On Los Angeles motorshow, Mini officially introduced the largest and most versatile model in the brand's 57-year history, the new Mini Countryman, which is also the first Mini model equipped with a plug-in hybrid powertrain. 

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The new Countryman is 20 centimeters longer and 3 centimeters wider than its predecessor, while its wheelbase has been extended by 7.5 centimetres, meaning the cabin has a lot more space to offer for the passengers as well as their luggage.

Both driver and front passenger can enjoy the extended head and shoulder space, and the passengers at the back have three identical, fully-fledged seats available. With the larger opening there is now easier to access the back row seats and leg space is now significantly more generous too, with an extra five centimetres of knee room. The rear seats can be shifted back and forth by up to 13 cm, making the luggage compartment even more practical with its volume between 450 and 1,309 litres. The luggage area can be accessed via an optional electric tailgate with touch-free opening and closing, and there is another quite unique option available –namely, the Picnic Bench, which is a flexible, folding surface that provides seating for two people.

The new Countryman has been completely redesigned. Despite that, it still kept all the familiar main designer characteristics of its predecessor, such as 'floating roof', large headlamps and hexagonal radiator grille. The interior ambience also remains the same, but it allows owners to personalise their new Countryman with extensive colour and trim options, advanced technology features and a range of option packs, including a new 8.8" inch touchscreen display as part of the MINI Navigation System XL.

Under the hood there is the first ever plug-in hybrid powertrain in a Mini (and it's basically the same powertrain as in BMW 225xe). MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 is equipped with a combination of a 3-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol engine with 100 kW/136 hp output on the front axis and a synchronous electric motor with an 65 kW/88 hp output on the rear axis. System output totals at 165 kW/224 hp, while – as per NEDC – combined fuel consumption comes to 7.0 – 2.1 l/100 km, with combined CO2 emissions of 159 – 49 g/km.

In fully electric mode, the car has an estiamted range of up to 40 kilometers (NEDC), reaching top speeds at 125 kph in electric mode. The high-voltage battery has a capacity of 7.6 kWh. At a wallbox with a charging capacity of 3.6 kW it can be fully charged in 2:15 hours, while charging at a regular household socket takes a little longer, about 3:15 hours.

There are three operating modes to schoose from: Auto, Max and Save Battery. In the standard setting AUTO eDRIVE, the vehicle runs on electrical power only up to a speed of 80 kph and in MAX eDRIVE mode up to 125 kph. The SAVE BATTERY mode during the low energy consumtion driving uses the petrol engine's power to charge the battery.

KThe new MINI Countryman line-up come with a new range of engines sourced from the latest MINI TwinPower Turbo generation. Their power output ranges between 136 – 192 hp. Countryman is also available with both manual and Steptronic gearboxes and with front- and MINI's ALL4 system drive.

Nov. 23, 2016 Driving photo: Mini

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