Mini Cooper SE review: chic is electric

Mini Cooper SE review: chic is electric

© Adrien Cortesi
The Mini goes electric with this new Cooper SE. A few yellow details differentiate it, among others.

We see it in the city more often, the Mini frequents mainly the beautiful districts. With the arrival of this 100% electric Cooper SE, why would that change? Perhaps for his always dynamic behavior and his energetic recoveries. Unless the extension is too short? We try it on in Marseille to find out where it shines the most.

Is it for its yellow elements, for its absence of noise or simply because it is a Mini? More than one head turns or turns around when the Mini Electric known as Cooper SE passes. In traffic or at a public charging station, it is rather the owners of electric or electrified vehicles who notice it. It must be said that there are not so many aesthetic modifications as that to distinguish it. The “E” logos on the fenders, the tailgate and the grille, the additional patterns of the basic “Greenwich” finish on the hood, the rocker panels or the boot, as many yellow details, the seal of the electric at the British brand. There are also the mirror caps, potentially in the same shade, but mainly, it is the grille that sets it apart the most. Full, crossed by a yellow rod … it comes out a few centimeters from its location, a sort of aerodynamic plug to thin the flow of air. The most daring will choose the 17 “” Corona “rims, with an original style to say the least, highly identifiable, rather questionable but with a very successful finish, painted in dark gray surrounded by yellow of circumstance. They contribute to their level in the effort consumption by their almost full profile and are available on all finishes not to confuse the Cooper SE of a Cooper S. There is indeed no question of looking like anything other than a Mini, the change of energy is incidental (in style). On the tailgate, at the bottom right, we can also read “Cooper S”, with an originally red S which catches jaundice. The “E” of this Cooper SE is relegated to the left. It is aimed at a clientele committed to its cause. Those who subscribe to the Mini, will be able to fall for the Mini Cooper SE. The premium city car accustomed to beautiful districts wants to be more urban than ever and converts to travel to daughter-in-law it reduced.

The same habits

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Silence on board, also beneficial outside in city centers against noise pollution, is the main change in the perceived atmosphere inside. The ergonomics, not very complicated but which requires time to find your bearings, the multimedia system in the center of the large circle in the middle of the dashboard, the general quality very serious, everything is stamped Mini. Regulars will find what they already know. The vertical and curved windshield, the enveloping seats positioned close to the ground, impossible to confuse. Only the instrumentation behind the steering wheel is modified. The Cooper SE is entitled to a 5.5 “digital screen similar to that of the radical John Cooper Works GP but with its own display. The trunk varies from 211 to 731 liters of capacity with the seat foldable in two The parts don’t change either. Where do the batteries fit? T-shaped, level with the floor towards the rear, their integration has been the object of special care not to encroach on “a centimeter on the living space. This is fortunate because, as far as the rear seats are concerned, they are still not that livable. The two additional occupants will not last forever and the one on the right will try to compromise with the front passenger to find the minimum amount of life comfort he has the right to hope for.

Dry and lively

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Alone or in pairs, the ride will be more enjoyable. Even more for the driver who has everything to have fun behind the wheel while his potential passenger can especially attest to the firmness of the suspensions. A setting unsuitable for the city where the speed bumps and various road connections are well felt as they pass. It’s the lot of Mini thermals too and it doesn’t seem to bother the owners who run alongside them on the streets of our cities. They offer in exchange a real dynamism to come out with pleasure. The same goes with the Mini Electric. The Cooper SE could have taken advantage of its “zero emission” car condition to take care of its depreciation, nay! It no longer even offers the optional piloted suspension. To believe that the city girl wants outright to encourage us to escape from the city. After all, on a dynamic level alone, it compares to the 192hp Cooper S. The “SE” has 184 hp for a weight of 145 kg (vs Cooper S with 7-speed double clutch transmission), or 1,440 kg with the driver. The performances are slightly down with a 0 to 100 km / h in 7.3 sec instead of 6.7 sec and above all a maximum speed which does not exceed 150 km / h. The 270 Nm of torque (10 less) are instantly available in exchange and ensure efficient pickups whatever the speed. It takes just 4.6 seconds to complete the 80 to 120 km / h. From turn to turn, the overweight is not felt, the front end fits easily into tight curves, the rear follows, the body does not tilt. The promise of the typical Mini karting philosophy is kept.

