2023 was an eventful year for MINI as the Oxford-based marque renewed its Cooper hatchback and introduced the next-generation Countryman crossover as well. The electric hatchback is once again being offered only with three doors but a five-door model with combustion engines is coming in 2024. Meanwhile, the zero-emission hatch has been filmed up close and personal in Germany at the BMW Welt.
Painted in Blazing Blue, this electric Cooper has two-tone wheels and a contrasting white roof to match the side mirror caps. We’re dealing with the more potent SE variant featuring an e-motor good for 218 horsepower and 330 Newton-meters (243 pound-feet) of instant torque. It’s enough electric punch for a 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) run in 6.7 seconds. Feeding the motor is a 54.2-kWh battery pack with enough juice for a maximum range of 402 kilometers (250 miles) in the WLTP test cycle.
As one would expect from a MINI, the exterior styling is evolutionary but there’s a real revolution inside. The BMW-owned brand has revamped its cabin for the new wave of models by adopting a minimalist layout. The interior’s focal point is now a 9.4-inch round OLED screen mounted in the center of the dashboard. You still have a handful of quick-access controls mounted beneath the display but most functions are accessible only through the large touchscreen.
Initially, MINI will produce the electric Cooper E/SE only in China at a new factory owned by Spotlight Automotive – a 50:50 joint venture between BMW and Great Wall Motor. From 2026, the three-door hatchback without a combustion engine will begin to roll off the assembly line at the Oxford plant in the UK. Those who want a bigger and more practical alternative to the electric hatchback will have to wait until April 2024 when the Aceman crossover is set to debut. It too will be built at first only in China before getting the “Made in UK” label in 2026.
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