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MINI Cooper SE (2023 - )

MINI is building on the success of the previous Cooper Electric model which notched up 24,117 UK sales from its launch in 2019

Starting price:
£34,500 (£39,220 with options)

Why we love it:
  • Superb handling with that ‘go-kart’ performance that the MINI name prides itself on
  • Competitively priced for an electric car
  • Modern, feature-rich and comfortable interior
Where it could be better:
  • Virtually no rear leg room (even for children)
  • Beware the options list, it will bump up the costs
  • Drive modes are hidden in an over-complicated ‘Experiences’ menu
Secure your test drive today
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Introduction

MINI Cooper SE

MINI is laying down the gauntlet to rivals with the launch of its latest Cooper line-up with some electric models that certainly raise the bar in the sector.
Customers can select from three or five-door petrol-powered models with a convertible due to land towards the end of the year.
But the big news is the new electrified Cooper, which is only available in three-door guise, but is on offer with two battery sizes. Firstly, there is the Cooper Electric E with a 40.7kWh battery which provides up to 190 miles of range between charges, And the range-topping Cooper Electric SE boasts a 54.2kWh unit which offers extra range of up to 250 miles.
To keep things simple there is a kind of building blocks theme when creating the perfect electric MINI. Initially buyers decide which model they want – either the Cooper Electric E or SE and then they begin to personalise to taste. Starting with the entry-grade Classic trim, it can be bumped up to Exclusive or Sport for a fee. Finally, there are Levels called 1, 2 or 3 that introduce additional packs to the mix.
For our test drive through the beautiful Cotswolds, we opted for the Cooper Electric SE in Exclusive guise with Level 2 add-ons.
 

MINI Cooper SE

One glance in the direction of the three-door MINI Cooper SE and it’s clear the designers have stayed very true to its roots with short overhangs, a short bonnet, a striking new hexagonal grille with filigree contour and the traditional circular headlights which are offered in three unique light signatures for the first time.
There are flush door handles, while the wheel arches and scuttles have been removed completely, new rear lights, a choice of 17 or 18-inch wheels, along with three new colours called Blazing Blue (as tested), Sunny Side Yellow and Legend Grey joining the existing palette.
Moving inside, you will be relieved to see all the MINI hallmarks that have become so iconic, but there is definitely a modern twist. The curved dashboard features a textured surface for the first time which has been developed through a specialist knitting process – it looks much better than it sounds – certainly no knit one, drop one here!
The air vents are flat to the dash and there is a head-up display offering vital data such as speed and navigational directions. Beneath the dashboard, the newly designed toggle bar offers access to key features such as drive modes, gear selector, start/stop, parking brake and volume control.
But the eye candy in this car is the all-new central infotainment dial measuring 240mm in diameter and featuring the very latest MINI Operating System 9 set-up. It looks upmarket and classy and is the access point to the on-board tech. The upper section is where speed, battery charge levels and other vehicle-related information is displayed, while the lower half houses functions such as navigation, phone, media and climate control. There are widgets and swipe actions to make access easier, along with a voice-activated personal assistant.
Full smartphone connectivity, heated seats, a heated steering wheel and a panoramic glass sunroof completed the wealth of features on our test model.
 

