In the 225xe, the combustion engine delivers 134bhp and 162lb ft, with the electric motor providing an additional 87bhp and 122lb ft. Together, they provide the BMW with a combined system output of 221bhp and 284lb ft of torque. While Mini is yet to reveal the official power and torque figures for the Countryman Hybrid, engineering sources at parent company BMW suggest they will not vary too much from those of the 225xe.
As with the 225xe, Mini has engineered the Countryman hybrid to provide pure electric drive for distances of over 25 miles. By combining a front mounted petrol engine and rear mounted electric motor, it offers four-wheel drive in hybrid mode and rear-wheel drive in pure electric mode.
Drive is channeled through a standard six-speed automatic gearbox.
The hybrid system provides three driving modes: Auto eDrive, Max eDrive and Save Battery. Making most of the strong torque qualities and silent operation of the electric motor, the Countryman hybrid is programmed to start in electric mode provided there is sufficient electric charge within its battery.
Talking up the dynamic qualities of its first hybrid model, Mini suggests the Countryman Hybrid is not solely focused on efficiency, but driving fun. “With this model we want to convince Mini customers of the benefits of hybrid drive,” says Peter Wolf, head of Mini brand management. “As far as the chassis and suspension are concerned, nothing changes from the conventionally driven variant [of the new Countryman].”
In the 1735kg 225xe, the petrol electric driveline provides 0-62mph acceleration in 6.7sec – some 0.8sec inside the official time quoted for the outgoing first-generation Countryman Cooper S, whose turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine develops 187bhp and 177lb ft of torque.
Mini confirms the lithium ion battery used by the Countryman Hybrid presides underneath the rear seat in a position that hints the standard fuel tank for the combustion engine will make for a smaller reservoir on the production version of the new SUV. The 7.6kWh battery is programmed to provide full electric drive up to 50mph in Auto eDrive mode and up to 78mph in Max eDrive mode.
Commenting on the decision to allow pure electric drive capability beyond speeds of rival hybrids, MacKensen says: “In a hybrid Mini, driving electrically must also be an exhilarating experience. This means that entirely electric driving is not limited to speeds of 30 or 40km/h (19 or 25mph), but to speeds well beyond city traffic pace.”
The charging socket for the battery is located within the rear of the left-hand side front fender. No official details relating to the charging time have been reveal, although BMW quotes 3 hour 15 minutes on standard mains and 2 hours 15 min in combination with a high power wall box for the 225xe.
The Countryman Hybrid is not the first Mini model to possess full electric propulsion capability. That distinction goes to the Mini E - a limited volume pure electric model based around the second-generation of the modern day Cooper hatchback first offered to private customers for short term lease in 2009.