Mini debuts all-new Cooper as a three-door EV

EV will enter production first in Cooper E and Cooper SE guises with as much as 160 kW and a claimed range of between 305 km and 402 km.

Sporadically showcased in a number teaser images since March, along with the disclosing of select details along the way, BMW has officially unveiled the all-new Mini Cooper in three-door electric-only guise ahead of its public debut at the Munich Auto Show next week.

Tale of two Minis

The fourth generation since being re-launched as a brand under BMW ownership 23 years ago, the replacement for the outgoing F55 generation that went on-sale in 2013, is said to hark back to the modern original R50 by being offered solely with three-doors, albeit with a modern interpretation of the retro-styled interior.

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Unveiled in Cooper SE guise, the newcomer not only eschews the manual gearbox, but sees a dual production strategy being applied whereby the Oxford Plant in the UK will solely produce the combustion engine model and the EV in China based on a dedicated platform called Spotlight developed in partnership with Great Wall Motors (GWM).

Identifies as a Mini

Spied wearing no disguise as part of a leaked photoshoot sighting in Los Angeles in April, the Cooper SE’s exterior design has hardly been altered and conforms to what Mini calls “Charismatic Simplicity”.

Officially called Mini Cooper and not Mini hatch as the first three generations were, the SE’s aesthetic consists of a larger sealed grille seemingly derived from the original Porsche Cayenne, R50-inspired oval LED headlights fitted with a choice of three daytime running light elements, and a new selection of new dual-tone and mono-tune colours.

Rear has been redesigned to feature an X-motif and as a result of being EV, without exhaust outlets. Image: Mini.

At the rear, the biggest difference from past models is an X-motif design for the LED taillight clusters, connected by a black strip adorned with a Cooper S badge – the S’ yellow finish confirming it as an EV.

EV-only all-new Mini Cooper revealed
Boot space, with the rear seats up, has been improved by a claimed 200-litres to 800-litres. Image: Mini.

Along with a rounded rear bumper, Mini has flared the wheel arches out more in order to accommodate to the new wheels that range from 16-inches to 18-inches.

Flush door handles that pop-out by means of pressing the button on the key fob or approach with the keys present, completes the exterior’s reworking.

Modern retro

As mentioned, the interior continues with the retro theme derived from the 1959 original, but in modernised form with most of the F55’s physical buttons and switchgear moving to the new nine-inch OLED infotainment system.

Mini debuts new Cooper initially only as an EV
Retro-themed interior has gone up a notch with most of the physical switchgear falling away. Image: Mini.

Still circular in appearance, the replacement for the 8.8-inch setup now sports a freestanding design and apart from over-the-air updates, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, receives Mini’s version of BMW’s 9.0 operating system.

In addition, Mini has fitted the Cooper with a new steering wheel complete with physical buttons, restyled the centre console and revised the facia to include a rectangular binnacle housing the dial for the transmission, starter button, mode selector, hazard lights and ventilation.

Mini debuts new Cooper initially only as an EV
Dashboard can be finished in a range of materials, including a new option called knitted textile. Image: Mini.

A new dashboard, available in a selection of materials ranging from cloth to synthetic leather and what Mini calls knitted textile, and a bigger boot now able to accommodate 800-litres with the rear seats up, 200-litres more than the F55, completes the interior.

EV only for now

Underneath, and despite BMW not disclosing any dimensional details, the Spotlight platform, according to Mini, still elicits the Cooper’s long standing go-kart feel despite the battery pack and electric motor.

Previewing the Mini’s switch towards becoming an all-electric brand by 2030, the electric Cooper will be offered in Cooper E and Cooper SE guises, the former producing 135kW/290Nm courtesy of a 40.7-kWh battery pack, and the latter 160kW/330Nm thanks to a bigger 54.2-kWh battery.

Mini debuts new Cooper initially only as an EV
An expanded array of ambient lighting colours, plus a panoramic sunroof, can be specified. Image: Mini.

In terms of performance, the Cooper E will get from 0-100 km/h in 7.3 seconds and run out of charge after 305 km, while the SE will dispatch the benchmark sprint in 6.7 seconds and require a visit to the plug after 402 km.

Supporting charging up to 75 kW and 95 kW respectively, both the Cooper E and Cooper SE come standard with an 11 kW on-board charger and according to Mini, require a waiting time of 30 minutes from 10-80% using a fast charging station.

Still unconfirmed

Entering production within the coming months with sales set to start either before the end of the year in early 2024, the Cooper E and SE will be joined later by combustion engine model and while still to be confirmed for South Africa, should become a reality next year if approval is granted.

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