The wraps have come off the all-new 2017 Mini Countryman lineup that makes its first public appearance at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Like other new-gen Mini offerings, the recast Countryman is now based on modular platform architecture shared with parent company BMW. In addition to bolder looks and a strategic dimensional expansion that boosts its overall practicality, the largest Mini model ever produced bolsters conventional powertrain choices available in the front- or all-wheel drive Cooper and Cooper S versions with a new plug-in hybrid variant: the Cooper S E Countryman ALL4.

Behold the Maxi Mini

Nearly eight inches longer and roughly an inch wider than the model it replaces, the 2017 Countryman also boasts a 2.9-inch wheelbase stretch. As a result, this versatile crossover gains a new sense of presence and proportion. The styling remains undeniably Mini in character but the signature elements all receive evolutionary tweaks, including reshaped headlamps – full LED in Cooper S models – now ringed by daytime running lights, a re-contoured grille, arrow-shaped side scuttles on the front fenders, and more upright rear lamps. The new Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 adds its own mini flourishes, including a yellow “S” on the grille and deck and an “e” badge on the scuttles – with the left-side unit concealing the car’s charge port.

Inside, the Countryman’s growth spurt adds an extra measure of headroom and legroom in all five seats with larger rear door cutouts making it easier to access a more accommodating 40/20/40 sliding/reclining/folding bench in the aft quarters. There’s also 30 percent more total cargo space than before, and the Countryman’s generously proportioned hatch now offers an optional power open/close feature as well as a Picnic Bench fold-out cushion on the loading sill. Even in base Cooper spec, the new cabin design brings more contemporary flair to the mix and has a long roster of standard features including dual-zone climate control, a Panorama sunroof, Sensatec leatherette upholstery, Comfort Access keyless entry, a Mini Connected infotainment system with 6.5-inch high-res display, Bluetooth support for phone and audio streaming, plus a rearview camera and Rear Park Distance Control. As might be expected, the plug-in gets its own distinctive touches to help maximize range and optimize the driving experience. Among the bounty of options, all Countryman variants offer a Technology Package that brings a new navigation system with an 8.8-inch touchscreen complete with a redesigned next-gen interface/operating system plus Qi wireless device charging, as well as loads of personalization touches.

The new power play

Motivation for the Cooper and Cooper S versions of the 2017 Countryman is supplied by the same turbocharged drivetrain pairings found in its other Mini siblings. The former packs a 1.5-liter/3-cylinder that makes 134 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque while the latter carries a 2.0-liter/4-cylinder that turns out 189 horses and 207 lb-ft of peak twist. Either can be teamed with a 6-speed manual transmission or an 8-speed Steptronic sport automatic, as well as the latest and most-efficient version of Mini’s optional ALL4 all-wheel drive system. The eDrive system in the new Mini Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 plug-in teams the same 1.5-liter Cooper engine that drives its front wheels with an 87-horse electric motor/generator that powers the rears while drawing energy from a 7.6 kWh lithium-ion battery positioned ahead of the motor and under the rear seat. Shifted by a conventional 6-speed automatic transmission, the system puts out a collective 221 horses and 284 lb-ft of torque, which gets called into use as needed -- or by having the driver select one of three operating modes.

While it starts out in Auto eDrive, a pure electric mode that allows this first-ever plug-in Mini to travel up to 24 miles at speeds up to 55 mph, the Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 offers a Max eDrive that permits a 78-mph top EV speed but kicks the engine in at higher velocities or demand levels. Finally, the Save Battery mode keeps this green-tinged Mini running on engine power alone to replenish and keep a 90-percent or greater charge level in the pack -- which also can be brought from depleted to full-up in 3 hours and 15 minutes on a 240V dedicated charger. Although slightly heavier than a Cooper S Countryman ALL4, the e-spec Countryman is marginally quicker to 60 mph (6.8 vs 7.0 seconds) and has the same 137-mph top speed. Mini says it also retains same agile handling character abetted by the optional Mini Driving Modes and Dynamic Damper Control features. 

The 2017 Mini Cooper Countryman and Cooper S Countryman will arrive here in March of 2017 with the Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 Plug-in Hybrid set to hit the showrooms in June. Pricing for the 2017 Mini Cooper Countryman will start at $26,900 with Cooper S Countryman set to open at $29,950. Adding ALL4 all-wheel drive will bump both of those base figures by $2,000. Mini will announce pricing for the new Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 plug-in closer to its actual on-sale date.


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