BMW has announced that it will move the production of most of its electric Minis from Oxford to China, where it has a joint venture with Great Wall Motor. The decision is based on improving efficiency and tapping into the growing Chinese market. However, one electric model, the Mini Countryman, will remain in Europe, to be built at Leipzig, in Germany.
The Mini Countryman is a small luxury crossover SUV that offers more space and versatility than the regular Mini hatchback. It is available with a plug-in hybrid powertrain that combines a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine with an electric motor and a 9.6 kWh battery. The system delivers a total output of 224 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque and can drive up to 29 miles on electric power alone.
The Mini Countryman is also the most expensive model in the Mini lineup, starting at $40,970 for the Mini Cooper SE ALL4 trim. It comes with standard features such as LED headlights, leather seats, an 8.8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a digital instrument cluster, a rear-view camera, parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and more.
The Mini Countryman competes with other premium subcompact crossovers, such as the Audi Q2, the Volvo XC40, and the Mercedes-Benz GLA. It offers a distinctive design, a fun-to-drive character, and a low-emission option for eco-conscious drivers. However, it also suffers from a high price tag, a small cargo space, and a limited electric range.
The Mini Countryman is expected to receive a facelift with updated styling, technology, and powertrain options. It will also be the only electric Mini to be produced in Europe as BMW shifts its focus to China for its other electric models. The move is part of BMW's strategy to increase its electrification and localization in the world's largest car market.
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