The 2024 MINI Cooper SE is the most recent addition to the electrical steady of the British marquee. However turning a MINI into an electrical mannequin that maintains the traditional Cooper driving expertise posed a major problem. MINI first tackled this activity in 2019, however its first all-electric try was, let’s say, a little bit of a combined bag. It had the traditional MINI allure and fast acceleration, however the vary was a letdown. Now, 5 years later, they’re again with a second attempt, and I flew to Spain to search out out if this electrical scorching hatch provides the thrilling go-kart-like efficiency and feeling that MINIs are identified for.

Sitges is a coastal city in Spain’s Catalonia area, southwest of Barcelona, backed by the mountainous Parc Pure del Garraf. It’s identified for not solely its Mediterranean seashores but additionally by its windy and enjoyable roads. So, MINI invited me over push this electrical hatch to its limits, or at the least near them.

The MINImalistic Design Language

First up, let’s discuss styling of the 2024 MINI Cooper SE. The model has at all times been about that iconic look, and with this new technology, they’ve caught to their roots. The massive round headlights are right here to remain, and though there’s a contemporary octagonal grill, you may must double-take to tell apart it from its predecessor. The daytime operating lights  include three signature lights, with welcome and goodbye animation. However there are some noticeable tweaks.

The wheel arch trim? Gone. Flush door handles and no chrome end—inside or out. They name it ‘Charismatic Simplicity’. And the triangular tail lights? They positively set it aside on the rear from the earlier technology Coopers. The rear-end is sort of upright with a extra tapered look, and the windshield angle is notably steep—primarily for aerodynamics and to satisfy security rules. The taillights are additionally new providing the flexibility to customise the interior graphics from the Working System 9.

Total, in comparison with its predecessors, these adjustments may appear modest, however they refine what we’ve at all times liked about MINI’s allure.

  • Extra vary than earlier than
  • Much more highly effective
  • Inside area is best than anticipated
  • Charging charge might be increased
  • The design is a bit bland
  • Some supplies inside do not scream premium

Design Options I Want The 2024 MINI Cooper SE Had Retained

There are a few annoyances although. In distinction to the F66 Cooper (the ICE model), the J01 2024 MINI Cooper electrical forgoes the clamshell bonnet and the hood scoop. So due to that, you’re getting this hood shutline which doesn’t scream premium. Moreover, the elimination of the facet scuttles provides the Cooper SE a cleaner and extra aerodynamic silhouette, interesting to those that favor such design enhancements. Nonetheless, some conventional fans may miss the vented hood and facet scuttles, which, regardless of being purely aesthetic, added a cool issue to the automobile.

Main Inside Adjustments

Inside, the brand new 2024 MINI Cooper SE encompasses a cockpit brimming with character, a praise I’m positive the MINI design workforce will respect. Throughout a dialogue on the press launch occasion with Oliver Heilmer, Head of MINI Design, we found that “Charismatic Simplicity” is the present guideline in Munich. And the MINI Cooper electrical might be fairly charismatic inside. It options a big round 9.4-inch OLED show, which appears to be like improbable and is ergonomically straightforward to function. It’s additionally extraordinarily responsive and snappy in comparison with the Working System 9 we examined within the MINI Countryman JCW and SE. The show is a nod to the traditional central speedometer, whereas toggle switches add a retro contact.

The OLED additionally replaces the standard driver’s instrument cluster. This display now manages instrumentation, navigation mapping, journey laptop knowledge, and homes a lot of the automotive’s secondary controls. Is it ideally suited to maneuver all that important data to the central show? In all probability not, as it could enhance driver distraction. Doubtless not as a result of the driving force’s distraction might be a problem. Fortunately MINI does provide their conventional head-up show. I’m preaching to the choir by now, however I actually imagine the system can be much more user-friendly with a bodily controller.

Subsequent, the brand new MINI Cooper SE options all-vegan upholstery, complemented by knitted material on the dashboard and door panels. For these looking for detailed customization, the strap that capabilities as a spoke on the steering wheel and the dashboard strap might be personalised with numerous shade and stitching choices. Some may name these particulars statements of favor and selection.

