Sixty years after its birth, the MINI electrifies its flagship model for the second time. But this time, she has much more than her good face to convince. This is what the new Mini Cooper SE looks like and there’s no point in hiding it from you any longer: we were more than impressed during its presentation at the Lyon Auto Show.
Even if it evolves very little in terms of style, the new electric Mini is quite easy to spot. Certainly, it retains its very short overhangs, its long wheelbase which have been the hallmark of the car since its very first generation and it only takes a very small centimeter in length (3.56 m), but its completely revised grille , its flush door handles and wheel arches that abandon plastic are immediately noticeable.
Idem, if the optics remain circular at the front (but get rid of their chrome, considered too polluting), the daytime running lights customizable in three different patterns will allow its owner to distinguish his model a little from those of the others.
At the rear, the headlights are now flush and more vertical, like the very first Mini.
In the passenger compartment, the same observation. Certainly, all Minis had retained the round central instrumentation positioned in the center of the dashboard under which there was a row of control buttons, but this new Mini Cooper SE reincarnates the combination in a very beautiful way, with a large round central screen and the disappearance of any instrument behind the steering wheel. Like on “the real one”, in short.
Also read: Mini – a new electric model will arrive with more autonomy in 2024
Finally, when we say that every instrument has disappeared from behind the steering wheel, that’s not entirely true either. The new Mini has an optional head-up display which will inform the driver of the essentials. Note: the start command, in the shape of an old-fashioned key, is also located in the center of the dashboard. In addition to being aesthetic, it is a smart way to lower manufacturing costs by simplifying the complexity of the process, since it does not require any adaptation, whether the steering wheel is on the right or on the left.
Around the instrumentation, we will also not fail to notice the surfaces which are now 100% textile, a first there too. As you can imagine, it is a fiber made from recycled polyester.
Zoom on the screen
The imposing central screen alone deserves a little attention. This OLED panel 24 centimeters in diameter displays version 9 of the Mini Operating System, obviously controllable by touch but also by voice. It is intended to be as simple to use as a smartphone, but we will have to judge on the evidence as manufacturers have never failed to assert this for around ten years, always failing to make it a reality in practice.
When we think of Mini, we also and always think of “karting”. A reference now perfectly accepted, since among the driving modes offered (up to 7 depending on the version), we find a Go-Kart mode which creates a sportier atmosphere, notably with red lighting and an analog design of the on-board instruments.
In reality, it is in its innards that the new electric Mini evolves the most. Where the previous version was a little short on everything (small 32 kWh battery, low autonomy, DC charging limited to 50 kW), the new iteration now houses a 54.2 kWh battery and a DC charging capacity of 100 kW , the AC load remaining at 11 kW. The power of the electric machine increases from 184 to 218 horsepower and 0 to 100 km/h is achieved in 6.7 seconds, or 0.6 seconds better than the previous model. Only the trunk loses a little of its capacity, at 200 liters instead of 211, but it makes up for it with the bench folded, with a capacity which then increases from 731 to 800 liters.
The new MINI COOPER SE is sold from 38,000 euros.