The fully electric 2020 Mini Cooper SE will bring back everything early Mini pioneers loved about the company's first electric effort, the 2009 Mini E, in a more conventional, practical package.
It will still be the sportiest Mini, with quicker powertrain responses, and a lower center of gravity, than the gas-powered Mini Cooper S.
The biggest improvement is that the new Mini Cooper SE has a rear seat on top of its 32.6-kilowatt-hour battery, which sits mainly under the floor in a T-shape under the rear seat and running between the front seats. That's slightly less than the 35-kwh pack that consumed most of the rear of the original Mini E.
Mini says the new car's range is rated at 146 to 168 miles in Europe in highway and city driving. When final EPA ratings come in for the U.S., those numbers are likely to be considerably shorter (BMW suggested an unconfirmed figure of 114 miles on the EPA cycle).
The Mini can charge at CCS Combo DC fast chargers at up to 50 kw, which should deliver 80 to 90 miles of charge in a half hour.
2020 Mini Cooper SE Hardtop
The front-wheel drive-motor is rated at 181 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque, and Mini says it can punch from 0 to 62 mph in a fairly quick 7.3 seconds. The company has developed a new traction and stability control system based on altering power inputs to the motor, which delivers quicker and more efficient response than using brake pressure offsetting motor power.
A digital instrument cluster unique to the Mini Cooper SE will have a 5.5-inch digital screen behind the steering wheel showing the digital speed, remaining range, battery charge, and power demand, with the capability to display navigation directions or other pertinent information. When charging, it will show the charge percent and time remaining to full. Drivers can also access audio and phone-contact info on the screen. A larger center screen will display more information. Navigation will come as standard equipment.
2020 Mini Cooper SE Hardtop
Four driving modes are available as well as two settings for regenerative braking. The default MID mode is essentially Comfort. Drivers can also choose Sport mode with sharper responses, Eco Mode to maximize range, or Eco Plus, which disables the dual-zone automatic climate control and reduces power even further to eke out every last mile.
EV drivers who enjoy one-pedal driving can select a stronger regen setting. A softer setting is available for those who prefer a more conventional feel.
The SE will be the first of a wave of new electric models from the brand's parent company, BMW. It will be built alongside gas-powered Minis at the company's Oxford, England, factory, while batteries will come from BMW facilities in Germany. Mini did not announce a specific date for sales in the U.S., but it is expected to reach U.S. dealers later this year.