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New MINI 218 bhp Cooper S Electric Hot Hatch Released


New MINI 218 bhp Cooper S Electric Hot Hatch Released

New MINI Cooper Electric

New platform, new look, new powertrains for the fifth generation MINI as it makes its debut, spearheaded by the 218 bhp EV-powered Cooper SE. The car is set to make its UK debut at the Goodwood Revival.

New MINI Cooper Electric - key information


MINI has unveiled the fifth generation hatch at the IAA International Motor Show in Munich, marking a radical change in direction for the brand with a much stronger emphasis on EV powertrains and in-car media technology. 


The new MINI will debut in electric format only (with ICE models to follow) and is based on a new front-wheel-drive platform, co-developed with Chinese car manufacturer Great Wall, which can also be found underneath the Ora Funky Cat. 


As a result, production of the Electric model will move from MINI’s Oxford plant in the U.K. to China.


Oxford however will still manufacture the forthcoming ICE derivatives. 


The MINI Cooper Electric will cost from £30,000 and deliveries will begin in Spring 2024.


Also making its debut was the next-generation Countryman soft-roader. Unlike the hatch, this model will offer both petrol and EV propulsion from launch. 


Production of the Countryman will move to BMW's 'green' plant in Leipzig - making it the first German-made MINI.

New MINI Cooper Electric

New MINI Cooper Electric - powertrains

The electric hatch will initially be available in two powertrain options: the Cooper E and SE. The entry-level E variant boasts a high-voltage battery with 40.7 kWh capacity, delivering an impressive 190 miles of electric range according to the WLTP test cycle. Its 135 kW (184 bhp) electric motor generates 290 Nm of torque, propelling the vehicle from 0 to 62 mph in a nippy 7.3 seconds.

For those seeking more performance, the SE model packs a 160 kW (218 bhp) punch, making the hatch capable of accelerating from 0 to 62 mph in 6.7 seconds - a match for the outgoing turbocharged Cooper S. The SE achieves a maximum torque of 330 Nm and extends its electric range to a claimed 250 miles, thanks to its larger 54.2 kWh battery capacity. There are also plans for a John Cooper Works EV to feature in the line-up too.

These are significant strides over the outgoing MINI Cooper SE, which was forced to shoehorn the powertrain and batteries from the BMW i3s into a space designed for an internal combustion engine, resulting in a meagre range of 140 miles. 

When it comes to topping up the juice in the new MINI, three options are available: 11 kW AC charging, 75 kW DC charging, and 95 kW DC charging. Fast-charging stations can recharge the battery from 10 to 80 per cent in under 30 minutes. The MINI Navigation system can optimise charging by ensuring the battery reaches the ideal temperature in advance. The MINI App can also provide real-time information on the vehicle's status, charging progress, and route planning.

Petrol engines to follow

BMW has not yet confirmed when the ICE hatch will go on sale, but we expect the B48 series of 2.0-litre turbocharged engines to be carried over alongside the 1.5-litre triple, in tunes that will likely match the Countryman’s (170 bhp - Cooper & 218 bhp - S). We do not anticipate the power of the ICE JCW to match the 300 bhp of the Countryman, as the Hatch will remain FWD only. 

New MINI Cooper Electric - focus on handling and character

To accommodate the bigger batteries, the track width and wheelbase of the Cooper Electric has grown. No doubt this means additional weight, however, the EV-specificTo platform also means those batteries are now mounted much lower and spread evenly beneath the cabin, resulting in an improved centre of gravity for better handling.

BMW says the new model will still major on MINI’s hallmark direct handling and fast responses, and has even included a new “go-kart” mode within the multitude of dynamic settings. To aid steering precision and comfort, BMW has added a front strut brace and preloaded stabiliser mounts on the axles.

New MINI Cooper Electric

New MINI Cooper Electric

New MINI Cooper Electric - new design direction

Oliver Heilmer, Head of MINI Design says BMW has worked hard to ensure the new car retains the classic ‘wheel at each corner’ MINI proportions with its short overhangs, all-round window area and contrasting roof. This trademark silhouette has been combined with a “charismatic simplicity” design language that removes the chrome accents, ditches the wheel arch scuttles and sees the door handles now sitting flush with the body. The new aesthetic is likely a necessity brought about by the need to increase aero efficiency and thus range.

In contrast, the interior represents a far more radical departure with a focus on minimalism and digital immersion, in-line with BMWs desire to re-position itself as a technology leader. The unmissable centrepiece is a circular instrument cluster with a 24cm fully usable touch display - proudly stated by BMW as the world's first of its kind. Interestingly, the dashboard features a textile surface created using an innovative knitting process which is made from a recycled polyester composition, enhancing the cars sustainability credentials.

New MINI Cooper Electric

New MINI Cooper Electric

New MINI Cooper Electric

Connectivity, navigation and charging

The central OLED display houses MINI Operating System 9 which allows drivers to control all vehicle functions through touch or voice commands. The upper half of the screen displays essential vehicle information, while the lower section houses Navigation, Media, Phone, and Climate controls.

The system is based upon an Android Open Source Project (AOSP) software stack and paired with cloud-based MINI Navigation, which offers precise route calculation, high-speed connectivity, and optional 5G capability. 

The optional MINI Connected upgrades can provide access to a variety of apps, including gaming, music, and video streaming, through the MINI Connected Package. The new MINI offers seven unique experience modes: Core, Green, Go-Kart, Personal, Vibrant, Timeless, and Balance. Each mode includes specially designed backgrounds that transform the dashboard and ambient lighting to match the selected mode.

In addition to convenience and entertainment, the new MINI Cooper Electric comes with a suite of safety and driver assistance aids. The Parking Assistant Plus features 12 ultrasonic sensors and four surround-view cameras, while the Explore Mode enables parking using a smartphone when space is limited for entry. The MINI Digital Key Plus option meanwhile, can turn your smartphone into a key for easy car sharing.

With its competitive price and strong powertrains, the all-new MINI Cooper Electric looks set to give existing EV rivals such as the Honda E and Abarth 500E serious headaches. With the forthcoming Renault 5, Alpine EV and MINI JCW, it appears there is still life for the hot hatch sector, and these cars - to us at least - appear far more enticing than yet another 1,000 bhp SUV. Bring on the group test.

Written by

Craig Toone


7 February 2021

Last Updated


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