MINI Cooper review

MINI Cooper Electric

We get behind the wheel of the next-generation pure electric MINI hatchback…

As the saying goes, you wait ages for a bus and then two come along at once. MINIs are a bit like that.

After a lean period on the launch front, this year has already seen the unveiling of the all-new MINI Aceman crossover, and the introduction of the third generation MINI Countryman family SUV.

Now there’s the subject of this road test – the fifth-generation MINI hatch. Or to be precise, the MINI Cooper, as it’s now known.

Built on a new EV platform, there are two versions so far – the Cooper E and SE.

MINI Cooper Electric

Priced from £30,000, the entry-level Cooper E gets a 40.7kWh battery that’s good for 190 miles of range in official tests. Power output is 187bhp, which means it’s capable of a swift 0-62mph time of 7.3 seconds.

Splash out on a Cooper SE (from £34,500) and battery capacity increases to 54.2kWh for a range of up to 250 miles. Its 215bhp means it can sprint to 62mph in an even quicker 6.7 seconds.

Just as importantly, the E and SE can be charged at 75kW and 95kW respectively, meaning a 10-80% recharge takes around 30 minutes.

Like the rest of the new MINI family, the Cooper embraces a more minimalist look. There’s no chrome trim, but there’s still that iconic body shape with the wheels pushed out to the corners, plus trademark circular headlights.

MINI Cooper Electric

At the rear, the lights are customisable, so customers can choose between three different light signatures, including the familiar Union Flag option.

It’s paired back inside too, and now the centrepiece is the world’s first circular OLED display.

Serving as an instrument cluster and onboard infotainment hub, the stunning touchscreen is 9.4 inches in diameter. The upper half displays vehicle-related information such as speed and battery status, with the lower area is used for navigation, media, phone and climate.

Frankly, it’s a little overwhelming at first because there’s an awful lot going on there, but we reckon it would all start to make sense after a week or so of ownership. Thankfully, MINI has kept a few signature toggle switches below the touchscreen.

MINI Cooper Electric

The display’s party trick is a range of different ‘Experience’ modes, which change the look of the infotainment system and the car’s driving characteristics.

The default ‘Experience’ mode is referred to as Core – the others are Green, Go-Kart, Personal, Vivid, Timeless and Balance. Whenever you change the mode there’s a corresponding animation and jingle that plays. You’ll either find these quirky or irritating.

There’s are three trim levels (Classic, Exclusive and Sport) – each with its own theme. Classic’s highlights include a 2D knitted textile dashboard covering and black synthetic leather sports seats. Exclusive gets a two-tone houndstooth pattern for its knitted textile trim on the dash panel and perforated sports seats, while Sport delivers multi-coloured knitted textile and black synthetic leather with red stitching.

Premium quality of the cabin has always been a MINI strength. Except for the soft synthetic leather seats, I’d say the new model isn’t quite as classy, with its blend of rough-textured ‘knitted’ fabric made from recycled materials wrapped round the dashboard and door cards, and scratchy plastic surfaces below.

MINI Cooper Electric

There’s also the small matter of rear seat and boot space. Same old story here, because despite being a tad longer, the new MINI is still snug in the back, while luggage space is a modest 200 litres, rising to 800 litres with the rear seats folded.

That said, it is well equipped. Every MINI Cooper comes with adaptive cruise control, a rear-view camera, ambient lighting and a heated steering wheel, for instance.

MINIs are known for their go-kart driving experience, and the EV version doesn’t disappoint. There’s fantastic performance thanks to all that instant torque, while sharp-steering, superb grip and almost no body lean make it feel like it’s running on rails.

That said, some may find the ride on the stiff side, and the handling can get fidgety if you push too far.

Gareth Herincx driving the MINI Cooper Electric

I suspect owners will probably stick to default Core mode with its light steering feel and moderate throttle response, but it’s fun to shift it into Go Kart for short bursts too, with its heavier steering, quicker downshifts and sharper throttle response.

Frankly, there not a huge gulf between the E and SE on the road. If anything, the lighter E (smaller battery) is slightly more nimble, despite having fewer horses. Naturally, the E and SE are particularly easy to drive around town.

Unlike many EVs, the brakes are progressive, while the regenerative system works well, with a good selection of levels.

Gareth Herincx driving the MINI Cooper Electric

It always seems unfair to criticise road and wind noise when reviewing an EV, because obviously it’s going to be more noticeable, but it was higher than expected – especially on poorer road surfaces.

We drove both models back-to-back during an entertaining, sunny day in the Cotswolds. In real-world driving, we’d expect the Cooper E to manage around 160 miles and the SE closer to 200 miles, depending on the weather and location. And, if you drive mainly in urban areas, your range should be closer to the official WLTP figures.

Overall, the retro cool new Cooper is not perfect, but in many ways it’s everything you’d hope for from an electric MINI.

Verdict: The all-new, all-electric MINI Cooper is a worthy descendant of the iconic original. Yes, it’s much bigger, but it still oozes character, puts a big smile on your face, and it’s packed with cutting-edge tech. Job done.

MINI Cooper Electric


Renault opens pop-up store at London’s Westfield Shopping Centre

Gareth Herincx

32 mins ago
Auto News

Renault pop-up store Westfield Shopping Centre

Visitors to the Renault store at Europe’s largest indoor shopping mall will be able to test drive a trio of electrified E-Tech models.

