• Mar 28th 2011 at 2:26PM
  • 14
AWD Mini Cooper Hybrid Spy Shots – Click above for high-res image gallery

Once you've put an all-electric drivetrain into a Mini Cooper, is it that hard to hybridize one? Well, yes, especially since BMW's limited testing program was intended to give the company information about a plug-in architecture. But our spy photographers have discovered what's believed to be the first Mini Cooper prototype fitted with a hybrid drivetrain.

The body certainly looks the same, but – as you can see in our high-resolution galleryBMW has affixed a sticker in the window that clearly says "hybrid test vehicle." We don't know many details about the powertrain sitting under the bright red paint, but sources indicate that this is a through-the-road hybrid, with the front wheels powered by a normal engine and the rear wheels motivated by an electric motor. Things like displacement, total horsepower and battery size are all as mysterious as they ever were, but rumor has it – no, really this time – that a hybridized Mini will be available when the next-generation arrives in 2013.

[Source: Carpix]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Could this have anything to do with Saab?

      Saab will be using BMW's 1.6, associated with Saab's hybrid technology which architecture is exactly like this one (gas front, electric rear). That's a significant coincidence!

      The possibility of Saab using mini's platform for a 9-1/9-2 has been rumored too.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I was thinking the same thing!
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Elmo: I believe that's exactly the one: the PSA/BMW joint venture's 1.6 turbo
        • 4 Years Ago
        No. The Mini Cooper doesn't use a BMW unit. It's powered by a PSA (Peugeot/Citroën) engine.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hmmmmm....if they hadn't put a sticker on it would anyone know?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'd replace my '04 Cooper S in a heartbeat if they would make a 'normal-sized' MINI with all-wheel drive (no, the new Countryman is way too big). As for the hybrid drivetrain - meh.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Double exhausts in the middle suggest that this one is a Cooper S, rather than a Cooper.

      I'd love a 180bhp petrol cooper S with an additional 50-odd bhp electric motor on the rear with a 30 mile range (or combined to a 230bhp Cooper S)

      Makes me want my '08 Cooper S back....
        • 4 Years Ago
        Plus I missed the bloody obvious Cooper S scoop on the front.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I hope this is not another BMW Pointless Hybrid, where they use the electric motor for more power, but only gain 1-3 mpg. But at an additional cost of over 20K.

      But MINI needs to do something, because for it not to get at least 40 hwy really sucks for it to be such a small car.

      But a real MINI Hybrid that gets at least 45 city/40 hwy, and enough power to still be a MINI would be nice.
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