Motoring

2020 Mini Electric Review – Mini Looks, Mini Style, Mini Handling with an added punch from green power

It’s here. And she’s electric – the All-Electric Mini Cooper S.

By complete co-incidence, combined with a strong Apple Music algorithm that knows I love Oasis, the song She’s Electric came on just a few minutes into my first drive of the all-electric Mini Cooper S.

That’s not just cool because the song has the word Electric in it, but it’s that opening few lines that grabbed me.

  • She’s Electric – yep, this is the first ever fully-electric Mini.
  • She’s in a family full of eccentrics – perhaps Eccentric isn’t the perfect description of BMW, but there are some amazing cars across the BMW/Mini Range, so, I think this family description is fitting.
  • She’s done things I never expected – I mean, come on, I’m driving an ELECTRIC MINI!
  • And I need more time – I got just one day to drive it, so yes, I need more time!

Under the hood – literally, is a single electric motor capable of 135kW of power, 270Nm of torque.

That’s powered by a 32.6kWh battery which combined gives a range of around 233km.

Not a lot of range really – but an electric vehicle nark will go on and on about that, a realist knows that there aren’t too many Mini Coopers doing more than 100km a day, let alone 200.

You see, this car isn’t made to be hooked up to ultra-fast chargers across Australia. It can, but the overwhelming majority of charges will be from home power points.

If you do use a 50kW DC charger you’ll get 80% charge in 35 minutes. But the reality check is at home. You’re looking at a 12 hour charge or more from flat, but who the hell is getting home with a flat battery.

The most likely real-world scenario is you’ve had a busy day, you get home with say 40% charge, and you plug it into the wall – same place you plug in a vacuum.

By 7am the next morning, it’s charged up and ready to go.

0-100 km/h is achieved in 7.3 seconds, not something any average Mini owner gives a rats about frankly, but trust me, the torque on tap has an all-electric feel to it all day long.

Available in four colours, traditionalists will be satisfied with the British racing green, while our White Silver review car looks the goods, if you can live with the vibrant mirrors and accents around the car.

On the White Silver and Midnight Black models – which really are the highlight colours for Mini Electric, you get some pretty out there wheels, while on the Chilli Red and British Racing Green the wheels are more traditional.

Inside there’s a digital dash unique to this car, unlike nothing I’ve seen before.

It has a glare free coating which makes it less ‘gloss” and more practical, with most information shown in the centre, with power dial on the left and battery level on the right.

Harman Kardon sound makes a solo drive with the music turned up a real delight, and it’s all powered through an impressive all digital infotainment system.

Initially I thought there was no Apple CarPlay, plugged in I was almost livid that such a car could lack this. Then I realise what an idiot I am – THIS is a Mini, from the BMW family, BMW have wireless Apple CarPlay.

Connect to Bluetooth and the whole process happens, and boom, Apple CarPlay. Sensational.

There’s adaptive LED headlights, and a solid Head-Up display with speed, speed sign, navigation and music / Phone call display all there in front of you.

Perhaps most importantly, this thing handles like a Mini. In fact, possibly better than any Cooper S you can buy – the low centre of gravity gives you an on-rails like feeling through the corners.

Throw it in, turn it through and punch it out – all sensational with the electric power and the Mini handling.

That battery weighs a lot, and that’s a negative in terms of handling and performance, but I do think that is partly offset by the centre of gravity.

While a John Cooper Works Mini owner might find a preference in that performance, I have no doubt the average Mini Cooper S driver will love what the Electric Mini has to offer.

However. It comes at a price. $60k drive away – which I thought was a great price for an Electric car with that design and that badge. Until I checked the price of a standard Mini Cooper S – $46k. So it’s a $14,000 premium to buy the electric Mini.

Hard to justify on paper, but as someone keen to make the step toward an emission free future, someone who want’s lower running costs, lower maintenance costs and perhaps to compliment an at-home solar and battery solution with almost zero running costs, that’s not going to be a deal breaker.

I wish the price difference was more along the lines of a Petrol to Hybrid comparison, but I think we’re a decade away from that.

So for now, shut up and take my money. I’ll have one in British Racing Green thanks!

2020 Mini Electric Review – Mini Looks, Mini Style, Mini Handling with an added punch from green power
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