2020 MINI Cooper SE

Mauricio Lezcano / carsntravel.com / Photos Mini Media Information

Urban mobility with purely electric drive can now also be experienced in hallmark MINI style. The new MINI Cooper SE makes it possible. It combines sustainable mobility with the riding fun, expressive design and premium quality that are typical of MINI. As such, the first solely electrically powered model of the British brand offers pure MINI feeling with locally emissions-free driving.

Selective modifications and discreet differentiations regarding the conventionally powered model are also characteristic of the design of the new MINI Cooper SE. Powerful proportions, the typical three-part structure consisting of the body frame, all-round greenhouse and roof, short overhangs and widely set wheels are again the characteristic features that set the first purely electrically powered MINI apart from the masses.

Precisely applied accentuations indicate its future-oriented drive system. The charge connection is located above the right-hand rear wheel exactly where the fuel filler neck is positioned on the conventionally powered MINI 3 Door. An embossed MINI Electric logo marks the difference in terms of energy input. Yellow versions of this signet appear on the lateral turn indicator inserts, known as side scuttles, as well as on the tailgate and front radiator grill.

The central element of the MINI Cooper SE front section also features the hallmark hexagonal contour, but this is closed because the electric motor requires very little cooling air. A yellow decorative bar on the grill and exterior mirror caps are finished in the same color, thereby rounding off the model-specific design features. The MINI Cooper SE is fitted as standard with LED headlamps.

Like the model-specific front radiator grill, the largely closed undercarriage and the distinctively designed rear apron contribute to reducing aerodynamic drag. The fact that the electrically powered MINI does not require an exhaust system likewise facilitates air ducting in the undercarriage and at the rear. An aerodynamically optimized surface is also to be found on the optional 17-inch light alloy wheels with asymmetrical design in the MINI Electric Corona Spoke 2-tone version. Like the standard 16-inch light alloy wheels in MINI Electric Revolite Spoke design, the latter are available exclusively for the new MINI Cooper SE.

In the interior, the new MINI Cooper SE comes as standard with seats in Double Stripe Carbon Black fabric; The packages Trim M and Trim L include seats in the fabric/leather combination Black Pearl and Cross Punch Carbon Black leather. The seat variant MINI Yours Lounge Carbon Black leather is included in the package Trim XL. The four optionally available interior fittings for the MINI Cooper SE provide a perfectly harmonized combination of interior surfaces, Color Lines, roof liner color, steering wheel and floor mats.

The Interior Style MINI Dark highlights the sporty side of the new model while the Interior Style MINI light emphasizes its elegant characteristics. The Interior Style MINI Electric features yellow seams and a MINI Electric logo on the floor mats as well as specific surfaces, thereby adding an accentuation that stresses sustainable mobility. Meanwhile, the Interior Style MINI Yours features the outstanding material and finish quality of the interior surface MINI Yours Piano Black illuminated and the MINI Yours sports steering wheel.

In addition, the new MINI Cooper SE is fitted as standard with a model-specific instrument cluster consisting of a 5.5-inch color screen in Black Panel design behind the steering wheel. At the center of this fully digital screen, the road speed is shown in figures with a peripheral scale band. The speed band is also displayed in the light ring of the central instrument in red, white or green, according to the mode selected.

Other digital displays in the instrument cluster provide information on the charge level of the high-voltage battery, the currently selected
MINI Driving Mode, the status of the driver assistance systems and Check Control messages. In addition, details of the range available, current drive power, outside temperature, time and mileage are displayed, along with traffic sign detection reports and high-guiding directions from the navigation system. What is more, it is possible to access telephone contact and audio programmed lists.

Pure driving fun
Spontaneously initiated drive torque and continuous power delivery not interrupted by gear shifts these are the characteristic features of the drive technology fitted in the new MINI Cooper SE. They ensure hallmark MINI driving fun in a novel form that offers a particularly intense experience. The power source is the latest, highly powerful version of the synchronous electric motor developed by the BMW Group.

The specific design principle of the drive enables a high level of power delivery that extends into high engine speed ranges, an exceptionally high level of efficiency and smooth, low vibration running. The motor mobilizes a maximum output of 135 kW/184 hp. Its maximum torque of 270 Nm is already available from standstill, as is characteristic of electric motors. Power transmission to the front wheels is by means of a transmission with single-stage configuration and integrated differential.

The first purely electrically powered MINI also enables the driver to adapt the vehicle setting to the current situation on the road as well as to their own personal preferences. The MINI Driving Modes are selected by means of a switch located on the right-hand side of the toggle bar. There are four modes to choose from in the MINI Cooper SE. Sport mode differs from the standard MID setting, with a more direct characteristic steering curve and a particularly spontaneous response of the drive system; The comfort-oriented steering characteristics of the MID setting are also active in GREEN mode, as well as in the new GREEN+ mode specially configured for the new MINI Cooper SE. What is more, the drive system in these two latter modes is geared towards maximum efficiency.

MINI ELECTRIC provides flexibility when charging
The energy for electrifying driving fun is drawn by the new MINI Cooper SE from the power grid, to which it can be connected via a conventional household power socket, the MINI ELECTRIC Wallbox or a public charging station. Its charging connection is designed for AC and DC charging using Type 2 and CCS Combo 2 plugs. Above the connection, a charge level indicator displays orange signals for initialization, pulsating yellow light for an ongoing charging operation, and green light for a fully charged battery.

The standard charging cable is available for connection to a household socket. A MINI ELECTRIC Wallbox is optionally available for home charging as well as a three-phase cable for use at public charging stations. Both options allow the high-voltage battery to be charged with a maximum capacity of 11 kW to 80 percent in two and a half hours, and 100 percent in three and a half hours. A DC fast-charging station allows the vehicle’s energy reserves to be refreshed even more quickly. The charging unit is designed for a maximum charging capacity of 50 kW, allowing an 80 per cent charge to be achieved in just 35 minutes.

An installation service is also offered in conjunction with the MINI ELECTRIC Wallbox. The wallbox can be mounted in garages as well as in covered car ports. The ChargeNow service is available for maximum charging convenience, this gives customers access to the world’s biggest network of public charging stations. Registration at the charging station and payment of the electric current used is via the ChargeNow card or the relevant smartphone app.

The spontaneous power delivery of its 135 kW/184 hp motor, the brand specific front-wheel drive, and the innovative driving dynamics system with wheel slip limiting close to the actuator, give the new MINI Cooper SE a particularly intense and unmistakable agility, known as the go-kart feeling. Its model-specific lithium-ion battery enables a range of 146 to 167 miles. The high-voltage battery is situated deep in the vehicle floor, ensuring there are no limitations in terms of luggage compartment volume as compared to the conventionally powered MINI 3 Door.

The new Mini Cooper SE has a starting price of $29,900.00 for the Signature Trim Level, the one I tested the 2020 Mini Cooper SE with the Iconic Trim Level starts at $36,900.00 and features MINI Yours leather steering wheel, Park Distance Control (front and rear), Parking assistant, MINI Head-Up display, 8.8” touchscreen navigation, Wireless charging, Cooper SE specific floor mats and 17 Inch Corona Spoke Wheels.


Emilio Lezcano

Journalist - Editor - Photographer
Professional Race Car Driver