max eDrive, and Save Battery.
With the exception of the obvious Save Battery, which does exactly what it says, all the other two modes leverages on pure electric drive, differing mainly on the internal combustion (IC) engine kick-in speeds. In addition to speed-triggered IC kick in, Auto eDrive will also engage IC when battery level falls below 7 percent. If you prefer full electric drive and not have the IC intervene (at least not at ’low speed’ like say 80 km/h), then Max eDrive is the option, but that’s limited to a top speed of 125 km/h which you can go on for around 40 km before the battery needs to be recharged. On market launch, the ‘regular’ Countryman will be available with 4 engine options:
MINI Cooper Countryman:
1.5L 3-cylinder petrol engine, 136 hp with 220 Nm (162 lb-ft) of torque.
MINI Cooper S Countryman:
2.0L 4-cylinder petrol engine, 192 hp with 280 Nm (207 lb-ft) of torque.
MINI Cooper D Countryman:
2.0L 4-cylinder diesel engine, 150 hp with 330 Nm (243 lb-ft) of torque.
MINI Cooper SD Countryman:
2.0L 4-cylinder diesel engine, 190 hp with 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) of torque.
A few other notables about the second-generation Countryman includes electrical tailgate control in addition to touch-less opening and closing, fold-out load loading sill cushion AKA MINI Picnic Bench, all-new engines and gearboxes, efficiency-optimized all-wheel drive system, central instrument with touchscreen function, and MINI Country Timer that measures driving fun over demanding terrain.
The 2017 MINI Countryman is poised to debut in North America at the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 18, 2016 prior to its market launch in March 2017 – a month after European market. As for the price, we don’t have anything with regards to Stateside, but prices in UK start at £22,465 and can run up to as high as £29,565 for the range-topping model, i.e. SD Countryman All4.
Images courtesy of BMW Group.