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mini hybrid

The second-generation Countryman – which is scheduled to launch in South Africa in March 2017 – measures a whopping 200 mm longer than its predecessor and is around 30 mm wider too. Its wheelbase, meanwhile, has grown by 75 mm, which translates into an increase in both passenger room and luggage space (the latter a claimed 450 litres, expandable to 1 309 litres).

The BMW-backed brand appears to have endowed the new Countryman with the raised seating position and hiked ride-height so popular with consumers at the moment, while also making sure to retain the option of all-wheel drive.

Mini says familiar engine options will be available at launch. The Mini Cooper Countryman, for instance, employs the brand’s 1,5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, worth 100 kW and 220 N.m. The Cooper S variant uses the 2,0-litre four-pot, with 141 kW and 280 N.m.

But the range will also include the first-ever production Mini with plug-in hybrid powertrain. The Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 (pictured below) uses the same turbo triple as the Cooper, but adds a 65 kW synchronous electric motor on the rear axle, taking total system output to 165 kW and 385 N.m.

The Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 has an electric-only top speed of 125 km/h and a claimed electric range of 40 km. This hybrid’s claimed fuel consumption, meanwhile, comes in at 2,1 L/100 km.

As an alternative to the standard six-speed manual transmission, a six-speed Steptronic transmission (standard on the hybrid) will be offered for the Cooper derivative, while an eight-speed Steptronic gearbox will be available for the Cooper S Countryman.

Inside, the central instrument display features a touchscreen function for the first time. And one interesting option is something Mini calls the Picnic Bench, a flexible cushioned surface that folds out of the luggage compartment and provides seating for two people.

Mini has decided to give its Clubman the John Cooper Works treatment, and the result is a 170 kW, all-wheel-drive pseudo-wagon.

And it’s scheduled to arrive in South Africa in the second quarter of 2017.

This is the first time Mini has combined its 2,0-litre, JCW-fettled turbo-petrol mill with the latest generation of the brand’s ALL4 all-wheel drive system. The four-cylinder engine’s peak outputs stand at 170 kW (29 kW up on the Clubman Cooper S) and 350 N.m.

A six-speed manual transmission comes standard, with an eight-speed Steptronic sports transmission optionally available. Regardless of which gearbox is fitted, though, the obligatory sprint from zero to 100 km/h takes a claimed 6,3 seconds and top speed is pegged at 238 km/h.

Standard features include a sports exhaust system, Brembo brakes, 18-inch JCW light alloy wheels and Mini’s Dynamic Stability Control system (with an electronic differential lock control function, too).

mini clubman jcw 1

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