An electrical Mini isn’t actually a brand new thought. Actually, you’ll be able to return greater than a decade to 2008 for the agency’s first EV providing — the Mini E — a automotive that was in-built extraordinarily restricted numbers with none ever discovering everlasting public houses.
So, what we’re driving at present has been somewhat a very long time within the making. That is the Mini Electrical, the automotive that lays declare to be the primary mass-market electrical Mini and what the agency is completely satisfied to explain as its greatest introduction since BMW took over the reins.
With the electrical automotive market extremely aggressive now although — suppose the likes of the most recent Renault Zoe, new Vauxhall Corsa-e and Peugeot e-208, plus the smaller-but-cuter Honda e — can the Mini Electrical make an impression worthy of the model? We discover out.
In fact, the Mini Electrical is the apparent change to this Mini comes beneath the bonnet with its electrical powertrain, however basic adjustments are very minimal in a bid to maintain the model’s emblems at its core. Maybe impressively, the Electrical is even constructed on the identical manufacturing line as petrol and diesel equivalents, which is at the moment a rarity within the trade.
Modifications elsewhere embrace some optionally available visible tweaks to focus on its battery-powered prowess, although these are a free choice in case you’d desire to fly beneath the radar a bit, whereas it additionally turns into the primary Mini to undertake a brand new ‘Degree 1, 2, 3’ trim line-up that does away with particular person value choices. Lastly, a somewhat snazzy-looking digital show replaces conventional dials and gauges in entrance of the motive force.
How does it look?
Slightly than take some radical method to design, Mini has opted to retain the core look of the automotive for the Electrical with some gentle tweaks right here and there to trace at its electrically charged nature.
Up entrance, its grille define stays however the unit itself is closed off and contains a cut up yellow stripe by way of the centre, whereas colour-matching mirror caps and ‘E’ badging options across the automotive. Rounding out the look is a set of Electrical-exclusive 17-inch alloy wheels.
Although we expect these adjustments are fairly becoming, Mini additionally presents the power to take these bits off for no value in favour of extra typical colors and alloys if that’s your choice.
What’s the spec like?
Pricing for the Mini Electrical kicks off at £24,900 (which is definitely £27,900 minus the £3,000 authorities plug-in) in ‘Degree 1’ guise. Tools right here contains automated air con, cruise management, automated LED headlights, selectable driving modes, satellite tv for pc navigation and rain-sensing wipers.
Shifting up the £26,400 (grant inc.), ‘Degree 2’ builds on that with auto-folding mirrors, a centre armrest, ambient inside lighting, a rear-view digital camera, heated seats, anthracite-coloured headlining and material/leatherette seats.
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Topping the vary is the £30,400 (grant inc.) ‘Degree 3’. This provides full leather-based seats, matrix LED headlights, entrance parking sensors, a Harmon Kardon audio system, a head-up show, a panoramic glass sunroof, self-parking tech and illuminated dashboard panels.
What’s it like inside?
Modifications to the cabin are verging on non-existent for the Mini Electrical, with the one ones of word being a digital show rather than conventional dials and gauges, in addition to a yellow ‘S’ on its Cooper S-branded door sills.
Not that we’re complaining. The entire thing feels extremely nicely put collectively, with a powerful use of soft-touch supplies in each the Degree 2 and three trims we’ve had a crack in. Its new show is exceptionally clear too and does nicely to deal with key data on pace and cost with out feeling overly cluttered in the way in which many digital driver shows right here do.
It needs to be famous although that the Electrical is barely out there as a three-door, so reaching these again seats is a ache. Boot area isn’t compromised although because the batteries sit in the direction of the entrance of the automotive, retaining the hatch’s 211-litre capability — though that determine lags behind the Vauxhall Corsa-e’s 267-litre providing and the Peugeot e-208’s 265 litres.
What’s beneath the bonnet?
Mini is launching the Electrical with simply the one battery capability, although it stays to be seen if extra come down the road. For now, although, that sole choice is a 32.6kWh unit, which can present a claimed driving vary of 145 miles. We’ll come again to that quantity in only a second.
The electrical motor sends 184hp and 270Nm of torque to the entrance wheels. Zero to 60mph comes up in 7.1 seconds, which is only a contact shy of the lighter petrol Cooper S.
Whereas the powertrain itself is fairly spectacular — supply of its grunt is sharp and predictable — the entire thing is vastly compromised by its vary. That 145-mile quantity is the lab determine, examined on the official WLTP mixed cycle. Nonetheless, hopping right into a freshly charged automotive (admittedly on a chilly and wintry day), we’re met with a readout of about 120 miles – and realistically you’ll be able to count on to extract 90-100 miles of that earlier than having to plug again in.
That could be high-quality for the city dweller that covers little or no distance, but it surely makes the Mini Electrical an unviable prospect if lengthy journeys are a standard prevalence. To as soon as once more examine the Mini with the Vauxhall Corsa-e and Peugeot e-208, their official WLTP ranges are 209 and 217 miles, respectively. That’s practically 50% extra vary than the Mini, though these claimed figures may also fall in real-world driving.
What’s it wish to drive?
Thankfully, the swap over to electrical hasn’t compromised what the Mini is so good at within the first place — driving enjoyable.
Take it on a tasty trying again highway and the chassis feels remarkably playful, with all of its agility capable of be uncovered nicely because of its potent powertrain. Its slight further heft does go away the automotive slightly extra vulnerable to understeer than a petroleum Cooper S, however the spirit of its counterpart may be very a lot there.
It’s simply as at residence round city, too. Tackling metropolis streets is a breeze because of its compact nature, the nimbleness of the automotive and powerful visibility. Its experience is on the cruel aspect, nonetheless.
There’s a lot to love concerning the Mini Electrical. The corporate has nailed it on the subject of conserving the electrical mannequin on-point with every part its inside combustion counterparts stand for. It’s a remarkably enjoyable factor to drive, whereas persevering with to ship a snug and appropriately premium expertise inside.
The Automotive Knowledgeable’s distinctive Knowledgeable Ranking analyser has crunched knowledge on 21 UK media evaluations of the Mini Electrical up to now, with an total ranking of 72%. That’s nicely down on the common hatch’s ranking of 80%, with the primary criticisms being the poor battery vary and the hefty price ticket of the Mini Electrical in comparison with an everyday petrol Mini.
In case your automotive doesn’t transfer many miles and area isn’t a problem, this might nicely be the right mix of guilt-free driving and precise enjoyment of a product. Nonetheless, we suspect that key lack of battery vary will do no favours for these with vary nervousness although, and can give rivals a leg up in getting clients into showrooms.
BMW i3 | Honda e | Kia Soul EV | Peugeot e-208 | Renault Zoe | SEAT Mii Electrical | Skoda Citigo e iV | Sensible EQ Fortwo | Vauxhall Corsa-e | Volkswagen e-Up
- Mannequin as examined: Mini Electrical L3
- Worth: £24,900 (together with plug-in grant)
- Engine: Electrical motor
- Battery: 32.6 kWh
- Energy: 184 hp
- Torque: 270 Nm
- High pace: TBA
- 0-60mph: 7.1 seconds
- Vary (WLTP mixed): 145 miles
- Euro NCAP security ranking: Not but examined
- TCE Knowledgeable Ranking: 72% (as of October 2020)