MINI Countryman PHEV SUV Likely Coming

The next generation of the MINI Countryman SUV/CUV will likely be offered as a plug-in hybrid, as well as a gas-powered version, according to recent reports.

The global communications boss for MINI, Andreas-Christoph Hoffman, confirmed the rumors (to a degree) in an interview with the Australian car website Drive, following the recent press launch of the 2016 MINI Convertible.

MINI Countryman

The Countryman itself wasn’t mentioned, but rather Hoffman commented that the plug-in hybrid powertrain — lifted from the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, which will likely share a platform — would be used in “any of the models we have launched so far.”

Hoffman did note, though, that the Countryman could benefit notably from the inclusion of a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain — owing to the inherently less fuel-efficient nature of crossovers.

Green Car Reports provides more:

That powertrain will most likely come from the BMW 225xe Active Tourer multi-purpose vehicle (or “mini minivan”) that debuted at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show last fall. Not to be confused with the rear-wheel drive 2 Series coupe and convertible sold in the US, the 225xe and other 2 Series Active Tourer models use the same front-wheel drive UKL platform that will underpin the next Countryman.

The 225xe uses a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine — the same one used in current MINI models — and six-speed automatic transmission to power its front wheels. An electric motor powers the rear wheels, giving the 225xe a “through the road” all-wheel drive system. The 225xe has a combined output of 221 horsepower, and an electric-only range of 25 miles — at least, as measured on the notoriously optimistic European testing cycle. Power output could remain the same in the Countryman, but that future crossover may weigh more and have a less aerodynamic body, which could affect efficiency.

The next-gen MINI Countryman is currently expected to be debuted later this year at the 2016 Paris Motor Show. Gas-powered versions of the next-gen offering are expected to go on sale in 2017. The PHEV would presumably follow sometime afterward.

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