2021 Mini Cooper SE evaluation | Automotive Opinions
Final yr, when Mini unveiled its very first electrical automobile, now referred to as the Cooper SE, the principle criticism lobbed its manner needed to do with the mannequin’s moderately disappointing vary. With an optimum vary of 177 km between recharges, the one Mini powered completely by electrical energy isn’t precisely minimize out for lengthy journeys.
Like its historic ancestor from the Sixties – the primary to hold the identify was launched in 1959 – the Cooper SE appears principally confined to city use. In actual fact, for those who’re within the idea, it’s important to be keen to cowl shorter distances between visits to the charging station. However, the concept of mixing the driving pleasure of a Cooper S with 100% electrical propulsion appears fairly darn engaging to me. Throughout every week of testing within the Higher Montreal space on the finish of August, I got down to decide if the truth matched the genius of that concept.
Be aware: In principle, I used to be scheduled for an earlier introduction to this new type of Mini within the spring, however the coronavirus pandemic postponed this primary contact till late summer time. Here is what I took away from my take a look at drive of the 2021 Mini Cooper SE with the Premier+ package deal, the costliest within the vary, which raises the invoice to $47,990 as an alternative of the $39,990 tag hooked up to the no-frills mannequin.
Clearly a Mini Cooper
The designers of the electrical Cooper S did not actually have a selection: an icon just like the Cooper has to maintain its attributes to catch the attention of the curious. On the skin, along with the totally different bumper with a gray and yellow panel as an alternative of the standard grille and the asymmetrical wheels that match it completely, the Cooper SE additionally sees some particular badging added to the bodywork. Oh, and no exhaust tip is included with this variant. Naturally.
It is the identical inside; the identical dashboard because the Cooper S is current, the one hanging distinction being the small skinny display behind the steering wheel – an addition made final yr. Not removed from the air flow controls, there’s additionally a swap that modulates the vitality restoration system throughout braking. For the remainder, you’d swear you are sitting in a Cooper S with a number of further vibrant yellow stripes.
Additionally, the T-shaped battery pack has no detrimental influence on the amount accessible on this metropolis automobile, which is an effective factor as a result of actually the trendy Cooper continues to be as restrictive as ever for its second-row passengers. And the identical applies to the 226 litres of trunk area, which barely manages to soak up groceries for 2 adults.
Sure, it is clearly a Mini Cooper!
Each in and out, the Cooper SE comes out of the identical mould as the opposite Coopers with combustion engines. However if you begin ‘er up, the hum of a three- or four-cylinder unknit is nowhere to be heard, changed by a synthetic sound that asserts the beginning of the motor housed between the 2 entrance drive wheels. After that quick burst of sound, the Cooper SE turns into as quiet as a parked automobile, similar to different EVs on the highway.
In fact, a fast look on the data display on high of the steering column is a should earlier than each journey, if solely to ensure the battery is charged, particularly given the automobile’s restricted vary. However as soon as that is taken care of, the Cooper SE is simply ready to be pushed. And away you go, like a bat out of heck for those who so select.
Like all electrical automobile, full torque from the powertrain is felt instantaneously, from the primary few turns of the wheels. A little bit an excessive amount of strain on the fitting pedal may even make the tires squeal, however provided that traction management is deactivated. No, the Cooper SE isn’t precisely a rubber-burning beast, however entrance wheel spin is feasible.
One other not insignificant element: the energy-recovery system is positioned by default in its “Sturdy Restoration” mode at every begin, which can shock you at first if you launch the fitting pedal to decelerate when approaching a cease. For much less intense deceleration, a easy press of the swap turns the Cooper SE right into a automobile as docile as any gasoline-powered mannequin. I like to recommend bearing with the jerky drive firstly although: the educational curve is brief, and also you fairly rapidly study to dose the strain you apply on the fitting pedal to get easy braking. Bear in mind, vary is at a premium within the SE, so that you need to maximize it.
What I really like about this electrical Mini is that it presents the identical type of driving expertise as a Cooper S – minus the raspy sound of the exhaust system in fact! The steering is as exact and fast as ever, the suspension is agency and the braking is environment friendly. Chassis rigidity can also be a reassuring ingredient when driving, regardless that the weather-worn pavement reminds us how a lot of a go-kart the Cooper SE is.
As for the facility and torque of the synchronous magnet motor, 181 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque are excellent for a “toy automobile” just like the Cooper SE. Nonetheless, I’m wondering if the engineers at John Cooper Works will ever put their signature on a more-dynamic model of the Cooper SE. We will dream, can’t we?
The final phrase
On the threat of repeating myself, the 177 km vary is the Cooper SE’s Achilles’ heel. However for a lot of motorists, that is greater than sufficient distance for day by day commuting. In spite of everything, you do not go to the backcountry on daily basis, do you?
As for the very hefty price ticket affixed to my Premier+ trim ($47,990), it is rather less painful in Quebec the place town dweller is eligible for each ranges of presidency rebates. In different phrases, this very costly MINI electrical automobile is priced at $34,990 (earlier than preparation charges and taxes) in La Belle Province. Be aware that elsewhere within the nation, patrons of the Cooper SE can at the very least reap the benefits of the federal program that takes $5,000 out of the equation, whereas in British Columbia, this system nonetheless permits as much as $3,000 in rebates.
A Mini Cooper S… with out the combustion engine
High quality of execution
We like much less
Vary too quick
Power-recovery mode is just a little intense
Restricted inside area
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2021 Mini Cooper SE footage