Off the cuff

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This raises the problem of autonomy. Its battery of 32.6 kWh of gross capacity (28.9 kWh net) – which required raising the ground clearance by 18 mm so as not to clutter the passenger compartment – announces between 225 and 234 km according to the WLTP standard. On a route of more than 90 km combining city, departmental and motorways, carried out at a reasonably sporty pace with more smooth passages and use of all the driving modes at our disposal, we were able to note a consumption of 16.2 kWh every 100 km. The manufacturer indicates a value between 15.2 and 15.9 kWh in WLTP, credible. We can thus deduce a range of 180 to 220 km depending on his driving without looking at the economy. The four modes to choose from consist of Sport, Mid, Green and Green + positions. Green modes reduce the responsiveness of the accelerator pedal with, in Green +, the air conditioning (but not the ventilation) stopped. Sport mode, on the other hand, makes the accelerator much more lively and hardens the steering. Well calibrated and precise, it is more consistent and pleasant in this mode. In parallel, it is possible to vary the strength of the energy recovery. Strong or weak, no freewheeling mode is proposed, obliging to maintain the “watts” so as not to lose speed. The most powerful recovery slows down enormously when the foot is lifted, until the vehicle stops. The feeling of permanent restraint is not the most pleasant, especially since this calibration is activated automatically at startup. Fortunately, the switch at the base of the center console is easy to access. The only time we prefer this mode to the other is in dynamic driving, with regenerative braking occurring as soon as the foot begins to change position towards the brake pedal. The feeling of sustained slowing becomes much more appropriate to the situation.

Millimeter weekend

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200 km approximately with a charge, this is enough to make daily trips, mainly in the city, the preferred area for electric cars. To be sure, Mini had deployed nearly 600 “Mini E” between 2008 and 2010 worldwide, including 60 in France. Previous generation experimental models, with a battery of equivalent capacity but sacrificing the rear seats and the trunk, entrusted to users to develop their electrical technology and get a more precise idea of ​​the actual use of their vehicle. It emerged that the average daily distance traveled was between 39 and 49 km. In France, it was 44 km per day. That said, it’s still a bit fair to get too far or too far from the cities without having to wait half an hour next to a fast charging station for a trip that could have been done in one go otherwise . It takes 36 min to go from 0 to 80% load on fast DC terminal to 50 kW maximum. Excursions which are therefore planned in advance preferably, for a departure from home with full batteries. At home, in order to avoid plugging thirteen hours during its Mini to the household outlet for 80% of the charge level, it is possible to have a Wallbox installed, reducing the time to 2.5 hours with a power of 11 kW and 3 and a half hours for full recharge. With a 7.4 kW Wallbox, it takes 3h10 and 4h10 to reach 80% and 100% capacity respectively.

Small volume, large endowment

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An installation which will be used for future electrified vehicles and which requires an investment easily exceeding € 1,000. A reinforced socket, at the recharging time between the classic household socket and a Wallbox, may be preferred for a price, including installation, starting around 550 €. A rate to add to the price of the car. In the case of our Mini Cooper SE, you have to line up € 37,600 for the Greenwich finish and € 40,800 for the Yours, excluding the € 6,000 bonus which slightly eases the bill. In both cases, the equipment is up to the requested check. Panoramic roof, full LED headlights with high beam assistant, 6.5 “GPS, reversing camera, heated seats, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, hands-free key, digital radio, electrically folding mirrors. Only three options are available: head-up display, 8.8 “GPS and tinted rear windows. The Yours finish adds in series the navigation on an 8.8 “screen and the head-up display, as well as the LED matrix headlights, the Harman Kardon sound system with 12 speakers then a wide choice of customization including leather upholstery, a fifth choice of rims and a sixth choice of exterior color. For a finish like the other, aesthetic customization does not entail any additional price. This very Mini high-end positioning aims to “drown” the cost of the battery rather maxi which, sold alone, amounts to almost € 17,700 The technique seems effective since the Cooper S automatic Greenwich with equivalent equipment is billed at € 37,230 to which must be added € 150 WLTP penalty (142 g / km of The Cooper SE, admittedly less versatile, becomes more attractive after deduction of the bonus.

For rent, Mini 3p, cable provided

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But fashion is for hire. And since the Mini is in fashion… three quarters of the models in the range are financed by rental. A ready-made formula for the Mini Cooper SE, offered from € 360 per month for three years, maintenance included and no contribution (€ 405 for the Yours finish). Very competitive and judicious as the resale of an electric vehicle is still uncertain. The Mini Electric can always count on the strong image of conventional Mini on the second-hand market, explaining this advantageous rent that the competition cannot necessarily afford on equal terms. Chic and dynamic, not always practical, the Cooper SE relies on the fans of the so British firm, those who ensure that the Mini is connected with or without electricity.


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