MINI Cooper SE Leaves Much To Be Desired

Mini Cooper SE electric hatchback interior

After coming away impressed by our stint in a prototype, we're excited to get our hands on the new electric Mini.

The front-wheel drive-motor is rated at 181 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque, and Mini says it can punch from 0 to 62 miles per hour in a fairly quick 7.3 seconds.

Six decades after the original Mini first rolled off the production line in Oxford, its owner BMW has unveiled a new electric version it hopes will herald a new era - and help the German carmaker meet looming European Union emissions targets.

Sixty years after the release of the first Mini, a revolution in vehicle design at the time, BMW has launched the full electric version, with a range of up to 270kms, and a "waiting" list of customers that it says already tops 40,000. Most notably, the grille is nearly completely closed off by a grey panel, decorated by a signature yellow bar, while the side mirrors can also painted yellow (the standard colour is grey) and the vehicle is available with unique 17-inch, four-spoke alloy wheels sporting an asymmetrical design, with one really long spoke. For street parkers in large cities, every kilometre more range is a gain in comfort.

Powering the e-motor is a high-voltage battery, which is made up of lithium-ion cells that are subdivided into 12 modules.

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According to Pieter Nota, BMW's board member overseeing customers, brands and sales, more than 40,000 people have registered their interest in the auto.

The battery will be shaped in a "T" and lay deep in the chassis, delivering a low centre of gravity. The trunk volume of 211 to 731 litres remains unchanged when the rear seat is folded down. The Cooper SE rides 18 mm higher to ensure sufficient ground clearance for the high-voltage battery. Still, it's 319 pounds heavier than a Mini Cooper S 2-door hardtop. The company said in a press release today that the electric version will be integrated into the same production lines at the Oxford plants as the ICE models.

However, there is one difference to the BMW models: while in the i3 the strength of the recuperation can only be changed with the driving modes, in the Mini the driver can select the efficiency of the energy recovery himself. More instances of the signet and yellow accents can be found on the side scuttles, side mirrors, rear hatch and charging port door. After each engine start, the auto changes to the high step. Reports suggest a price in England of £24,400, after a government grant of £3,500. Leasing is said to start "below £300 per month".

The Mini Cooper Electric will make its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, with production commencing in November.

According to the British automaker, the MINI Cooper SE is quite fun to drive thanks to its 135 kW (184 PS / 181 HP) electric motor, which also provides you with 270 Nm (200 lb-ft) of instant torque. The new Mini Electric runs purely on battery.

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