The Mini Countryman S E All4 will arrive Down Under by the second quarter of 2019.
The Mini Countryman S E All4 will arrive Down Under by the second quarter of 2019.

Mini confirms first plug-in hybrid for Australia

THIS is the anti-Mini. The British brand was once known for its pint-sized hatches but modern tastes - and safety requirements - have led to Minis expanding in all directions.

The Countryman is the brand's largest model, wedged in with the likes of the Mazda CX-3 and Mitsubishi ASX in the compact SUV size chart.

Mini is revving up its electrified car portfolio.
Mini is revving up its electrified car portfolio.

Now parent company BMW has added another layer of difference to the not-so-mini Mini, a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

Driving the front wheels is a familiar 1.5-litre three-cylinder (100kW/220Nm) and there is a rear-axle mounted electric motor (65kW/160Nm).

A lithium-ion battery gives the five-door a claimed range of 40km and top speed of 125km/h.

Owners can expect to get 80 per cent charge with a standard power outlet in just over three hours while a higher-capacity Mini charger will reduce that time by one hour.

Prices and specifications will be announced closer to the car's arrival in local showrooms within a year.

2019 Mini Countryman plug-in hybrid
2019 Mini Countryman plug-in hybrid

Mini's first plug-in hybrid model paves the way for the arrival of the brand's first fully electric vehicle, which is due to enter production next year.

The brand is fast-tracking electric cars by sharing BMW's already advanced electric vehicle development.

As an urban brand for which range anxiety is not so much of an issue, Mini lends itself to electric propulsion.

Plugged in: Mini’s first plug-in hybrid will arrive in Australia in 2019.
Plugged in: Mini’s first plug-in hybrid will arrive in Australia in 2019.

"The fully electric Mini [is] the logical next step into the future," says Mini design boss Oliver Heilmer.

The British marque has begun teasing the future EV as it pumps up the hype before the car's official debut.

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