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New MINI Countryman launches with first every hybrid

MINI has revealed the biggest and most versatile model in the brand’s 57-year history - with the new Countryman.

The new Countryman range also launches the first ever MINI plug-in hybrid drive - in the guise of the Cooper S E Countryman ALL4. The hybrid model's power comes from a 136 hp petrol engine together with an electric motor producing 65 kW/88 hp for a total system output of 165 kW/224 hp and 385 Nm of torque. It has a range of up to 25 miles on electrical power alone.

The new Countryman is 20 centimetres longer than its predecessor and features an ‘expressive design, with efficiently shaped bodywork’. With an extended wheelbase (7.5 cm) there is increased space on the five fully-fledged seats as well as a increase in storage volume and luggage transport versatility. Boot space of 450 litres can be extended to a total of 1,309 litres - a maximum increase of 220 litres compared to the outgoing model.

Defined by an extended ground clearance and raised seating position, this further emphasised by the MINI ALL4 exterior look and high roof rails. Model-specific design elements include a helmet roof, upright rear lights, a hexagonal radiator grille and large headlamps which have undergone an ‘evolutionary development’ says MINI. Daytime driving lights are standard for the first time.

An electric tailgate control is available as an option as is an optional storage package which includes a variable load floor, lashing eyes and tension straps as well as a stainless steel insert on the loading sill. One unique option is a Picnic Bench – a flexible surface that folds out of the luggage compartment and provides seating for two people.

For market launch there are two petrol and two diesel engines on offer, each with MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology. The Cooper Countryman is powered by a 136hp, 3-cylinder petrol engine and the Cooper S Countryman a 4-cylinder, 192 hp petrol unit, while the Cooper D Countryman is powered by either a 150 hp 4-cylinder or a 190 hp version. As an alternative to the standard 6-speed manual transmission, a 6-speed Steptronic transmission is also available, as is an 8-speed Steptronic transmission on the Cooper S Countryman and the Cooper D Countryman.

Performance highlights include a 0-62mph time of 7.2 seconds for the MINI Cooper S Countryman ALL4 with 8-speed Steptronic, while the new MINI Cooper D Countryman returns as low as 54.7 mpg with CO2 emissions of 113g/km. Naturally, the figures for the new plug-in hybrid drive are even lower, which offers 112 mpg with a CO2 emissions figure of 49g/km.

The Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 enables purely electric driving up to a top speed of 78mph. The spontaneous and ‘long-lasting’ power delivery of the electric motor provides an entirely new perspective on the hallmark ‘go-kart’ feeling, says MINI. The electric motor sends its power via a single-speed transmission to the rear axle while the petrol engine is mated to a 6-speed Steptronic transmission, driving the front wheels.

16-inch light alloy wheels come as standard on the new Cooper Countryman and the new Cooper D Countryman, while the other model variants are fitted with 17-inch light alloy wheels. The program of optional extras includes other light alloy wheels in sizes of up to 19 inches.

a standard fit ‘Radio MINI Boost’ has a four-line display in the central instrument and a Bluetooth hands-free telephone facility. A Wired package, including MINI navigation system Professional comprise a Touch Controller on the centre console as well as an 8.8-inch colour screen in the central instrument with a new graphic design. It is also a touchscreen, allowing functions to be selected and adjusted at the tip of the finger.

The new MINI Countryman sees its world premiere at the Los Angeles Auto Show on 18 November 2016. Market launch for Europe follows in February 2017.