The ‘Car of the Year 2024’ – the Scenic E-Tech 100% electric – the Megane E-Tech 100% electric and Austral E-Tech full hybrid will all be available until July 28.

New Renault 5

As well as the model display, there will be one of the first public outings of the much-anticipated pure electric Renault 5, a dedicated games and activity area, merchandise and a French patisserie.

Those interested in taking a test drive can book their slot in advance. Once they have completed their test drive, they will then receive up to six hours of free parking at the venue.

“Renault Scenic E-Tech 100% electric and our wider electrified E-Tech range are designed for modern living, combining optimum space and usability with style, high levels of connectivity and a fun driving experience,” said David Isherwood, Marketing Director, Renault UK.

“Making them conveniently available during people’s visits to Westfield Shopping Centre demonstrates just how easily they can fit into their lifestyle and allows all the family to enjoy the experience of electrified driving.”


Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who’s worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

Check Also

Tesla Model Y

Tesla Model Y officially the world’s best-selling new car of 2023

Sales of the Tesla Model Y hit 1.22 million in 2023, according to analysis of …

Remember your ‘other battery’, EV drivers advised

Gareth Herincx

5 mins ago
Auto News

Kia Niro EV

Many electric car drivers are unaware that their EV has a crucial 12-volt battery that is essential to the running of their vehicle, leading breakdown provider Start Rescue has revealed.

A faulty or flat 12-volt battery is the main reason for an EV breakdown, rather than unfounded worries about the main battery’s range.

Start Rescue’s research shows 23.7% of EV call-outs are due to the car not starting with the key, which is less than the 29.7% figure for petrol and diesel cars for the same issue.

“EVs are very reliable but, like all cars, it has a 12-volt battery that needs to be looked after,” says Lee Puffett, Managing Director of Start Rescue.

“Overall, EVs are less likely to require a breakdown call-out than ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles, but EVs need to be driven to avoid the 12-volt battery going flat over time.”

Alongside the large high voltage battery that powers an EV’s motor, the 12-volt system is vital for door locks, ignition, air conditioning, safety equipment, and running crucial controls for the electric drivetrain.

The 12-volt battery in an EV is simple to maintain and Start Rescue advises drivers to use their EV regularly as the best way to look after both of its batteries – especially the 12-volt battery for all of the important systems that make it work.

“Charging up the car regularly will top up the 12-volt battery as it charges differently to an ICE car,” adds Lee.

“Pre-conditioning the car’s cabin temperature while it’s on charge is a big help, and you can also use a ‘trickle’ charger if you know the car will be parked up for longer periods, such as when you go on holiday.”

Check Also

Toyota Corolla police patrol car

Toyota Corolla reports for duty with UK police

The Toyota Corolla is a proud new recruit to the UK’s police – tailor-made and …

Meet the all-new, all-electric Skoda Elroq

Home / Auto News / Meet the all-new, all-electric Skoda Elroq

Gareth Herincx

33 mins ago
Auto News

Skoda Elroq

Skoda has released the first official pictures of its Elroq compact SUV.

The camouflaged prototype looks like a cross between the bigger Enyaq and similarly-sized, conventionally-powered Karoq. It will have a range as high as 348 miles and charging times as quick as 28 minutes.

The first Skoda model to adopt the new ‘Modern Solid’ design language, it will combine comfort with practicality and value-for-money.

Skoda Elroq

The introduction of the Elroq marks the beginning of Skoda’s new EV offensive, which will see the launch of six battery-electric cars over the coming years.

There’s no official word on UK pricing yet, but we’d expect the range to start below £40,000. Rivals will include the Volvo EX30, Ford Explorer and upcoming Kia EV3.


Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who’s worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

Check Also

Toyota Aygo

Toyota Aygo crowned ‘Used Car of the Year’

Automotive data company cap hpi has announced the winners of its Used Car of the …

DeLorean DMC-12 finally gets its spark

Gareth Herincx

50 mins ago
Auto News

Pure electric DeLorean DMC-12 buy Electromagnetic

UK-based EV technology company Electrogenic has launched a ‘plug-and-play’ conversion package for the iconic DeLorean DMC-12 – star of the Back to the Future films.

Swapping the film star’s V6 petrol engine for a quicker, cleaner electric motor finally delivers sports car performance to match its sci-fi looks.

A 43kWh battery has been fitted in place of the rear-mounted fuel tank, while the electric motor is integrated into the rear axle.

Pure electric DeLorean DMC-12 buy Electromagnetic

The motor sends 215bhp and 229lb ft through a fixed-ratio gearbox, resulting in a 0-62mph time of five seconds – twice as quick as the original car. Range is a claimed 150 miles.

The conversion. which costs in the region of £65,000-£85,000, can be fitted to original DMC-12s  and adds just 40kg to the weight of the donor car.

“Since founding Electrogenic in 2018, we’ve seen a great deal of interest from around the world in the prospect of a DeLorean EV conversion,” said Steve Drummond, Electrogenic CEO.

“With its sci-fi design – still jaw-dropping over 40 years on – and underwhelming engine, it really is the perfect candidate for conversion to electric drive.

“We’re now delighted to reveal our ‘plug and play’ conversion package to the world. Developed entirely in-house using our proprietary technology, it gives the DMC-12 the sporting performance its futuristic shape always deserved.”

Check Also

Service station, May 2024

It’s official – UK has most expensive diesel in Europe

The average price of diesel at UK pumps is now higher than anywhere else in …