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.
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.