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First drive: MINI Countryman SE ALL4. Image by MINI.

First drive: MINI Countryman SE ALL4
Electric power spreads to a MINI product besides the three-door Hatch, and we’ve now tried out the Countryman SE ALL4 to see just how good – or otherwise – it is.


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MINI Countryman SE ALL4

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We've already driven the latest third-gen (U25) MINI Countryman as the 300hp John Cooper Works, but now we're sampling it as possibly an even more important model to its parent brand. This is the Countryman SE ALL4, one of two all-new electric models in the crossover's fresh line-up - prior to this point, if you wanted a zero-emission MINI then you could only have it as a three-door Hatch with a tiny 32.6kWh battery and a 144-mile range. Well, MINI has almost doubled both the power pack's size and the one-shot driving capabilities of the electric set-up this time around, and the good news here is that unless you need to regularly drive 300 miles at a time, the Countryman SE ALL4 is the pick of the launch models.

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2024 MINI Countryman SE ALL4
Price: Countryman range from £29,325, electric models from £42,080, SE ALL4 as tested from £47,180
Motor: twin 140kW electric motors, one on each axle
Battery: 64.8kWh (net) lithium-ion
Transmission: single-speed reduction-gear automatic, ALL4 all-wheel drive
Power: 313hp at 4,300-15,200rpm (time-limited 'overboost')
Torque: 494Nm at 0-4,900rpm
Emissions: 0g/km
Range: 269 miles
0-62mph: 5.6 seconds
Top speed: 112mph (limited)
Boot space: 460-1,450 litres


Spotting the fact that the SE ALL4 is the electric version of the Countryman family won't be the work of a moment. It looks almost identical to the petrol-powered variants, save for the fact the JCW has all its sporty addenda to make it stand out further. Still, the SE's giveaways are the usual EV signifiers, such as the fact that what looks like its radiator grille is, in fact, a solid panel, or that if you peer underneath the rear bumper and skid plate, you won't see any exhausts poking out. For this higher-powered electric Countryman, an additional telltale comes in the form of the bright-yellow 'S' badges on the front 'grille' and sitting next to the widely spaced Countryman lettering on the bootlid.

Physically, this Countryman is 130mm longer and 60mm taller than the one it replaces, while various aerodynamic tricks mean it has an impressive coefficient of drag of just 0.26 as an electric derivative. Part of that suite of techniques includes the handsome 20-inch, six-spoke alloys which are made of 70 per cent recycled aluminium. Overall, we rather like the look of the SE ALL4 - especially in Slate Blue with most of its contrast detailing (roof, door mirrors, sill inserts, front and rear skid plates, front-grille surround and those rims) finished in pale gold.


Again, like the exterior, the interior of the SE ALL4 is similar to other MINI Countryman models, although there's more to talk about with the Experiences toggle control, one of the few bits of physical switchgear remaining in the crossover's pared-back cabin. This cycles the car through one of eight different modes, which are Go-Kart, Core, Green, Vivid, Timeless, Balance, Personal and Trail. The last of these is specific to the Countryman electric alone, by the way - the forthcoming zero-emissions MINI Hatch will have to struggle along with just the seven Experiences.

Anyway, only the first three of these settings actually change how the car drives (adjusting the throttle response and steering weight and so on), whereas the other five essentially alter the graphics on the central 9.4-inch OLED circular touchscreen and in that funny pop-up head-up display for the driver.

Associated with that, the Experiences can also make the MINI's onboard projector system beam different colours of light onto the dashboard in connection with whatever's on the screen, and they affect the noise the car makes on the move as well. It's all very 'MINI', a lot of showmanship about personalisation and gewgaws, and what you'll think of these Experiences will depend how much of a sourpuss you are or not. For instance, each mode selects with what MINI calls an 'Earcon', which is a bespoke sound - in Go-Kart, that's a wild 'Ya-HOO!' like one of the characters out of a Nintendo Switch game crying a shout of pure joy. Annoying? A bit, to be honest. Overkill.

Otherwise, it's the same story for the Countryman's interior in the SE ALL4 as the JCW. By which we mean generally high-quality finishing, save for the flimsy door handles and the plastic surrounds for the window switches, and a pleasing overall design. That OLED screen works OK too, even if it's another one of those human-machine interfaces that places a little too much reliance on either touches of the display, or use of patchy voice control and an AI avatar assistant called Spike the dog. There are a lot of gimmicks in the new MINI Countryman, it has to be said.


Good news here - the cabin is just as roomy for the Countryman SE ALL4 and the boot just as capacious as it is in the JCW version of the MINI. Which means there are no compromises to be made on practicality if you decide you want to go with electric propulsion under the bonnet of your crossover-SUV, instead of petrol power.


As we've mentioned, the SE is the more powerful of two electric Countryman variants available from launch. Entry level is handled by the Countryman E, which takes the underpinnings of the basic iX1 variant of MINI's parent company BMW's X1 SUV as its basis. This means a 204hp motor on the front axle alone and a 64.8kWh battery pack, providing a range of up to 287 miles. As it is in the iX1 line, this powertrain will soon appear in the X2 family as a model badged 'iX2 eDrive20'.

