MINI has officially unveiled the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4, the brand’s first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, as one of the three variants of the new MINI Countryman. (Earlier post.) All three of the new MINI Countryman variants will make their World Premiere at the Los Angeles International Auto Show at a press conference on 16 November.
Propulsion is shared between a 134 hp (100 kW) 3-cylinder gasoline engine and a 65 kW synchronous electric motor. Together they produce a system output of 221 hp (165 kW) with system torque of 385 N·m (284 lb-ft). Average fuel consumption on the EU test cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles is 112 mpg US, with CO2 emissions of 49 grams per kilometer; 0–62 mph time is 6.9 seconds.
MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 combines the space and practicality of the largest model in the MINI range with the sustainability of BMW Group eDrive technology and an electrified all-wheel drive system. The front wheels are powered by the combustion engine; the rear wheels by the electric motor. MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 is able to run on electricity alone not just in urban traffic, but also at a top speed of 78 mph (126 km/h) and with a range of up to 25 miles (40 km).
The plug-in hybrid concept perfectly matches the new MINI Countryman because it offers intelligent all-wheel drive as well as being able to run on electricity alone both in urban areas and over longer distances, too. This is unique in the segment.—Uwe Seitz, MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 project manager
The 1.5-liter 3-cylinder gasoline engine with MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology is a member of the latest generation of the BMW Group engines. The maximum torque of the engine is 220 N·m (162 lb-ft), which goes on stream at 1,250 rpm. In the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4, the combustion engine is combined with a modified 6-speed Steptronic transmission which transfers its power to the front wheels.
The electric motor is housed under the luggage compartment floor. Designed according to the principle of a hybrid synchronous motor, the electric drive generates a maximum torque of 165 N·m (122 lb-ft) that is characteristically available directly from standing. In addition, it provides constant power delivery even in high engine speed ranges as well as a very high level of efficiency. The electric motor directs its power 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, and like the electric motor it is produced at the Dingolfing plant, the BMW Group’s competence centre for eDrive technology. The high-voltage battery has a capacity of 7.6 kWh. Charging at a 240-volt socket takes 3 hours and 15 minutes.
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 optimized for both driving fun and efficiency in all situations.
Two power units, four drive wheels. Only one of the two power units is used when the car is moving, while the other one can be additionally enabled at any time to optimize traction, ride stability and agility. The signal required for this purpose comes from the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) unit, which permanently analyses both the situation on the road and the driver’s wishes.
The precisely controlled interaction achieved in the powering of the front wheels by the combustion engine and the rear wheels by the electric motor is the same as the principle that is applied in the BMW i8, only the other way around.
The driver can also use the eDrive toggle switch to choose between three operating modes:
AUTO eDRIVE. Purely electric driving up to 55 mph , the combustion engine is additionally enabled at higher speeds, in particular when accelerating quickly or when the battery charge falls below seven per cent.
MAX eDRIVE. Purely electric driving up to 78 mph , the combustion engine is additionally enabled at higher speeds or on kickdown.
SAVE BATTERY. The car is powered by the combustion engine, the battery charge state is kept above 90 percent or raised to this level by the starter generator.
If the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 is fitted with a navigation system and route guidance is activated, the anticipatory energy management system ensures that appropriate sections of the route are run on electric power alone. Taking into account the navigation data, the operating strategy of the hybrid system is geared towards drawing on the energy capacity of the high-voltage battery to maximum extent.
Hybrid-specific design features and displays. Model-specific design features on the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 exterior include the charging flap in the area of the left-hand side scuttle. Other features are 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 door sill finishers.
The special features of the cockpit include 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 Connected infotainment system featuring a 6.5-inch color screen in the central instrument.
This 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 Technology Package Wired package including satellite navigation, operation is via a high-resolution 8.8-inch touchscreen with a new user interface and operating system.