On the draw back, regardless of its playful design, among the inside plastics are much less interesting, particularly for a automotive within the premium section. The earlier technology MINI Cooper SE had a extra luxurious really feel, possible as a consequence of the usage of leather-based and trims that now not align with MINI’s dedication to environmental sustainability.

Practicality and Area

The 2024 MINI Cooper Electrical boasts substantial legroom within the entrance, thanks primarily to the devoted electrical platform which allowed MINI designers to push ahead the front-seating place. The flat roof and absence of a retractable sunroof enable for extra headroom, which is especially vital for somebody like me, who stands 1.9 m tall (6’3″). The armrest is a bit smaller within the Cooper electrical than within the F66 gasoline mannequin—as a result of barely wider entrance seats. Different visible adjustments in comparison with the F66 Cooper embrace the positioning of the door deal with, sitting a bit decrease on the J01 and the presence of the audio speaker on the street, quite on the A-pillar.

We haven’t talked about dimensions up to now, however let’s put issues in perspective earlier than speaking about rear bench and cargo area. The J01 MINI Cooper SE is 8 mm longer, 30 mm wider and almost 30 mm taller than F56 Cooper SE. In comparison with the F66 Cooper (gasoline, the electrical variant features 1.2 centimeters within the second row. However even with that further size, issues are tight in there. I adjusted the seat to my driving place and my knees had been rubbing in opposition to the again of the seat. Fortunately, headroom was a bit extra beneficiant, a mere 3-4 centimeters.

The cargo area stays constant throughout the Cooper household, providing 210 liters with the rear seats up and roughly 800 liters when folded. So total, the trunk area stays restricted, providing solely minimal city-car-like capability. In the event you’re searching for an ideal street journey companion, then the Aceman or Countryman may get the job achieved.

Energy, Vary and Charging

I took the longest path to the juicy bits, so let’s dive proper in. The brand new 2024 MINI Cooper SE sends the facility to the entrance wheels through an electrical motor producing 218 horsepower and 300 Nm. That’s sufficient to propel the automotive from 0-60mph in 6.7 seconds. If cash is a matter, you will get the 184 horsepower Cooper E which has a 0-60 mph time of seven.3 seconds. The highest Cooper electrical makes use of a 54.2 kWh battery pack for a spread of as much as 250 miles (402 km) on WLTP. The lesser mannequin will get away with a reasonably small battery pack 40.3 kWh and a spread of 190 miles.

Is the vary distinctive? Not precisely, however it appears that evidently the Cooper Electrical is prone to be a secondary automobile for many homeowners. In keeping with a research commissioned by MINI, their clients count on to drive about 40 miles every day. What does trouble me extra although is the charging capability: 75 kW for the bottom Cooper E and 95 kW for the SE. Rivals provide increased charging speeds, which might be considerably extra handy for these with out entry to a house charger. Nonetheless, MINI estimates a charging time of about half-hour to go from 10% to 80% battery.

Driving and Efficiency

The testing route by means of the hills surrounding Sitges actually places the 2024 MINI Cooper SE’s capabilities to the take a look at, with tight bends that spotlight its agility and grip. In “Go-Kart” mode, the Cooper SE feels sportiest, because of a software program tuneup of its suspension, steering, and braking, which tightens the automotive’s response and provides a definite, aggressive electrical sound, enhancing the driving expertise. Regardless of not being a real go-kart, it maintains the recent hatch character, tackling corners with confidence and minimal physique roll.

The 2024 MINI Cooper Electrical provides partaking and enjoyable driving dynamics, retaining the traditional MINI really feel whereas adapting to electrical automobile expertise. It’s decrease than earlier SE fashions however maintains a better seating place, balancing visibility with a sporty really feel. The automotive’s agile dealing with is especially evident in city settings, the place its small measurement and sharp, direct steering make it straightforward to maneuver and slot into site visitors gaps.

