With the Cooper SE, MINI has inevitably gone down the EV path. However, MINI claims the Cooper SE retains the dynamics of the conventional three-door hatch.
The MINI Cooper SE becomes the marque's first-ever mass-production EV and also one of the first premium small cars to be purely-electric. However, despite the usual weight gain and a missing engine, MINI claims that the Cooper SE has been developed while keeping in mind the driving dynamics and go-kart-like agility of the conventional Cooper S. Visually, to differentiate it from its siblings, the Cooper SE features bespoke style elements (bright yellow-painted accents, different alloy wheels & 'E' badging on the tailgate).
Coming to the specifics, the Cooper SE weighs 1,365kg, which makes it about only 145kg heavier than a 3-Door MINI Cooper S with Steptronic transmission (a remarkable feat). The high-voltage, 32.6kWh battery pack features a T-shaped structure and has been set low into the floor. Not only does this help in a better & lower centre of gravity (better handling) but it also gives the Cooper SE the same boot capacity as the regular, ICE-powered 3-Door MINI (211 litres by default, 731 litres with rear seats folded). However, to ensure that the battery remains well protected, the Cooper SE gets an 18mm higher ground clearance.
The minimum weight gain can also be attributed to the Cooper SE's compact & lightweight electric motor, which generates 181bhp and 270Nm of torque. Depending on the version, the Cooper SE offers a claimed driving range of 235-270km, while managing a 0-100km/h time of 7.3 seconds. While the powertrain has been borrowed from the BMW i3s, in the Cooper SE, the electric motor only powers the front wheels.
To ensure that the front wheels provide maximum traction getting off the line, the Cooper SE gets a modified Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system with wheel-slip limiting. Further, it also retains the signature MINI Drive Modes (SPORT, MID & GREEN) with the addition of a fourth GREEN+ mode. GREEN+ mode allows further customisation of controls to optimise the driving range. Like most modern EVs, the Cooper SE is also fast-charge-enabled, capable of getting charged up to 80 per cent in 35 minutes with a 50kW DC fast-charger. Using a regular 11kW wall-mounted charger, the Cooper SE can get a full charge in about 3.5 hours.