The SE, however, adds another motor into the mix, blessing the car with the 'ALL4' moniker as this MINI has all-wheel-drive traction. It is, broadly speaking, the iX2 xDrive30 in a different hat, so there's a 140kW propulsion unit on each axle. The battery's the same size as in the E, so you lose a few miles on range (269 max quoted), but the peak power on a time-limited overboost phase is up to 313hp with an allied 494Nm of torque, meaning the Countryman SE ALL4 runs 0-62mph in 5.6 seconds - just two-tenths down on the lighter JCW petrol.

It also proves, almost immediately, to be the ideal drivetrain to match the slightly reserved character of this U25 Countryman's chassis. MINIs used to be a bit raw and frenetic, but that also made them playful in the corners. This new car? Not so much. It's far more cultured and dignified, and that's why the electric powertrain is a better fit for it than a 2.0-litre turbo petrol with a dual-clutch gearbox.

Without ever feeling dementedly fast, the Countryman SE ALL4 nevertheless has all the on-road performance anyone could ever reasonably need from it. Both step-off and roll-on acceleration up to about 70mph are notably brisk, while the calibration of the throttle pedal is good enough that you can use the MINI in Green mode (analogous to 'Eco' in most other cars) without it feeling all fuzzy and horrible, and like it is slightly broken in some way.

In terms of range, 200 real-world miles to a charge looks eminently achievable from our experience with it. We drove the SE in warmer climes, but not in a manner that was conducive to the best electrical economy, and it was indicating it would do around 200 miles, with the distance-to-empty range ticking down at a predictable (rather than variable) rate according to distance travelled. So with a bit more care and in favourable conditions, the 'double-ton' ought to be no difficulty, even if 269 miles appears a mite ambitious.

Ride & Handling

The Countryman SE ALL4 displays the same slightly buttoned-down character in the corners as the JCW did when we drove that. It's ultimately not quite as grippy and capable at the limit as the 300hp petrol car, a direct corollary of its increased weight as an EV, which means you'll find understeer more readily at lower speeds in the SE than you would in the Cooper Works.

Yet it's really no less enjoyable to drive quickly, as it remains composed and impressive if you keep it bubbling away just within itself, where you can enjoy surprisingly superb steering and a relative lack of excessive body roll. Put another way, if the road gets twisty in the Countryman SE, you can still make it hustle through the bends in a quick fashion, even if it's not the greatest-handling car to ever sport the MINI crest.

The refinement and ride comfort, though, are where the SE confirms that, yes, this is the launch Countryman model to go for. About the only contributor to elevated noise levels in the cabin is a muted blustering from the base of the windscreen at higher speeds, because tyre roar isn't evident cavitating around in the enlarged rear area of the MINI's passenger compartment, while the drivetrain is obviously admirably subdued.

The Countryman does, like the related iX2, play a variety of unusual electronic noises in seven of the eight Experience modes offered that tally up with its acceleration/deceleration phases, but they're not quite as strident in the MINI as they are in the BMW and none of them grated on our nerves particularly.


As the most expensive Countryman launch model from a pure price-point perspective, it might not immediately seem as if the SE ALL4 is remarkable value-for-money. But the standard equipment list is high, while there's plenty of room for personalisation options too. Factor in various tax-break benefits to running an EV, not to mention the reduced running costs if you can charge it regularly at home, and the admittedly breathtaking (at first glance) £47,000-plus asking price starts to make a little more sense.

Speaking of charging, the MINI comes with 11kW AC onboard charging compatibility as standard, with the option of upgrading that to 22kW. Its maximum charging rate, on DC at public units, is up at 130kW. All told, that means on a standard 7.4kW home wallbox, it'll take nearly nine hours to rejuice its battery from 0-100 per cent, while an 11kW unit would cut that time to six hours. Those lucky enough to have access to a 22kW point will see the MINI completely recharged in just three hours on an AC connection, while a 10-80 per cent top-up at a 130kW DC rapid charger will require 29 minutes of waiting time.


The new MINI Countryman is a classy operator no matter which model you go for, but its more grown-up attitude in this third-generation format means we have no hesitation in recommending the SE ALL4 electric as the undoubted star of the launch line-up. It's not the sweetest-handling machine at the limit and nor is it particularly inexpensive to buy either, but its sophisticated blend of smooth-driving manners, a quality and spacious interior, and attractive exterior looks all add up to ensure this MINI zero-emission crossover deserves to be a great success.

Matt Robinson - 5 Mar 2024    - MINI road tests
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2024 MINI Countryman SE ALL4. Image by MINI.2024 MINI Countryman SE ALL4. Image by MINI.2024 MINI Countryman SE ALL4. Image by MINI.2024 MINI Countryman SE ALL4. Image by MINI.2024 MINI Countryman SE ALL4. Image by MINI.

2024 MINI Countryman SE ALL4. Image by MINI.2024 MINI Countryman SE ALL4. Image by MINI.2024 MINI Countryman SE ALL4. Image by MINI.2024 MINI Countryman SE ALL4. Image by MINI.2024 MINI Countryman SE ALL4. Image by MINI.


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