Charging ahead with

MINI and BMW

MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4, 2019, front
MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4, 2019, side
MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4, 2019, rear
MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4, 2019, interior
MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4, 2019, rear seats
MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4, 2019, boot
BMW 330e, 2019, front
BMW 330e, 2019, side
BMW 330e, 2019, rear
BMW 330e, 2019, interior
BMW 330e, 2019, rear seats
BMW 330e, 2019, boot
BMW 530e, 2019, front
BMW X6, 2019, front
BMW X6, 2019, side
BMW X6, 2019, rear
BMW X6, 2019, interior
BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe, 2019, front
BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe, 2019, rear
BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe, 2019, interior
BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe, 2019, rear seats
BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe, 2019, boot
MINI Clubman John Cooper Works
MINI Clubman John Cooper Works, cabin
MINI Clubman John Cooper Works, rear

BMW is on a charge, so to speak, and in a rush to lead the electrification revolution.

The firm has been showcasing its latest petrol/electric hybrids and all electric cars from BMW and MINI, plus updates on many models at a series of events.

At the vanguard are the MINI PHEV and two main BMW saloons, the 3 and 5 series, both offering hybrid technology that will appeal to company car user and private buyer looking to save in both taxation and fuel economy.

TheThe MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4is the first in the range and will be quickly followed by the full all-electric model early in the new year.

It is the first of a wider plan for electrification and its green credentials are displayed with subtle yellow badging including the S on the front grille and yellow plug-shaped logo on the charging flap and to the rear as well as the yellow starter toggle switch inside.

The four wheel drive model features a 1.5 litre petrol engine mated with a rear electric motor to deliver 221bhp but with emissions of just 49g/km of CO2 making benefit in kind tax more affordable.

It is also powered by a high-tech lithium-ion battery that is kept at its optimum temperature by an advanced cooling system and has a range of 37 miles using electric power alone with emissions of just 37g/km, but still retains plenty of pace, hitting 62mpg in just 6.8 seconds.

Standard Features include sat nav, connectivity which includes online search and weather info, Apple CarPlay, parking distance control and the ability to switch to the Save Battery mode and the petrol engine will charge the battery or keep the charging status at 90 per cent. When you're driving in Save Battery mode, the petrol engine is doing all the work.

On the road, it feels like a typical MINI, except substantially cheaper to run and with handling and grip barely compromised by the extra battery weight.

Both the BMW 3 and 5 series feel barely compromised in hybrid form, retaining familiar poise with sharp looks, peerless handling and excellent all round driving experience, together with offering cheaper motoring all round.

The 330e saloon delivers up to 50 per cent increase in electric-only range thanks to a new 12kwh battery, up from 9.5kwh and a reduction in CO2 emissions of more than 10 per cent.

A major new feature is the standard-fit XtraBoost, technology (also seen on the X3 xDrive 30e) increasing the 252hp by a further 41hp at the touch of a button.

It can hit 60 in 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 143 mph. It is priced from £37,875.

As well as the extra power, it can cover a distance of up to 37 miles using electric power alone, while average combined fuel consumption with the two litre engine combination is now up to 201.8mpg with combined CO2 emissions of just 37g/km.

The battery is positioned underneath the rear seats, while the fuel tank is located above the rear axle to ensure optimal luggage capacity

The 5 Series saloon's range has range is increased by more than 30 per cent to 35 miles now achieves a combined fuel consumption of 156.9-141.2mpg and CO2emissions of 36g/km, while the all-wheel-drive BMW530exDrive Saloon is also on offer in the UK.

The latter achieves an electrically powered range of up to 30 miles. Its combined fuel consumption is 141.2-122.8mpg, while CO2emissions are at least 49g/km.

It is no slouch either, the 252bhp powering the car to 60mph in just 6.1 seconds. It is priced from £46,820.

The full range of BMW driver assistance systems to optimise comfort and safety are also available, ranging from the Park Assistant including reverse assistant (standard on all 330e models) to the optional Driving Assistant Professional with steering and lane guidance system.

Pre-heating and pre-conditioning of the interior, which uses the energy of the battery to power the auxiliary heating, is standard on all models. At low outdoor temperatures, the interior can be heated prior to setting off even if the battery charge status is low.

New digital services can direct you to charging points when out and about via the navigation which delivers the information together with a forecast of the occupancy status of the charging station at the time of arrival.

Two of the latest models, the X6 and the 8 series Gran Coupe offers the latest in cutting edge technology.

The newly-designed X6 features advanced powertrain and chassis technology. Now bigger but sitting lower it also features a new 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine for M50i flagship model, with prices starting from £59,340.

The huge 8 series Gran Coupe combines four-door practicality with a 201mm longer wheelbase compared to the coupe.To match is two-door sibling the chassis has been retuned for top end performance. Pricing starts from £69,340.

Last, but not least, the bonkers, but stunningly liveried MINI JCW also offers electric performance, but this time in a more conventional manner, via 306bhp, two litre twin turbo petrol engine. Mated to a slick auto box, it can hit 62mph in just 5.2 second, with 450Nm of torque on tap. There will be limited production run a of 3,000 units globally, with 575 for the UK at a price from £33,895.

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