The Mini Cooper continues its electric push for 2025 with an all-new EV-specific model meant to bring a bit of the swinging ’60s into the plug-in age. Even better, Mini’s expanded the electric model line with two models that correspond with equivalent combustion-powered variants: The Cooper E, and the Cooper SE. We’ve already written about the car’s styling and infotainment system, but now it’s time for a quick look beneath the skin to see what makes it tick.
Let’s start with the Cooper E. Packing 184 horsepower, it can run from zero-to-62 mph in a manufacturer-claimed 7.3 seconds. Featuring a 40.7 kWh battery pack, Mini is targeting a WLTP range of 189 miles with this entry-level model, a 44-mile increase over the outgoing Mini Cooper SE’s range. Now, that probably won’t directly translate to EPA range, but don’t be surprised to see a more practical real-world range out of this new model than out of the one you can buy today.
A promising entry-level model is a solid foundation, but what about sportiness? Well, that falls under the domain of the new Mini Cooper SE. With an output of 218 horsepower and a claimed zero-to-62 mph time of 6.7 seconds, this should be a reasonably zippy electric hot hatch. It features a bigger battery pack than the standard Cooper E model too, although it still measures out to a sensible 54.2 kWh. Mini claims a WLTP range of 249 miles from the new Cooper SE.
Sensible figures so far, but what about charging? Well, it’s not fast. The Cooper E can only DC fast charge at 75 kW and the Cooper SE bumps that up to a still relatively slow 95 kW. In an age when Hyundai and Kia are offering 200-plus kW 800-volt architectures, the new Mini’s DC fast charging figures feel so six years ago.
[Editor’s Note: Counterpoint: Because the Mini’s battery offerings are so small, you really don’t need that much charging power. In fact, with their 75kW and 95kW capabilities, both Mini EVs are allegedly capable of charging from 10 to 80 percent in about 30 minutes. Granted, because the battery is smaller, 80 percent is just 150 to 200 miles depending on the model, whereas on cars with bigger batteries, they’re charging as fast or even faster to 80%, which corresponds to over 250 miles of range in some cases. Hopefully the Mini’s smaller battery will yield a price savings versus these competitors. -DT].
So what about the bits that help the new Mini Cooper E go around corners? Well, it all starts with wider tires, measuring 215 mm on models with 17-inch wheels and 225 mm on models with 18-inch wheels. What’s more, tire diameter is up to 635 mm, which translates to 25 inches in imperial units. Put it all together and you get an available 18-inch tire size of 225/40R18 offering 9.4 percent more sidewall than the 205/40R18 tires available on today’s Mini. That bodes well for ride quality. In addition, the strut towers are tied together for body rigidity, something parent company BMW has been doing on M cars for a while now. However, that’s all Mini’s writing when it comes to chassis hardware.
The press release dedicates a worryingly small number of words to the bits underneath the new Mini, and that doesn’t feel right. Sure, the brand can wax poetic about Mini Operating System 9, a touch-based interface in a round screen that we’ve covered before, but any Mini is about the driving experience. Even the ropiest high-mileage rotten-out R53 from the early aughts feels as stiff as an ironing board and possesses telepathic agility. Just think, and the car will be over there. Or there. Or there. These traits were designed into the R53 on purpose, but outstanding handling was largely a side effect on the original Mini.
Alec Issigonis wanted the maximum amount of interior room from a minimal ten-foot footprint. The solution for corner hardware? Tiny wheels pushed to all four corners of the vehicle sprung by compact rubber cone suspension designed by Alex Moulton. The stiff rubber cones were particularly clever as they offered great packaging and a progressive spring rate while being much stiffer than the conventional springs on other small cars. In its day, the Mini was a revelation, and they’re still great fun to drive in spite of their questionable driving position. Sure, a new Mini can be connected and electric, but above all else, it needs to be fun. I guess I’ll just have to try one to see what’s what.
When the new electric Mini comes to America, it will be available in four different trims: Essential, Classic, Favoured, and JCW. The Classic trim adds textile-wrapped interior surfaces, the Favoured trim adds perforated seats, a three-spoke steering wheel, and houndstooth trim, and the JCW trim is chock full of sporty cosmetic bits. Expect it to arrive sometime in 2024, filling a much-needed affordable (hopefully) small EV niche and competing with the incoming Fiat 500e.
(Photo credits: Mini)
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