Mini Cooper front driving

Mini Cooper Electric Review

The world of small EVs is not an easy one. Those after a small EV want it to be affordable and manoeuvrable and sometimes have an element of fun, but at the same time have the range of a much larger one with all that that entails.

Plus, while some might a familiar shape – think Vauxhall Corsa Electric or Peugeot e208 – others may want something a bit more individual such as the Honda e or Mazda MX30.

And then there’s the Mini Electric. Despite the original only having a limited range and relatively small battery, more than 24,000 of them left showrooms between 2019 and 2024, so that leaves this new Mini Cooper Electric with some good foundations to build upon. And this time, there’s two battery choices, more range and, with the electric forthcoming Aceman and Countryman models, a natural stepping-stone EV range too.


Blue Mini Cooper Electric headlight

The good news is that the Cooper is immediately recognisable as a Mini. Unlike the larger Countryman, the Cooper still gets traditional Mini circular lights and the cute dimensions and looks remain. As mentioned in the introduction, if you need more practicality with five doors, there’s the forthcoming larger Aceman and, while the Cooper’s rear can look overly squat from some angles, it’s an unmistakeable shape.

There are some clever touches too like the front and rear LED lights which have three different customisable light patterns to choose from, including the rear Union Jack shape as before. A bit cheesy? Yes, but we like it. There’s more change on the inside though with a large retro-style touch-screen in the centre of the dash, which we’ll go into in more detail later.


Mini Cooper Electric charging

This is where there’s a major step up from that original Mini Electric. Few would argue that with its 32.6kWh battery it had a limited appeal, despite its strong sales. BMW has tackled that head-on with this new model however, with a choice of two battery sizes.

The first is a 40.7kWh battery in the E with a 190 mile range, while the SE gets a 54.2kWh battery with a 249 mile range. With that range difference, plus the SE’s extra spec levels (more on which further on), despite the £4,500 price difference on paper, around 70% of sales are likely to be the SE. We wouldn’t be surprised to see that even higher, especially for retail sales.

The E can be recharged at 75kW on a DC charger, while the SE can manage 95kW with a 10 to 80 per cent time of just 30 minutes. Meanwhile, Mini also claims an efficiency rating of 4.4mls/kWh which is ok rather than outstanding, given that it’s a pretty small car. That should be pretty achievable in the real world though as we averaged 3.8mls/kWh during some fairly spirited driving and with the air conditioning on.

There’s certainly no doubting the Mini’s performance though, as the SE manages a 0 to 60mph time of 6.7 seconds and the equivalent of 218bhp. The E isn’t all that much slower against the stopwatch.


This is the real crunch time. With almost any other EV, you could forgive a less-than-ideal driving experience over efficiency or smart styling or other clever trickery.

But this is a Mini. The handling of a Mini has been burnt into the nation’s consciousness since the original’s rallying success and hasn’t really let up even since BMW took ownership with the more recent generations. Yes, it might be an EV, but it still needs to live up to that expectations that come with that badge on the bonnet.

So is this Cooper Electric really be on a par with the ICE versions? The short answer is no, it can’t. And the reason that it can’t is that it’s better, so much better.

Let’s start with the steering. Sharp, accurate, direct – it’s simply everything you want from a Mini, but somehow accentuated because the immediate power delivery of the EV powertrain enables you to slingshot out of corners far faster than you would in an ICE model. And that, combined with that steering, makes this Mini Cooper Electric an absolute hoot to drive quickly.

It gets better too. The ride is ok, firm but pretty forgiving and, what’s especially noteworthy, is the superb damping. You’re aware that you’re driving across a rough road, but that doesn’t transfer to the cabin. We’d even go so far as to say that we think this might just be the most sorted suspension that we’ve driven on a Mini in some years.

There are different driving modes to choose from as well, including Go Kart mode which is comically fun, which also feed in a synthetic Tron-like acceleration noise into the cabin. It’s a bit cheesy, some might even say slightly naff, but we have to shamefully admit that it still put a smile on our face.

Downsides? Well, if there’s one it’s with the regenerative braking. Firstly the only way to change it on the move is via the touchscreen, rather than some paddles behind the steering wheel, as has become traditional (and would fit better with its sportier feel).

However, there’s also the strength of that regen braking too. There are four levels – Adaptive, Low, Moderate and High. As with BMW’s i4 and as the name suggests, the Adaptive mode uses the sat nav and forward cameras to adapt the strength level. Unlike the i4 though where we really liked it, we didn’t feel that this worked as well in this incarnation and wasn’t as intuitive.

That’s a shame, because for us the three remaining modes don’t feel strong enough. Low is more like a coasting mode, while Moderate is the equivalent to Low in other EVs and High simply isn’t strong enough for our liking. You’d expect High to be almost one-pedal driving, perfect in an urban environment, but here it doesn’t bring the car to a halt. For anyone coming from another EV, they may well feel the same. It’s a shame because it’s literally the only fault that we could really find in the Mini’s driving experience.


Mini Cooper Electric dashboard

Mini has gone all out with this latest generation and the effort really shows. As with the very original Minis, there’s a large, over-sized circular display in the centre of the dash. This time however, it’s a large touch-screen that, crucially, features an all-new operating system that isn’t just one generation ahead of what went before, but several.

There’s a 360-degree camera, but there’s also augmented reality for the sat nav and also the possibility of a digital key on your phone if you want one too. Crucially though, this is combined with toggle switches below for switching between the experience modes mentioned before and a turn key style starter.

At first glance, it feels like the screen is rather packed with information, but it doesn’t take much time to get familiar with it and it soon becomes pretty intuitive. We’d prefer to have one-touch ventilation controls (and weirdly the difference between the two lowest fan speeds is like a faint breeze and a gale), but it works well.

We also like the design too. The dash is 90% recycled material and there’s some nice design touches with a leather-like strap detail in front of the passenger and a piece of taut webbing on the steering wheel acting like a third spoke. There’s some decent storage space too.

On more practical measure, the rear seats are pretty tight and really only suitable for teens and below, while the boot is pretty small at 210 litres.


Ok, we’re going to say it. Despite those aforementioned sales figures, the old Mini Cooper Electric was always going to have limited appeal. This one however, is an entirely different beast altogether.

It just feels better engineering, with two battery choices, more range, improved driving manners on the road, the simple fact is that it’s hard to fault. Mini has been pretty clever on the pricing too. While on paper it’s a £4,500 jump from the E to the SE, the SE includes the Level 1 pack which includes several features that many are likely to want and is a £2000 option. So the difference is almost halved.

Then add the fact that many are likely to be bought on finance, plus the likely better residuals and the jump to the SE is likely to be a very small extra monthly payment. Mini reckons that 70% of buyers will go for the SE, we think it may well end up being more.

But more than that, the Cooper Electric feels like such a well sorted car overall in virtually every way, that it’s easy to recommend for anyone after a small electric car – crucial advice given how we opened this review. More than that though, with one eye on the future, we think this could be one of the most desirable Minis we’ve driven in a very long time indeed. Just brilliant.


Model: Mini Cooper Electric

Price: from £30,000

Power: Battery – 40.7, 54.2kWh

Range: 190-249 miles

Average efficiency: 4.4mls/kWh

Average charge time on a domestic wallbox: 6-8hrs

CO2 emissions: 0g/km

Rating: 9/10