MINI Australia has confirmed that the plug-in hybrid Countryman S PHEV will be launched in Australia. Confirmed to Australian media at the launch of the 2018 MINI hatchback and convertible launch, the MINI Countryman S PHEV will launch in Australia in the first half of 2019 with local pricing and specifications due to be confirmed before then.
Using a 100kW turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine shared with variants in the MINI and BMW range, the Countryman S PHEV also features an electric motor that produces 65kW. Producing a combined 165kW of power and 385Nm, the MINI Countryman PHEV uses a claimed 2.1L/100km of fuel, and can travel 42km on electric-only power.
Speaking to local media at the launch of the updated 2018 MINI hatchback and convertible, BMW Group Australia CEO and newly-appointed MINI chief of Russia, Asia Pacific and African markets, Marc Werner, said that the Countryman PHEV has been on the company’s radar for some time.
“We have been looking at the MINI plug Hybrid now for some time, and the feedback that we have from our dealers, and our customers, is really positive.
“And of course you know that, as part of the BMW Group, we are committed to broadening our range of low emissions vehicles, so it makes sense for us to bring the vehicle here, and give our customers the opportunity to choose a more environmentally friendly vehicle.
“As for timing, or final details – we’re not quite there yet. But we can say that we are keen to bring the vehicle in, and we will see it here in the first half of 2019.” said Mr. Werner.
MINI Australia have been studying the Countryman S PHEV for a few years now. Two examples have been in the country for local evaluation and PR purposes, with local BMW staff testing the PHEV extensively before confirmation of its local introduction. Powering the Countryman S PHEV is the same 100kW/220Nm 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine that’s also used in BMW products and the MINI Cooper. It’s matched to a 65kW/165Nm electric motor with a 7.6kWh lithium ion battery pack under the rear seat.
Producing a combined total of 165kW of power and a strong 385Nm of torque, and matched to a six-speed automatic transmission, the Countryman S PHEV should offer good performance. MINI claims a fuel rating of just 2.1L/100km, a 0-100km/h sprint of 6.8 seconds and an all-electric range of up to 42km. Plugging the Countryman S PHEV into a regular wall socket charges the battery in 3.25 hours, though those customers who purchase a 3.6kWh MINI wall box can reduce that to 2.5 hours.
Drivetrain aside, only a handful of changes separate the S PHEV from the regular Countryman, including yellow S badges, the left-hand side plug-in charge door and a yellow plug badge on the bootlid. The S PHEV also offers numerous drive modes, including Auto eDrive mode (purely electric driving up to 80km/h, with the petrol engine engaged for speeds above that), Max eDrive mode (a higher speed threshold for all-electric driving) and Save Battery mode (the petrol engine is used more to save the battery’s charge).
Aside from that, the Countryman S PHEV is stylistically identical – the same colours, wheels and trims from the regular Countryman will be offered on the PHEV.
The MINI Countryman PHEV is due on sale in the second quarter of 2019. Like the plug-in hybrid variants of the BMW 3, 5 and 7 Series, as well as the X5, the Countryman PHEV is expected to be priced at parity with the most expensive non-JCW Countryman, the $53,900 Cooper SD. Werner told local media that the $59,900 JCW would always be the flagship Countryman, leaving the door open to the less expensive S PHEV variant.
Stay tuned to Chasing Cars for our first drive review of the 2018 MINI hatchback and convertible range. Read our regular Countryman range review here.