Of all the cars scheduled to come from BMW in the next year or so, one of the most exciting is also one of the least powerful. Sure, we’re all excited about the BMW M8 Gran Coupe, the X5 M and the M2 CS, along with several others. However, one of the cars that I personally find every bit as exciting as those cars, even more than some of them, is the all-new MINI Cooper SE.
The MINI Cooper SE is the brand’s first true production EV. Yes, there was the MINI E a few years back but it was sold in extremely limited numbers and was only available for lease and was extremely expensive for what it was. This new MINI Cooper SE won’t have a limited production and will be sold just like every other MINI. So it will be an affordable, mass market electric hatchback for the people. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so exciting.
Another reason is its performance. The MINI Cooper SE uses what is essentially the same powertrain as the BMW i3 S and makes 181 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough for it to get from 0-60 mph in about 7.3 seconds. That’s not too shabby and about as quick as the last-gen MINI Cooper S. What’s more important than that, though, is its instantaneous torque. Like all electric cars, the instant kick of electric torque makes it feel much quicker than its number suggest. In a MINI, that’s all you need.
While its range isn’t stellar, between 146-168 miles (in Europe, US EPA numbers haven’t been revealed), it’s more than enough for an urban EV. The MINI Cooper SE is intended to be an urban city car after all and that range is perfect for such a thing. Hell, it’s even more than enough for a suburban daily. If you’re not commuting, that range is going to be enough for daily use.
Then there’s the price. While the British brand hasn’t released pricing just yet, it has stated that it won’t cost much more than its gasoline siblings. So expect it to cost in the mid-$30,000 range. If that’s the case, it will offer a lot of electric car for the money and act as an affordable, premium electric city car.
There are much more powerful, luxurious and expensive cars to come from the BMW Group in the next year or so. The MINI Cooper SE is likely the cheapest, slowest and smallest. Yet, it’s one of the most exciting because it acts as a very affordable way to have a fun and practical hatchback that’s also fully electric. If you want to dip your toes into the EV waters but don’t want to get something boring like Nissan Leaf, the MINI Cooper SE can be your car.