New MINI EV Debuts With Minimalist Cabin & More Range

The 2nd generation all-electric MINI Cooper marks the start of the brand’s all-electric transformation.  

Redesigning an icon is always tricky, as there is always the fine balancing act of blending in the new with the old. BMW however have nevertheless appeared to be able to walk that tightrope masterfully, and is still amazingly able to hang-on even in this new electrified era, as evidenced from the launch of its new electric MINI. 

Before getting into the details of this newly revealed all-electric MINI though (of which there are plenty), it is worth just doing some housekeeping regarding its name first. That is because the days of the confusing MINI Hatch and MINI One names are to be behind us already, as BMW has since decreed for this particular smallest body style of Mini to henceforth be known as the Mini Cooper. The German auto giant has also stated that the Cooper name (which pays homage to the famed British F1 driver and Mini tuner) will only be found on other models within the range for their respective hot JCW (John Cooper Works) variants. 

Now onto the car itself and starting with the outside first, the new MINI Cooper is born from what its designers dub ‘Characteristic Simplicity’ design language. Such as the name implies therefore, the exterior aesthetic of this 2nd-generation EV is radically more minimalist than the outgoing model, with flush-fitting door handles and its body devoid of any shiny chrome trim. 

Even the black body mouldings have been shaved off in pursuit of minimalism, but I for one at least think that the designers might just have been a little bit too gung-ho on the redesign. That is as this Cooper has somehow has lost its MINI-ness (to me at least), with its gaping body-coloured grille and triangular LED taillights looking more like a cheap (and slightly depressed-looking) clone of a MINI instead of the real deal. 

Happily however, one area where the minimalism redesign works well is within its cabin. The new interior of the Cooper calls back to the original Mini launched 64 years ago by just having a single circular central 9.4-inch OLED infotainment touchscreen along its fabric-lined curvy dashboard. To those meanwhile who want to actually easily see essential information while on the road, there is nevertheless also the option of a heads up display available. 

As with the original Mini too, the electric drive of the new Cooper is still resolutely sent through its front wheels only. Sitting on a bespoke EV platform developed as a joint-venture between Great Wall Motor and BMW, two flavours of power will be available from its single front-mounted electric motor at launch, with the lower powered E variant outputting 184 kW and 290 Nm of torque, while the spicier SE meanwhile churns out a healthier 160 kW and 330 Nm of torque. 

It is also worth highlighting here that the Cooper SE also nets a larger 54.2 kWh drive battery, which translates to a driving range of just over 400 km on a single charge. The base E on the other hand has to make do with a smaller range of 305 km, owing to its smaller 40.7 kWh battery. Both variants do nevertheless have various MINI Experience modes to spice up the drive, with each different drive mode (including a new Go Kart mode) bringing their own unique displays, powertrain characteristics and even driving sounds too. 

This new MINI Cooper is slated for to go on sale come Spring 2024, with prices in the UK at least starting from £30,000 (RM 180,000). There will also be a new petrol-powered counterpart available by then too, which will look visually identical to this new EV here but will instead be utilising the platform of the outgoing iteration. 

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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