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Mini Clubman hybrid to get power boost from rear-axle electric motor?

Unlike most hybrid cars, the Mini Clubman may utilize its electric motor to add an extra 60 horsepower directly to the rear wheels.

New details surrounding Mini's plug-in hybrid Clubman have emerged, suggesting its electric powertrain may be used for a performance boost.

Unlike Toyota's Prius and most other hybrid vehicles, which route torque from the electric motor through the same wheels as the gasoline or diesel engine, the Clubman's electric motor is expected to power the rear wheels only, unnamed sources have told MotoringFile.

The arrangement is believed to give the hybrid hatch a total of at least 190 horsepower, with 134 ponies coming from its 1.5-liter three-cylinder mill to the front wheels. If the report is accurate, the car may effectively act as a rear-wheel-drive platform if driving in electric-only mode. Under hard acceleration the system would switch to all-wheel-drive mode.

It is unclear if the system will be similar to other modern hybrid all-wheel-drive technology, such as Acura's RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system. The Japanese company uses independent electric motors for each of the rear wheels, enabling torque vectoring.

The BMW hybrid concept that is believed to be used for the Clubman reportedly achieves combined fuel efficiency ratings of up to 94 mpg in European measurement cycles.

The hybrid system is expected to be offered as an option for the 2016 Clubman, alongside traditional gasoline- and diesel-engine options.

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