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2018 MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 - Driven

2018 MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 - Driven

Plug-in cars are the future, and the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 seeks to prove they can be both practical and fun to drive.

And we’re not talking fun to drive in the “let’s see how far I can go on a tank of fuel” sense. We’re talking in the traditional, pedal-to-the-metal sense.

In a lot of ways, the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 succeeds in its mission. In one important way, however, I felt like it needed a little work.

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2017 Mini Cooper S E Countryman ALL4

2017 Mini Cooper S E Countryman ALL4

Bigger and packing extra batteries

Mini first released the Countryman compact five-door crossover in 2010, following it up with a facelift in 2014. Despite vehement opposition from critics and purists who lampooned the model for being too big and too wooly to carry the Mini nameplate, the Countryman ended up being the British brand’s second most popular model, following the Hardtop. Now, there’s a new, second generation, and once again, it’s grown considerably. In fact, the new Countryman is the largest Mini ever produced, but that’s to be expected at this point. The real surprise is the announcement of a new plug-in hybrid variant, which adds electrified motivation to the tried-and-true formula of compact versatility and a fun-loving attitude.

It’s called the Mini Cooper S E Countryman All4, and it’s the first electrified Mini we’ve seen since the Mini E hit the scene in 2008. By contrast, the E was all-electric, helping to guide development of BMW’s i3 all-electric hatchback. The E Countryman is a hybrid, which means it’s still burning dino juice, but at a more efficient rate thanks to a little battery assistance.

Mini frames the E Countryman as “the perfect vehicle for urban target groups who wish to enjoy the benefits of purely electric mobility when commuting between home and work every day, for example, while at the same time benefitting from unlimited long-distance suitability at the weekend.”

The new plug-in sits at the top of the Countryman totem pole as the most efficient, most powerful, quickest, and presumably most expensive model in the line-up. All qualms over sizing aside, does the E Countryman have what it takes to keep rolling in the age of green motoring?

Continue reading to learn more about the Mini Cooper S E Countryman ALL4.

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2016 Mini Countryman Plug-In Hybrid

2016 Mini Countryman Plug-In Hybrid

It seems the 2016 Clubman and 2016 Countryman aren’t the only brand-new vehicles Mini is working on. Word from our spy photographers has it the British marque is also testing its first plug-in hybrid automobile. Naturally, Mini hasn’t designed a brand-new vehicle altogether, but it will implement the technology across its entire lineup over the next few years. In the meantime, the Countryman will be the only mini to feature hybrid technology and the photos we just received from out paparazzi provide us with our first look at the thriftier Mini.

Much like most test vehicles spotted, the hybrid Countryman comes wrapped in heavy camouflage, so there’s really nothing new to see as far as exterior styling goes. In fact, we have only the "Hybrid Test Vehicle" sticker on the rear bumper as a hint that this Countryman also employs an electric motor under its skin. Actual details are still unknown as Mini has yet to confirm it will offer a hybrid, but the news of a plug-in Countryman is far from shocking with a plug-in version of the 2015 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer underway. Since the two vehicles make use of the same UKL platform, it was only a matter of time before Mini began exploring hybridization.

That time has apparently come, and judging by the way things usually roll at Mini, the Countryman Plug-In Hybrid is set to arrive right after the next-generation crossover debuts sometime in 2016.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Mini Countryman Plug-In Hybrid.

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PSA Tie-In With GM will Likely End Part of its Relationship With BMW

The web tying varying automakers to one another is a very complex, yet delicate thing. One strand heading the wrong direction can cause an automaker to break off another connection, and we see it every day. One prime example was when AMG hacked off its advertising ties with Ducati just because Audi bought the company. Really, what do motorcycles have to do with your competing with Audi in the automobile realm?

Well, we have another bit of info to pass on in regards to one partnership killing another. Recently PSA, the parent company of Peugeot and Citroen, increased its stake in a partnership with GM affiliate, Opel, to develop four vehicle platforms together. This leads BMW to believe that PSA will not have the ability to fulfill its partnership duties in reference to BMW’s developing Hybrid platform.

A BMW spokesperson said “We are discussing conditions for the exit of PSA but we will not make any payments,” in an interview with Reuters. In addition, PSA has accepted the fact that this new relationship with GM will force it to “change the conditions” in its partnership with BMW. This likely means that BMW will buy-out PSAs share of the investment in the project and take development into its own hands.

This will not, however, affect the other relationships that BMW and PSA have going on. The largest of these relationships is the partnership between the two to build the MINI Cooper’s engine.

We’ll keep an eye on what’s going on with this development and let you know if anything else pops up. For now, this seems like a pretty open-and-shut case.

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