This week we are reviewing the MINI Cooper S E. Our vehicle was assembled at the Cowley plant in the United Kingdom and has an MSRP of 47,990.00 CAD before incentives.
Fun Factor: 9
Can it Family: 4
City Cruising: 10
The MINI Coopers S E is the first widely available electric MINI. Yet, some of its components, such as the electric drivetrain, utilizes technology initially developed for the BMW i3. While MINI hasn't developed a dedicated electric platform for its Cooper, they made incredible enhancements to fit a T-shaped battery underneath the vehicle. To fit the battery, they have raised the vehicle without affecting the vehicle's centre of gravity. They managed to lower it and give it a better weight distribution than its Internal combustion variant. Handling is exquisite, and we would not have expected less from MINI; the same goes for the turning circle of the electric MINI and road comfort. We found both of these to be better than in the traditional MINI. Acceleration is quite impressive, boasting a 0-100km/h in 7.3 seconds, almost as fast as the regular Cooper S, even though the electric variant feels faster from the starting line.
Yes, the MINI Cooper S E is pure enjoyment, it does have an Achilles' heel, and that is its range! The advertised range is up to 177km in ideal conditions; while we did achieve up to 187km with a charge, the same is not true when the mercury goes north or when driving on the Hwy we saw the range dip as low as 125km.
The Cooper S E seats 4. Seating for driver and co-pilot have been designed around different body types; hence even taller drivers will feel like they've taken place in a vehicle that is a lot bigger than it looks from the outside. The rear seats are just a little less practical compared to the traditional Cooper. To use these seats, passengers in front can't be taller than 5ft8, or it will compromise their overhead space and comfort. Space for a compact stroller is possible; you will have to place it diagonally, and if that doesn't work, you can always fold down one of the rear seats.
The electric consumption in the city during our regular test route was 12.6 kWh/100km, and on the Hwy, we saw an average of 15.5 kWh/100km, for a combined average of 17.9 kWh/100km. Temperature oscillated between -1c and +17c. Now, you may ask why our average is higher; with our unpredictable weather this time of year, we had temperatures dipping below freezing point outside; we then saw an average electric consumption of 21.7 kWh. MINI announces the following electric consumption 18.2 kWh/100km in the city, 20.9 kWh/100km on the Hwy and a combined result of 19.4kWh/100km.
The Harman Kardon sound system sounds divine in the MINI Cooper S E, mainly thanks to the lack of engine noise and vibration. You can enjoy the music to its full potential. When it comes to infotainment, MINI uses a variation of BMW iDrive called MINI Connected; in our vehicle, we had the larger 8.8-inch high-resolution touchscreen that also includes Apple CarPlay. Unfortunately, Android Auto wasn't available for this 2021 model. It is simple to use, and even though it is a touch screen, we've been drawn to use the click wheel instead of the touchscreen outside of Apple CarPlay. MINI has also updated the smartphone App that controls certain functions as preconditioning or the vehicle charging status and made it more appealing to the eye. However, something that the new app doesn't have is the electric consumption indicator. Showing you how efficiently your last drive has been to improve your driving habits.
Yes, it's possible to install car seats in the MINI Cooper S E. Car seats can slide in from the doors, or if you have a larger car seat, they can also be put in place from the trunk while folding down one of the rear seats. Once installed, the ISOFIX ports are easily accessible, and we had no trouble latching the car seat in place. It will take away the legroom from the passenger as the legroom is already limited in the back. Younger children gaining access to the rear seats will require help from an adult to push the seat forward; from that point, getting into place will be easy. Buckling their seatbelt shouldn't be too much hassle. On the other hand, adults may find it a little awkward due to the separation in the middle. Another question we received was if a stroller fit in the trunk, it would have to be compact, and we found one that fits perfectly and still provided space for other items.
Finally, how is it in the city? With its limited range, the MINI Cooper S E is perfect for city commuting. Most commutes are less than 25 km per day, making it possible to go through a week without charging it. If you charge it daily, the Cooper S E's announced range of 177km will be more than enough to drive across town and back. All the while having the best time of your life behind the wheel of your MINI. Even over bumps, the Cooper S E feels more comfortable than its ICE counterpart.
Why would we buy the MINI Cooper S E, or what we liked about it? Short charging time on a level 2 charger (4h) and DC quick charging can take as little as 35 minutes to get you back to 80%. Amazing handling; it has been quite hard to return the MINI Cooper S E as it's been one of our favourite handling vehicles of the year. Premium look inside and outside. One of the most affordable electric vehicles in Canada when chosen in its base trim.
Why would we not buy the Cooper S E or what we did not like about it? Its limited range might be pushing buyers away; rear seating is only for kids. Options can bring the vehicle's price up very quickly.
MINI has loaned us this vehicle to facilitate this review. We have no affiliation with MINI Canada. The above is a recollection of our personal opinion of the car referred above.