Thursday 15th August 2019
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MINI Cooper SE is all-electric. Image by MINI.

MINI Cooper SE is all-electric
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What's this now?

The first-ever electric MINI - and it's called the Cooper SE. And before you say anything, the MINI E of 2009 doesn't count, as that was just a large field trial of prototypes rather than a production model like the new Cooper SE. Anyway, as you can see, the new car is based on the three-door MINI Hatch and, yellow highlights, blanked-off grille, funky four-spoke wheels and myriad plug logos aside, it doesn't look dramatically different.

Except for what's under the bonnet...

Indeed. There, you'll find the same basic electric motor as used by the BMW i3s, which means 184hp and 270Nm of torque sent to the front wheels of the MINI. A 0-62mph time of 7.3 seconds is quoted, along with a limited top speed of 93mph. Power to the motor comes from a lithium-ion battery pack that's mounted low down within the wheelbase of the MINI. Depending on wheel size (there are 16-inch rims as standard or 17s as pictured), the maximum range is about 168 miles. Fast-charging up to a rate of 50kW is possible, allowing an 80 per cent battery charge in 35 minutes. The driver can choose between two levels of brake energy recuperation depending on their preference (the default rate allows for mostly one-pedal driving) and there are four main driving modes as well, including one labelled 'Sport'.

For 'go-kart handling', right?

Please, don't encourage MINI... Toggle the Cooper SE into that mode and it sharpens up throttle response and reduces power steering assistance. Will it be good to drive? Actually, the signs are good. Along with the fact that the maximum torque is on tap from a standstill, the positioning of the battery pack means better front-to-rear weight balance and a 30mm lower centre of gravity (despite an 18mm increase in height to maintain ground clearance) than the petrol-powered Cooper S. That should make for an agile feeling car, despite the 145kg weight gain.

Does it have to have yellow bits?

Well, the car you're looking at here has quite a few optional extras added. As is the MINI way, buyers have a lot of personalisation options, with three distinct trim levels. Saying all that, even the basic Cooper SE is well-equipped. The order books are open now, from 24,400 on-the-road (including Plug-in Car grant) or via a lease package that works out as 299 a month. First deliveries are March 2020.



Shane O' Donoghue - 9 Jul 2019


2020 MINI Cooper SE. Image by MINI.2020 MINI Cooper SE. Image by MINI.2020 MINI Cooper SE. Image by MINI.2020 MINI Cooper SE. Image by MINI.2020 MINI Cooper SE. Image by MINI.

2020 MINI Cooper SE. Image by MINI.2020 MINI Cooper SE. Image by MINI.2020 MINI Cooper SE. Image by MINI.2020 MINI Cooper SE. Image by MINI.2020 MINI Cooper SE. Image by MINI.









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