After a painstakingly long teaser campaign, the next-generation MINI Cooper is finally here in all of its three-door glory. Arriving next week at 2023 IAA Munich, the stylish hatchback is being presented initially only in pure electric guise but the BMW Group brand is also planning to sell the city car with combustion engines. This will be the last iteration of the Cooper with ICE power as the Oxford-based marque has pledged to go EV-only by the early 2030s.
Redesigned exterior with minimalist cabin
Entering its fifth generation as a three-door model, the 2024 Cooper promises to be a “reinvention of the original.” It looks instantly familiar yet fresh as the evolutionary design with smooth surfaces and updated lights ensures the little EV will appeal to both traditionalists and those looking for something new. MINI has taken the less is more approach by eliminating the side scuttles while mounting flush door handles. In addition, the fender flares are gone to enable a cleaner profile and lower the drag coefficient to 0.28.
At the front, the circular headlights are a mainstay of the MINI design and flank a redesigned octagonal grille replacing the old hexagonal shape. The chrome body accents are gone, replaced with a new finish called “Vibrant Silver.” The back hosts flush taillights interconnected through a thick black bar incorporating the name of the version: Cooper E or Cooper SE.
Customers will get to pick from four different trims (Essential, Classic, Favoured, John Cooper Works) and wheels varying in size from 16 to 18 inches. Available at an additional cost, the optional 17- and 18-inch alloys now come with wider tires (up by 10/20 mm to 205/225 mm), which should theoretically improve grip and handling and live up to MINI’s “go-kart feeling” ethos.
While the exterior isn’t a vast departure from the outgoing model, the cabin has been fully redesigned and it too takes the minimalist route. Without a shadow of a doubt, the circular OLED with a 9.4-inch (240-millimeter) diagonal is the focal point of the simplified cabin. The all-new infotainment runs on the MINI Operating System 9 based on the Android Open Source Project software stack, so it’s essentially MINI’s version of the BMW iDrive 9.
Move your eyes away from the OLED and you’ll notice there’s no instrument cluster anymore. The driver can still see relevant information in their line of sight by ordering the 2024 Cooper with the optional head-up display. Switchgear has been reduced to a minimum as you’ll be accessing most functions from the touchscreen mounted in the center of the curved dashboard designed to mimic the dash of the original 1959 Mini.
Positioned below the OLED is a toggle bar providing quick access to the small gear selector, which is no longer a bulky lever taking up space between the front seats where there’s now more cargo room. Next to it are the start/stop key, parking brake, volume control, hazard lights, and a few other controls, including the Experiences toggle. You get three modes as standard (Core, Green, Go-Kart) – each with a subset of changes to the user interface design – plus up to four more (Timeless, Balance, Vivid, and Personal). Speaking of optional goodies, the interior can be fitted with a projector mounted behind the infotainment to light up the area in matching color schemes and patterns depending on the selected Experience mode.
Two powertrain options: 184 hp or 218 hp
As far as technical specifications are concerned, the 2024 MINI Cooper E has an electric motor producing 184 horsepower (135 kilowatts) and an instant torque of 290 Newton meters (213 pound-feet). It’s enough for a 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) run in a respectable 7.3 seconds. Step up to the SE variant and the output grows to 218 hp (160 kW) and 330 Nm (243 lb-ft), reducing the sprint time to 6.7 seconds.
Stick to the Cooper E and you’ll get a 40.7-kWh battery with enough energy for a maximum range of 190 miles (305 kilometers) in the WLTP test cycle. Step up to the Cooper SE and the battery is upgraded to a 54.2-kWh pack with juice for 250 miles (402 kilometers). The charging power also depends on which version you have as the base model tops out at 75 kW while the beefier variant supports 95 kW. It’ll take less than half an hour to go from 10% to 80% at a fast-charging station.
MINI Cooper Production Moves to China
MINI is relocating production of the electric Cooper hatch from the UK to China. The next-generation EV will be assembled by Spotlight Automotive Limited – a 50:50 joint venture between the BMW Group and Great Wall Motor – at a new factory in Zhangjiagang, a city in the Jiangsu Province. The production version of the Aceman small electric crossover will also be assembled there later in 2024.