On The Road

MINI Cooper SE

Handling & Performance

Powering the three-door MINI Copper SE is a 54.2kWh battery delivering 218hp and 330Nm of torque, which results in some pretty nifty performance times. It can complete the 0-62mph dash in a very respectable 6.7 seconds and maxes out at 106mph. This model has a driving range of 250 miles between charges.
The acceleration through the single-speed automatic transmission is super-quick and there is ample power on tap for bursts of pace when needed. This helps to make light work of quick overtaking or joining fast moving motorway traffic from a slip road.
But the MINI name is renowned for its agility and handling when faced with more challenging roads, and this hatchback will tick all the right boxes for driving purists looking for a few thrills along the way. It’s poised, balanced and, thanks to its low centre of gravity, a delight to push on through twisting country lanes.
The powerful brakes, tuned suspension and damping system are all assets while the driving style can be accompanied by various sounds tracks too.
The drive modes are hidden in a menu that MINI calls Experiences. These are called Core, Green, Go Kart, Personal, Vivid, Timeless and Balance with only the first three actually changing the driving dynamics while the others are more focused on the ambience and mood within the car. I’m not sure just how many owners will actually explore them all to be truthful, but time will tell.
In busier town centres and villages, the visibility forwards, sideways and backwards is excellent, but the over-the shoulder view is slightly blocked out by the wide pillar that is positioned quite a way back.
There is a B mode that strengthens the level of regenerative braking although single-pedal driving is not quite possible. 
 

MINI Cooper SE

Space & Practicality

The MINI Copper SE is a pretty compact three-door model that stretches 3,858mm in length, is 1,967mm wide (including mirrors) and 1,460mm in height.
Up front, a couple of tall adults can fit comfortably with ample head, leg and elbow space. And with plenty of seat and steering wheel adjustment (both manual), finding a perfect driving position won’t take long.
However, rear legroom, even with the front seats partially back, is very tight. Push them right back and the seats are only suitable to throw a jacket or bag on. But that is the nature of these types of cars, so if more passenger space is needed, maybe look up the range towards a five-door Cooper model. Or if driving an EV is the priority, maybe the Countryman or the all-new MINI Aceman which will sit between the two when it arrives later in the year.
But back to our test car – the boot can swallow 210 litres of luggage, which is ample for a weekly supermarket run, and this capacity increases to 800 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
Elsewhere, there are plenty of handy storage options, including a glovebox, covered central compartment which is ideal for sunglasses, quite narrow door pockets, a wireless charging pad, plus USB-C ports to keep devices charged.
And when it comes to charging the MINI Cooper SE battery, it takes 5 hours, 25 minutes via an 11kW port to boost from 0 to 100 per cent, or just 30 minutes if using a 95kW outlet from 10 to 80 per cent.
 

Ownership

MINI Cooper SE

Running Costs

The all-new electrified MINI Cooper E costs £30,000 while the more powerful Cooper SE is priced at £34,500. These are the prices for the entry-level Classic trim, but extra styling cues, equipment and tech can be introduced by upgrading from Classic to Exclusive which costs £2,200 or Classic to Sport which adds £3,500 to the asking price.
The pricing of the Levels, which introduce numerous extra features, is fairly simple with Level 1 standard on any SE model, Level 2 costing £2,000 and Level 3 priced at £4,500.
Our test car featured the Level 2 package which included a panoramic glass sunroof, sun protection glass, heated front seats, a Harmon Kardon sound system, MINI head-up display, storage for wireless charging, high beam assist, adaptive LED headlights, driving assistant plus preparation and lots more besides.
So with all those factors taken into consideration, our test car in Exclusive specification and Level 2 options, along with upgraded paintwork and alloy wheels ended up with a price-tag of £39,220.
With zero carbon emissions, the MINI Cooper SE brings a number of financial incentives to the mix. For example it is exempt from road tax, Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emission Zone fees. Sadly, these rewards will be quite short-lived as the government has announced most EV bonuses will be reduced or withdrawn completely from next year.
But day-to-day running costs can be kept to a minimum if you are able to charge from a home wallbox, especially if it is possible to negotiate a low overnight tariff with your provider.
 

Verdict

MINI Cooper SE

MINI is building on the success of the previous Cooper Electric model which notched up 24,117 UK sales from its launch in 2019 and this all-new electric version is like upgrading from Economy to Business.
MINI is renowned for its go-kart style driving experience and when you add the instant torque that an EV brings to the table, it’s win, win for any driving enthusiasts out there.
 

Secure your test drive today
Request a MINI Cooper test drive
By Maxine Ashford
Jun 28, 2024

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