Mini Cooper 3 Door Electric 2021 Review : Take On Mini
Singapore - Hey look! It’s the new electric MINI! Oh but wait! Didn’t Mini just launch their first EV a short while ago? Well actually yes they did. And they have decided to spare no time in bringing us the facelifted version of the car.
So what is new on the “new” Mini Electric? For starters, Mini seems to have taken a liking to us, and have redesigned the Mini’s front end to pay homage to a certain Derryn Wong. Well actually, this is to align the car with the rest of its range. With this alignment, the Mini Electric loses that fancy yellow strip that spans across the grille, while the fog lamps on the bumper have also been omitted. But what has not been omitted is that happy-cheery appearance, and Electric yellow accents. The Electric 3 Door also sits a smidge higher than its ICE 3 and 5 Door siblings, in order to accommodate the batteries fitted underneath.
On the inside, while most things are familiar, the dash garnish has been revised slightly, and we also have redesigned air-conditioning vents. The 8.8-inch infotainment display now sits within an attractive laser-etched bezel. There is also a new steering wheel featuring glossy flushed buttons, though I dislike that the new buttons feel loose.
The 211 litre boot may not be large, but there is plenty of practicality built into the Mini 3 Door, like a double floor, and 60/40 split rear seats which fold to allow up to 731 litres of cargo space.
The Mini Electric, while the first fully electrified MINI to be fielded, is not the first car from the group. The quirky-but-innovative BMW i3 which bows out this year, has the distinction of being the group’s first small EV, and this would mean that electrification is something that BMW’s sister company, MINI would know very well.
The 3 Door Mini Electric plays right into Sir Alec Issigonis’s idea that a compact city car should be heaps of the F-word to drive, and is still (sort of) able to transport the kids in tow… and it should be economical to run. And since this is an EV, it actually is… fun i mean, and you get to drive clean too.
The Mini Electric’s motor delivers the same 184hp and 270Nm as the pre-facelift car, allowing the small hatchback to reach 100km/h in 7.3 seconds. This means that it hits that mark somewhere in-between the Cooper and Cooper S petrol 3 Door models.
While it is the heaviest 3 Door variant, weighing in at 1,440 kg, Mini’s first EV accelerates within our expectations on paper. Off the line, the small hatchback accelerates instantaneously, with a faint hum from the front. Often, you will find yourself ahead of the pack, without much effort. If you have a heavy right foot, you can easily chirp the front wheels, especially when putting power down while exiting a bend. The promise of Mini’s go-kart like handling can still be felt, with its quick steering, and firm suspension.
The car’s regenerative braking is something that needs some getting used to, especially when you lift off the throttle. With some adapting, you can simply lift off to shed speed before entering a corner.
While manufacturers have their own idea of how much adjustable regenerative braking a car should have, I would have appreciated it if this could be turned off completely, as I have a habit of letting a car (especially an EV) glide when it can, like in the Polestar 2 we recently reviewed. The Mini has just two “regen” settings, a standard one, and full-fat; the latter which would be ideal for those who come from the ‘One-Foot Driving’ camp.
The Mini Electric may not even come close to providing the greatest range among compact EVs. Its 96-cell, 32.6 kWh power source provides a claimed maximum of 234km, which to me equates to four days of varied throttle inputs. But the lower-than-average range I feel, should not even worry buyers who are giving Mini’s very first EV a serious look, as most would have ensured that they would have their very own access to charging infrastructure.
And while Mini launched their first EV salvo with their haloed 3 Door model, we can be sure that variety is around the corner, once Mini fields electrified variants to the rest of their range.
PHOTOS Clifford Chow
MINI Cooper SE (MINI Electric)
Electric Motor 184hp, 270Nm
Battery Lithium ion, 32.6kWh
Charge Time / Type 3.5 hours / 11kW Wallbox
Electric Range 235-270km
Top Speed 150km/h