BMW subsidiary and iconic British automaker Mini took another giant leap into the electrified age today with the debut of the all-new, all-electric fifth-generation Mini Cooper hatchback. The new battery-electric Cooper has been redesigned from the ground up as a dedicated EV, hitting the road soon with a minimalist take on classic Mini design, a high-tech cockpit, and electric performance and range custom tailored for urban motoring.
This isn’t the first electric Mini we’ve seen. The automaker experimented with plug-in hybridization starting with the Countryman PHEV in 2018 and, in 2020, launched the 114-mile Mini Cooper SE. However, the automaker’s decision to design the new Cooper from the ground up as a dedicated full-electric model — rather than a retrofit of a combustion car — speaks about where the brand sees itself in the future.
Like the four previous generations, the new Mini Cooper is a small hatchback. Final dimensions weren’t specified at the debut, but side-by-side with the current generation, the new Cooper doesn’t appear to have grown much taller or longer. It is, however, obviously wider with a longer wheelbase. I reckon that designing this new generation from the ground up as an electric vehicle allowed Mini’s engineers to better integrate the battery and e-motors into the structure of the vehicle, keeping size in check overall.
Mini’s designers set out to create a minimalist aesthetic inside and out that highlights the broad strokes of over 60 years of Mini design while simplifying and removing details. The Cooper no longer has any chrome on its exterior, while the headlamps and grille have been simplified to basic geometric shapes. The wheels are larger, which helps sell the compact car proportions despite a slight scaling up. And, out back, the Cooper’s LED matrix tail lights are now customizable (and can still be configured with a Union Jack motif).
I spent a few hours climbing in, around and underneath the new Cooper in the sheet metal at a secret BMW preview event in Munich earlier this year. While I’m not sure I love this ultra-minimalist exterior, I continue to enjoy the Mini’s ultra-compact proportions and scale. Most importantly, it’s certainly and instantly recognizable as a Mini.
I’m especially impressed with the Cooper’s new interior, which retains the same basic dashboard configuration as the original 1960s Mini, complete with a high-tech version of the large, round central speedometer, and physical switches and toggles below. (Physical switches in 2023! How quaint!) We’ve already gotten a peek at the Mini Cooper’s interior and the new Mini Operating System 9 that lives in its dashboard. The new infotainment suite features a first of its kind round OLED screen powered by the latest-generation of Mini’s navigation software, a cartoonish animated digital assistant and 5G internet connected services.
Cooper E and SE powertrains
The electric hatchback launches with two powertrain configurations: Cooper E and Cooper SE.
The Mini Cooper E will be powered by a single 135-kilowatt (184 horsepower) electric motor mated to a 40.7 kilowatt-hour high-voltage battery. With around 214 pound-feet of torque, the Cooper E is said to complete a 0-62 mph (100 km/h) sprint in 7.3 seconds. On the more generous global WLTP test cycle, Mini expects this spec to cruise for around 190 miles between charges.
The sportier Cooper SE steps up to a 160-kW (218 hp) electric motor and a maximum of 243 lb-ft of torque. The extra grunt shortens the 0-62 mph hustle to just 6.7 seconds. A larger 54.2-kWh battery, meanwhile, boosts the range to a WLTP-estimated 250 miles between charges. Even accounting for the shrinkage of our more rigorous EPA test cycle here in the US, that’s a significant improvement over the current Cooper SE’s 114 miles.
Built around a wider track and slightly longer wheelbase, the Cooper promises planted handling, emphasizing the low center of mass created by its underfloor battery pack with stiff stabilizer bars and larger, wider wheels and tires. This new Cooper is sure to be heavier than the four generations that preceded it, but Mini’s engineers are confident that the hatch is still a hot one and will deliver the “go-kart feeling” drivers have come to expect.
Electric city car
The Cooper EV can be recharged overnight via its 11-kW onboard charger. At a fast charging station, the Cooper E can accept up to 75 kW of DC current, while the SE steps up to a 95 kW capacity. Either way, you’re looking at just under 30 minutes to charge from 10% to 80% at a DCFC station.
The modest charging speed and short-ish range don’t bode well for Mini Cooper EV cross-country rallies — you’d only get at best 175 miles between 30-minute charges, making for very tedious road trips. Rather, it seems the Mini is aimed at and more suited to city dwellers or commuters who need enough range to get around town and maybe charge once or twice a week. That said, it remains to be seen, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the longer ranging, more potent SE is the only powertrain that makes its way across the Atlantic to US cities; the E perhaps being too modest to be competitive or cost effective.
The future of the Mini brand
The fifth-generation Mini Cooper debuted Friday alongside the third-gen Mini Countryman, which was also reborn as an electric vehicle. The EV duo will become a trio when they’re joined by a production version of the Mini Aceman concept at an event in April 2024. These are the Mini brand’s latest big, bounding steps toward its goal of becoming an all-electric automaker by 2030.
We expect to learn more about US pricing, availability, and localized specs and range as the all-new 2025 Mini Cooper E and SE speed toward production.