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mini electrifies the countryman to go along with its electrifying driving

Mini electrifies the Countryman to go along with its electrifying driving

Electric under the hood and an electrifying drive to boot

Dinesh Appavu Photo

Dinesh Appavu

5 Apr 2018

Mini Malaysia, the most-sophisticated compact premium automotive brand in the country (self-proclaimed, as per its press release), has finally given its Malaysian portfolio some electric propulsion to complement the electrifying go-kart like handling that have become a hallmark of its models.

The Mini Countryman Plug-In Hybrid is not only the first of its kind under the Mini umbrella but is also the first new Countryman to be assembled outside the UK and uses a layout similar to Volvo’s T8 Twin Engine setup with a petrol engine driving the front wheels and an electric motor propelling the rear.

Up front, the familiar 1.5-litre inline-three with a turbo plonked on spins the front wheels while an electric motor in the rear justifies the All4 reference, Mini’s endearing term for its four-wheel driven models.

The petrol engine delivers 134hp and 220Nm of torque that together with the 87hp, 165Nm electric motor equates to a combined 224hp and 385Nm of torque; making it the torquiest Mini here. Yes, even more than the tiny terrors of the John Cooper Works range.

With a six-speed automatic providing the ratios, it’ll hit the century mark in 6.8-seconds and a top speed of 198kph. The 7.6kWh lithium ion battery can provide up to 42km of pure electric range at speeds up to 120kph.

It’s interesting to note that electric motor is supplied by GKN Driveline that also worked on the i8 hybrid supercar and work with partners such as Mitsubishi for the Outlander PHEV and Volvo for its hybrid range of vehicles.

Driving modes in the Countryman plug-in takes into account the electric motor and introduces the eDrive button that allows the driver to select from three modes; Auto eDrive mode, Max eDrive mode and Save Battery mode.

Given how difficult it is to decipher what the names of each mode corresponds to, we’ll break it down for you.

Auto eDrive is basically the default mode you’ll find yourself in more of the time as the system coordinates the interaction of all drive components with the electric motor to combine the best possible efficiency while increasing the electric range.

For example, if the battery charging status is between 100 per cent and 7 per cent, drivers can drive up to 80kph. At higher speeds, the petrol engine kicks in automatically and for that added oomph, the electric motor joins the fray at the top end for eBoost; similar to a boost scramble.

Max eDrive allows drivers to enjoy purely electric driving up to speeds of 120kph while Save Battery wouldn’t take a genius to figure out that the system enables the battery to be charged by the petrol engine or allows the charging status to be maintained at 90 per cent while the petrol engine does all the hauling.

From the outside, the easiest way to tell the plug-in hybrid Countryman from the anti-environment version is via the distinct model-specific “e” badge on the side scuttles and yellow “S” in the model inscription on the boot as well as on the radiator grille and door sills.

Being four-wheel drive, the Countryman plug-in gets the All4 exterior body kit an 19-inch wheels as well as a charging port under a flap on the front left fender.

Charging the Countryman plug-in can be done at home by connecting it to a power socket for approximately five hours (230V); depending on the voltage of the household power grid. Alternatively, it will be just 3:15 hours with one of the 270 public charging facilities across Malaysia.

Mini Malaysia will also be throw in a complementary ChargeNow Mini Public Charging Cables as well as a 1-Year free subscription of unlimited charging at all 270 ChargeEV stations

Inside, Yours Walknappa Leather Steering Wheel joins a touchscreen 6.5-inch display with pinch-to-zoom that houses all the audio, vehicle and navigation information. The body and roof colour combination offered are Chili Red, British Racing Green, Thunder Grey, Light White, and Melting Silver with a Black Roof; and in Island Blue with the White Roof.

For the sum of RM255,888 (OTR w/o insurance), you’ll get to save the planet a little with the Countryman Plug-In Hybrid and enjoy Mini’s 5 Years Roadside Assistance programme, that includes 24-Hour, 365-days-a-year Accident and Help on the Phone and On the Spot Hotline, Free Towing Services and when needed (over 200KM from residential home), Replacement Vehicle, Seamless Mobility, Accommodation, Mobility Services Solutions as well as Repatriation services. The battery includes a six-year/100,000km warranty.