MINI is about to enter the hybrid trend with its newest model – the 2017 Mini Countryman E. With the promise of zero emissions even at high speeds, this model sets the beginning of a fresh phase for MINI.
Sebastian Mackensen, Head of MINI brand management, and Peter Wolf, Head of MINI series management, previewed the first test model of the said hybrid car, emphasizing its unique go-kart driving feel and benefits. Mackensen claims that as far as the suspension and chassis are concerned, nothing has changed from other MINI variants.
The all-new Countryman E comes with an all-wheel drive benefit; the combustion engine transmits power to the front wheel, while the rear is spun by the high-voltage electric motor. The operation of both engine is controlled by the intelligent energy management linked to the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), which optimises the traction and stability throughout the drive..
Additionally, the switch from electric to combustion engine depends on the amount of pressure that the driver applies on the gas pedal.
MINI previously stated that the car will have a turbocharged 3-cylinder, 1.5 L BMW TwinPower Turbo engine, which should generate 135 hp with 220 Nm of torque. However, these figures aren’t final yet and we have to wait until the British marque marks its official launch.
As for the electric motor, it’s powered by a high-voltage battery that nests under the rear seats. This provides enough power to take the car on long electric drives. It also offers three modes: the AUTO eDRIVE mode can speed up to 80 km/h, while the MAX eDRIVE takes speed of up to 125 km/h that are well beyond usual city traffic. The SAVE BATTERY mode, on the other hand, optionally fires up the combustion engine, retaining the charge of the high voltage battery at constant level – minimizing the energy consumption in motorway driving.
The eDRIVE components are positioned very low at the rear portion of the car. This lowers its centre of gravity, and at the same time, distributes the weight between the front and rear axles to achieve a better performance.
As for its exterior design, the Countryman E looks almost the same in comparison to the current models if not for its camouflage wrap during the preview. It still features MINI’s signature teardrop headlights, fashionable mesh grille, and the distinct MINI hatchback style. In addition, the charging socket for the battery is discreetly located on the left side just below the A pillar.
Inside, the MINI Countryman E is a reminiscent of the current models, albeit, some notable features were changed. Instead of the traditional red light, the start/stop button located at the centre of the dashboard glows yellow, while the rpm counter found on the steering column has been replaced with a power display. This screen informs the driver about the electric motor’s power reserves before engaging the combustion engine.
The series development process of the hybrid Countryman E is already on its final stages and is expected to be completed before this year ends. Whether or not the hybrid plug-in vehicle will be available locally, your guess is just as good as ours.