This new MINI Cooper SE is interesting because an electric MINI is precisely what the brand needed right now but it’s also might not quite as modern as it needs to be. So, depending on your outlook, the new EV MINI is either brilliant or not enough. In this new review from Harry Metcalf, we get the real scoop on Oxford’s (*cough* Munich’s *cough*) latest electric car.
In Europe, it’s called the MINI Electric but here in the ‘States it’s called the MINI Cooper SE. So if there’s any confusion as to the naming, that’s why. That aside, the Cooper SE is a very interesting car in that there’s a lot to knock if for but there’s also a lot to love it for.
Let’s start with what’s wrong with it first. It doesn’t have enough range, for starters. The 28.9 kWh battery pack barely produces 120 miles of rear world range and that’s just not enough in 2020. As a city car, the MINI Cooper SE is perfectly fine but some suburban owners might struggle with daily range. Then there’s the price, as Metcalf explains. The Cooper SE is not cheap and about £10,000 more than the Cooper SE in the UK. How long would you have to drive to make up for that premium in fuel savings? At just 120 miles a clip, it’d probably take the life of the car.
However, there’s also a lot to love and it’s all thanks to the way it drives. That punchy little electric motor makes 181 horsepower and can get from 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds but that only tells part of the story. MINI makes the throttle tip-in aggressive and the Cooper SE will chirp its front tires all the way up to around 20 mph. It also has enough torque to actually give it torque steer through corners, something Metcalf actually counts as a positive because it makes it more fun and playful.
It’s also just a riot to drive. As with all MINIs, the Cooper SE is nippy, it’s tight, it’s sporty and it just puts a smile on your face. In fact, you’ll lose track of Metcalf laughing while he’s reviewing it, or breaking a smile while sending it through a corner. He even admits that he was ready to knock the car in this review until he took it down his favorite road, where it proved to be too much fun.
MINI seems to know how to make a good electric car. The tuning is there, the handling is there and the fun-factor is there. In fact, Metcalf claims that it just feels like a hot-hatch and you forget entirely that it’s electric, another good thing. It just needs some newer battery tech and a lower price point. So Metcalf is optimistic about the future of the MINI Cooper SE but isn’t quite sold on it now.