AN ELECTRIC ADVENTURE (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
The MINI take on battery-powered motoring certainly has its appeal. Jonathan Crouch checks out the MINI Electric.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 62
It's natural that there should be a MINI Electric variant. This little Hatch, recently lightly updated, lends itself to battery power and quick-step EV pulling power. The driving range possible between charges isn't a particular strongpoint here, but it'll probably be fine for urban folk, who'll appreciate this car's enthusiastic take on life. Market interest suggests that it could prove rather popular.
Backgroundword count: 128
It's curious that it's taken BMW's MINI brand so long to bring us an all-electric version of its iconic little hatch model. The Bavarians have, after all, been experimenting with battery-powered versions of this model for years - MINI E prototypes were first produced as long ago as 2008. Following that, it was always assumed that BMW's first battery-powered car would wear MINI badging but time drifted on, nothing happened and in fact it was the BMW i3, launched in 2016, that reached the EV market first. Since then, we've had an electrified MINI - the Countryman PHEV - but no full-battery model. Until 2020 and the launch of this MINI Electric. The car was lightly updated in early 2021, which is the model we look at here.
Driving Experienceword count: 257
This MINI Electric uses a 32.6kWh battery pack with a 184hp output and maximum torque of 270Nm. From rest, 62mph takes just 7.3s, so we're talking near-MINI Cooper S levels of performance, though as with all EVs, the maximum speed is restricted - in this case to just 93mph. But then, when was the last time you drove over 93mph? The car sits a little higher off the road than a Cooper S to give the battery more clearance but the centre of gravity is lower because more of the mass is concentrated further down. Weight distribution is quite different to a normal MINI Hatch too, the battery's bulk dictating a 54/46 front-to-rear ratio rather than the usual 60:40-split. To get the most from the electric motor's torque, you'll need to master the various driving modes - 'Normal', 'Green' and 'Sport', the latter offering slingshot acceleration. The digital dashboard provides information on the current flow of energy and the range, as well as offering ways of increasing range by deactivating comfort functions or boosting energy regeneration. On the navigation map, a circle that indicates the car's range can be shown. When the route guidance starts, it displays the fastest and shortest route and also suggests a GREEN route involving the lowest level of power consumption. As part of the recent update, MINI has introduced fresh (but optional) camera safety features. And, most importantly, the option of adaptive damping - which you might want because it to some extent addresses the issue of this car's rather firm ride.
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Category: Hybrid, Plug-in, Electric & Hydrogen
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