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MINI launches two new EVs in Munich. Image by MINI.

MINI launches two new EVs in Munich
The new, all-electric MINI Cooper is being joined by an all-electric Countryman.
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What's all this about?

MINI is boldly going where every other car manufacturer is going as it rolls out its all-electric range. That doesn't just mean shoving electric motors in existing models, though. Instead, the BMW-owned brand is bringing out all-new cars, and the first examples of the new generation of MINI are debuting at this month's Munich motor show. Naturally, one of the two is the classic three-door MINI Cooper, but that's being joined by the somewhat less conventional MINI Countryman.

But hasn't MINI already done an electric hatch?

Yes, but that was really just a normal MINI with an electric motor in place of the petrol engine. Although it looks vaguely similar, albeit a little sharper and more modern, this is an all-new car, designed to be electric from day one.

So, what's new about it?

Design-wise, not all that much. The car is still recognisably a MINI, but it's a cleaner design than before with flush door handles and no flared wheel arches. It also gets new light signatures.

For those familiar with the existing MINI products, the change in nomenclature is also worthy of note, with Cooper changing from a trim level to a model name. And let's be honest, most people erroneously used Cooper as a model name anyway...

With that and the move to electric power, MINI has had to change up the powertrains and the trim levels, too. Customers will get a choice of either the basic Cooper E with 184hp or the 218hp Cooper SE, while there are four different trims: Essential, Classic, Favoured and JCW.

It sounds quite quick, then...

It will be. The basic Cooper E does 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds, while the Cooper SE takes 6.7 seconds to achieve the same feat. More importantly, though, the Cooper SE will have a larger battery to match its more powerful motor, allowing it to offer greater range. Whereas the Cooper E can cover 190 miles on the official economy test, the Cooper SE manages 250 miles.

What about the inside?

As before, the MINI's cabin is designed to remind us of the Alec Issigonis original, with the central instrumentation and minimal dashboard. The central circle is, as the pictures show, pretty large, measuring 24cm across, and it houses all the usual infotainment technology, as well as speed and battery state readouts on a slick-looking OLED screen. As is de rigueur with electric cars, the MINI also gets more environmentally friendly materials, while the reduction in mechanical linkages for the gear shift means there's more interior storage.

What about the Countryman?

Unsurprisingly, the new Countryman shares plenty of features with the Cooper, but there's more to it than just a new look and an electric powertrain. The new Countryman is bigger than the old car, with an extra 13cm in length and 6cm in height, as well as wider arches. It's still a clean and modern design, though, and it gets a similar interior to the Cooper.

Does it get the same powertrains as the Cooper, too?

No, it doesn't. Again, though, you do get a choice of two different electric versions, with a 204hp Countryman E offering a 0-62mph time of 8.6 seconds, while the two-motor, all-wheel-drive Countryman SE All4 gets 313hp and a 0-62mph time of 5.6 seconds. And this time the less powerful car offers the most range, officially getting 287 miles from its battery while the SE All4 gets 269 miles from a single charge. There will be petrol models offered, too.

Sounds interesting. How much are they?

The MINI Cooper Electric starts at £30,000 on the road, while the Countrymanís entry-level price is £28,500. The latter is for a petrol model, though, and the Countryman Electric starts at £41,500. They'll be on display in Munich between September 5 and 10.

James Fossdyke - 1 Sep 2023

2024 MINI Countryman and Cooper SE. Image by MINI.2024 MINI Countryman and Cooper SE. Image by MINI.2024 MINI Countryman and Cooper SE. Image by MINI.2024 MINI Countryman and Cooper SE. Image by MINI.    - MINI road tests
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