It’s been a big week for BMW, and it all had to do with the Group’s Annual Press Conference. We caught our first glimpse at the next-generation 5 Series in electric i5 guise, as well as news about a first-ever iX2 and another addition to the growing lineup, an i5 Touring. We’ve also learned there will be at least six Neue Klasse-based EVs on sale before 2028, complete with a new Panoramic Vision head-up display.
However, the event wasn’t all about the core brand as a brand-new MINI was brought onto the stage. BMW Group chairman Oliver Zipse briefly spoke about the next-generation Cooper SE, showing the production-ready prototype with a new camouflage featuring a colorful funky pattern. Once again, the electric hatchback will be sold exclusively as a three-door hardtop model.
Unlike the outgoing model manufactured at home in the United Kingdom, the replacement will be assembled in China. The BMW Group and Great Wall Motor created a 50:50 joint venture back in 2019 to build this car under the Spotlight Automotive Limited company. It’s going to be manufactured at a new plant in Zhangjiagang in the country’s Jiangsu Province where the annual capacity will reach 160,000. It’s the same place where next year’s electric-only Aceman subcompact crossover will be made.
Relocating production from Oxford to China is expected to put an end to Cooper SE’s availability in the United States. However, there is a glimmer of hope the next electric hatch will be sold in the US if a recent report from Sky News is to be believed. The British news channel claims parent company BMW Group will soon announce an investment of nearly $600 million at the UK site to build EVs, and one of them could be the new Cooper SE. However, nothing is official yet.
Meanwhile, the revamped EV will break cover in early September at the IAA Munich and will be sold in E and SE configurations. The former will have 181 hp (135 kW) and 186 miles (300 kilometers) of range from a 40-kWh battery while the latter is going to pack 215 hp (160 kW) from a larger 54-kWh battery. These range numbers are based on the WLTP test cycle, so EPA figures will most likely be lower.
Other confirmed specs are related to the vehicle’s size: 3860 mm (152 inches) long, 1435 mm (56.5 in) tall, and a wheelbase of 2525 mm (99.4 in). A high-performance John Cooper Works (JCW) derivative will follow later this decade, and MINI has said future EVs won’t be limited to 93 mph (150 km/h) anymore.
Source: BMW Group