Mini Countryman 2017 gets plug-in hybrid option and John Cooper Works Treatment

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Author: | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 09:47

Promising to be the biggest and most versatile Mini to be launched in the brand’s 57-year history, the new Countryman will offer drivers increased space throughout, rugged styling and unparalleled comfort.

Mini Cooper S Countryman

MINI Countryman

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The Countryman’s on- and off-road ability is readily apparent throughout its design, which fuses familiar styling we would expect from Mini, with the en-vogue look of a crossover.

At 20 centimetres longer than its predecessor and three centimetres wider, and with an extended wheelbase of 7.5 centimetres, the new model has extended ground clearance, large wheel arches and short overhangs yet retains the traditional and unmistakable Mini look.

Mini Countryman engine options

At launch, the 2017 Countryman will be available with a choice of four new engines – two petrol-powered variants and two diesels – and with manual and Steptronic gearboxes and front- and all-wheel drive. The latter, Mini’s ALL4 system, has been further refined for increased driving agility and efficiency and is available as an option on all engine variants.

This latest version of the system not only reacts quickly and precisely to changing situations, it is also compact and offers a high level of internal efficiency.

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The system's electronic control is interconnected with the Dynamic Stability Control DSC, so it detects any need to adapt power distribution early on. In this way, ALL4 optimises both traction and stability in adverse weather and road surface conditions, as well as ensuring improved agility when driving through bends in a sporty manner.

The new EU6-compliant TwinPower Turbo engines are familiar from the other recent additions to the Mini family. The petrol engines – a 1.5-litre three-cylinder in the Cooper Countryman and a 2.0-litre four-cylinder in the Cooper S Countryman – both feature turbocharging, direct fuel injection, variable camshaft control on the intake and exhaust side and fully variable valve control technology.

This means statistics of 136 hp and 220 Nm of torque in the Cooper, which enables a 0-62 mph time of 9.6 seconds and fuel consumption and emissions figures of 51.4 mpg and 126 g/km respectively. The Cooper S produces 192 hp with 280 Nm of torque, and completes the sprint to 62mph from rest in just 7.5 seconds, yet still manages 45.6 mpg with 141 g/km of C02 emitted.

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The 2.0-litre diesel engines in the Mini Cooper D Countryman and Mini Cooper SD Countryman both also feature the technology, with high pressure common rail injection.

The 150 hp / 330 Nm engine in the Cooper D enables a very competitive 0-62 mph time of just 8.9 seconds but with 64.2 mpg and 113 g/km of C02 emitted. The high performance Cooper SD Countryman features 190 hp and a full 400 Nm of torque, providing a 0-62mph sprint of just 7.7 seconds but with 61.4 mpg and 121 g/km of C02 emitted.

Practical and powerful: John Cooper Works Edition

If the Cooper SD’s lively 7.7 second 0-62mph sprint just isn’t enough, fear not – a John Cooper Works Edition is also available. Slashing the 0-62 run down to 6.5 seconds, its 231hp makes it the most powerful, practical car Mini has ever built.

The John Cooper Works Edition gets the same ALL4 system that’s available with the rest of the range, as well as a unique sports suspension. These combine to deliver what Mini claims is a race track feeling on the road and extreme driving fun over unsurfaced terrain,"

The John Cooper Works Edition will be the fastest Countryman on offer.

The new Countryman will also be the first Mini ever to offer a plug-in hybrid model. This, the Mini Cooper SE Countryman ALL4, taps into innovations the BMW group have been making in ultra low emission technology to offer drivers a turbocharged petrol engine and an electric motor.

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The lithium-ion battery has a capacity of 7.6 kWh and can be fully charged in three hours 15 minutes when charging at a regular household socket.

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.

Going from 0-62 mph in just 6.9 seconds, fuel consumption and C02 emissions are very low, with 134.5 mpg and 49 g/km respectively, and the Cooper SE Countryman can travel up to 25 miles on electric power alone.

Mini charges ahead with electric announcement

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Increased efficiency options

To keep the hybrid as efficient as possible, the model will come with an eDrive toggle switch, allowing the driver to take control over the interaction of the power units using three operating modes: Auto, Max and Save Battery. In the standard setting the vehicle runs on electrical power only up to a speed of 50 mph. At higher speeds and in the case of very intensive loads, the combustion engine is automatically enabled as well.

In Max eDRIVE mode the vehicle is powered by the electric motor alone at speeds up to approximately 78 mph. 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.

The high-voltage battery is housed underneath the slightly raised rear seat, as is the 35-litre fuel tank. This means that when all seats are in use, the luggage compartment volume in the SE Countryman ALL4 is only slightly less than in the conventionally powered models.

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More space and comfort in the Countryman

On the inside Mini has created more space, an attractive design, and a new operating and vehicle display concept to keep everything up to date.

Both driver and front passenger benefit from extended head and shoulder space, while the adjustment range of the seats has also been extended. Electrical adjustment of the driver and front passenger seats is now an option, including a memory function on the driver's side.

The second row of seating now contains three fully-fledged seats, and the rear door openings have been enlarged, enabling easier entry and exit. In addition to overall interior width, leg space is now significantly more generous too, with an extra five centimetres of knee room over the previous model.

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The luggage compartment volume is 450 litres and can be extended by folding the rear seats to a total of 1,309 litres. This constitutes a maximum increase of 220 litres as compared to the previous generation model.

The luggage area can be accessed via an optional electric tailgate with touch-free opening and closing possible in conjunction with Comfort Access. The optional storage package comprises a variable load floor, lashing eyes and tension straps and also a stainless steel insert on the loading sill. One unique option is the Picnic Bench – a flexible surface that folds out of the luggage compartment and provides seating for two people.

Starting at £22,465, the new Mini Countryman is available to order now, with the first UK deliveries expected in February 2017. Prices for the plug-in hybrid model will be announced in due course, as will lease costs.

The Mini hatch is one of our top five British-built cars you can lease, find out the rest here.

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