Effectively-Balanced Chassis

On the street, the brand new MINI feels livelier than ever, with a well-balanced chassis that invitations spirited driving. The steering is exact however not overly agency, providing a superb mixture of sporty suggestions and on a regular basis consolation. Whereas the automotive weighs almost 1,600 kg, it hides its weight effectively, sustaining good roll resistance and mechanical grip you could lean on pretty laborious. This agility permits the Cooper SE to take care of its poise in corners, supplying you with the boldness to push the automotive a bit tougher.

Nonetheless, the experience might be agency, and there’s noticeable motion over uneven surfaces, a attribute that might develop into tiresome on longer journeys. There’s additionally a little bit of torque steer once you ground the pedal and it might really feel bizarre in the event you don’t count on it. Fortunately, the front-end bites instantly and you keep management of the entrance axle. Regardless of these challenges, the MINI engineers have managed to take care of a superb stage of management, with a pleasant development of the facility supply.

The brakes are enough for the automotive of this measurement and weight, they usually chunk fairly laborious when wanted. As fans of one-pedal electrical driving, I examined the brand new MINI Cooper SE in its highest regenerative braking B mode, which additionally enhances effectivity. There have been some clean transitions from regenerative to friction braking with none uncommon behaviors.

MINI has additionally achieved an ideal job with the cabin insulation. Flip off the electrical results and the 2024 MINI Cooper SE provides a notably quiet experience, with solely minimal street and wind noise turning into obvious at increased speeds.

Concerning sounds and results, my present favourite is the “Timeless Expertise.” Why, you may ask? It integrates a slice of Mini’s racing heritage into the automotive. Renzo Vitale, the BMW Group musician and composer, recorded sounds from the 1960 Mini Morris and digitized them for the brand new Cooper Electrical. What’s extra, the “Timeless” sound results tackle a extra futuristic tone as you speed up.

And eventually, the brand new MINI Cooper is stuffed with persona. Along with the DJ turntable Easter egg, there’s one other playful function within the Inexperienced Expertise. Whenever you drive effectively, an animated hummingbird flaps its wings on the show. In the event you begin to push the automotive tougher, the hummingbird disappears, changed by a graphic of a giant cat sprinting.

Very cheeky, MINI, very cheeky!

Comparability to F56 Cooper SE

Undoubtedly, the J01 Cooper Electrical has a barely heavier really feel and drive in comparison with the F56, primarily as a result of 160 kilograms (352 lbs) weight distinction. Regardless of this mannequin boasting about 30 extra horsepower, it’s difficult to utterly conceal the added weight. Nonetheless, I imagine this trade-off is justified, particularly because the F56’s 140-mile (225 km) vary typically fell brief for a lot of customers. Personally, I’m keen to sacrifice a little bit of the driving dynamics for an almost 80 % enhance in vary.

P.S. I do have a gentle spot for the fake hood scoops and facet scuttles on the F56.

Ought to I Purchase The 2025 MINI Cooper SE?

Total, the MINI Cooper SE combines the essence of the traditional MINI with trendy electrical effectivity, delivering a driving expertise that, whereas tailored for an electrical future, doesn’t stray removed from the agility and enjoyable of its petrol-powered predecessors. However is it a pure MINI Cooper? In all probability not, however that’s the battle of placing the MINI’s DNA and heritage in electrical autos. But, it’s a superb try and plenty of enjoyable!

In the event you’re available in the market for a enjoyable every day driver and occur to stay in Europe, then the brand new Cooper SE stands out as a powerful candidate within the burgeoning section of premium sub-compact EVs. Nonetheless, in the event you’re in america, this feature isn’t accessible but. MINI is gearing as much as launch an EV manufacturing line in Oxford by 2026, which may probably open up the American market to those fashions, however it could take a while earlier than they’re accessible stateside.

As for the way forward for the EV market post-2026, it stays unsure. So for now, in the event you’re desperate to expertise the Cooper SE, take into account reserving a visit to Europe, renting one, and having fun with the scenic and slender European roads!




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