Like the related BMW 225xe Active Tourer plug-in hybrid, the Countryman Cooper S E All4 differs from most of its direct plug-in rivals by having an electric rear axle.
A Golf GTE sandwiches its electric drive motor immediately between its internal combustion engine and transmission, driving exclusively through the front wheels, and the Prius Plug-in does something not too dissimilar.
The Mini, though, adds a rear-mounted 87bhp, 122lb ft electric motor and a nearby 7.6kWh lithium ion drive battery to the mechanical make-up of a front-driven, automatic-equipped 1.5-litre Countryman Cooper.
The hybrid motor and transmission in question are supplied by GKN Driveline, with whom BMW worked with for the i8 hybrid supercar, and with whom Mitsubishi partners for the Outlander PHEV and Volvo for the V60, XC60 and XC90 PHEVs (all of those Volvos have separate electric rear eAxles, too).
The technical solution gives this Mini four-wheel drive and because the electric motor drives the rear wheels through a single transmission ratio, you can simply add up the electric oomph supplied by that synchronous motor and the 134bhp and 162lb ft of the combustion engine to arrive at the total system outputs of the car: 221bhp and 284lb ft.