mini-countryman-plug-in-hybrid-spied-front-three-quartersAnother week, another set of [spy photos]( from [Automobile Magazine]( This time, the upcoming F60 Countryman was caught winter testing, but interestingly enough this is not the most interesting bit of the story. If you look closely at the photo above, you will see a “Hybrid Testing Vehicle” sticker on the front passenger door. About a year ago, we gave a [detailed overview of the plug-in system]( that the BMW Group plans to bring to the MINI brand. And while our initial assumption was that F54 Clubman would be the first model of FXX generation to receive this drivetrain, the new Countryman appears to be in the lead to become to first plug-in hybrid MINI ever.

Automobile Magazine’s sources confirm what we detailed last year in regards to the inner workings of MINI’s plug-in hybrid system. At the heart of this drivetrain will be the 1.5L three cylinder lifted from the F56 Cooper and powering the front wheels. Integrated into that will be a plug-in hybrid system powering the rear wheels only. The beauty of that arrangement is the torque (which is abundant in electric motors) won’t overwhelm the front tires and instead will provide additional power in the most effective way – to the rear. Not only will power and torque be better distributed, but it will also allow for better weight distribution across the entire car.

As far as the rest of the car is concerned, the F60 shares the extended UKL platform with the upcoming BMW X1 and should adopt more SUV-like abilities. And for the first time, Automobile Magazine’s report includes an [interior picture]( of the new Countryman. Unsurprisingly, it is very similar to the Hardtop’s thus fulfilling the promise of economies of scale across the FXX lineup.

Again, make sure to review our prior reports on [MINI’s plug-in hybrid drivetrain]( and on the [overall design of the F60](