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The MINI Electric gets a facelift to keep it up to date, but it continues to lack range when compared to its peers.

05 Jul 2021


This car has gotten me in a pickle. I'm restless and I'm losing sleep over this car because I have no idea what to make of it.

MINIs have always been, in my opinion, cars that are best suited for old school enthusiasts who can accept their cars as flawed. And within those flaws, find pride and joy in their MINIs.

Faster, smoother, more refined

Century sprint is impressive - 7.3 seconds
Then the MINI Electric comes along - a MINI that isn't just more modern, more refined and more rapid, but also one that has retained the characteristic of no-nonsense fun handling that's uniquely MINI.

With the Electric's instant torque delivery (as with all full electric cars), getting up to pace is done with silent grace and is quick enough to get your palms a tad sweaty, more so when you toggle the car to Sport mode.

The front-mounted electric motor sends out 181bhp (135kW) and 270Nm of torque effortlessly to the front wheels, which assist the MINI Electric to achieve a zero to 100km/h timing of just 7.3 seconds. This makes overtaking manoeuvres and merging filter lanes a satisfying and fuss-free affair.

Ample feedback from the new and meaty steering
More than just the figures, the electric hatchback retains its fun-to-drive go-kart handling, with sufficient feedback from the steering wheel as it darts in and out of traffic like a street racing game on Nintendo.

While electric cars have the tendency to dull the driving experience due to the lack of an exhaust note and feedback from the steering, it's quite the contrary with the MINI Electric. Every jab of your right foot is responsive, every turn is communicative and it never fails to provide a planted and confident stance on the move.

And should you need to shed speed, the car offers two levels of brake regeneration that will provide deceleration strong enough that you rarely have the need to apply the brake pedal.

Short range, long anxiety

Car pumps out 181bhp and 270Nm of torque effortlessly to the front wheels
Thus, with all its broad capabilities as an electric car, the MINI Electric is an interesting alternative to its petrol siblings. However, you do need to live with its short range.

On paper, the car is capable of approximately 270km on full charge. When I got the car, however, the car was left with about 120km of range. As you drive, with the help of regenerative braking, the range will start to climb, but don't expect it to happen exponentially. My range climbed to a peak of close to 200km and I managed a consumption of 6.9km/kWh over the course of three days.

You could, of course, fast charge the MINI to 80% full within 30 mins via a 50kW fast charger, but its range nevertheless falls short compared to cars like the Renault Zoe, which is capable of a real-world range of 285km.

Newer, nicer, neater

Cabin is newer, sleeker and a funky place
Good thing is, where the range of the MINI Electric falls short, it more than makes up for it with its design. Here, changes are mainly done on the aesthetic front.

Like the new models in MINI's lineup, the grille of the Electric appears wider than before, outlined by a black rim and a chrome insert. Fog lights have also been replaced by a pair of thin slits of opening that act as cooling vents for the brakes.

Where it differentiates itself from the rest of its stablemates on the outside are through the badges, lack of tailpipes and, most notably, the funkily designed wheels that are befitting of the MINI brand.

211 litres of boot space will see to your grocery shopping and a few bags
Also befitting of the Brit brand is the cabin. In here, you get a spanking new steering wheel, an updated infotainment system and a wider sunroof, which makes the small cabin feel airy.

Elsewhere, boot space remains at 211 litres and back seats are best left for two adults over short journeys. Ingress and egress proved to be a problem for adults but once in there, head and legroom will satisfy all but those above 1.7m tall.

Still in a pickle...

In all, the MINI Electric is a car I want to love. I was, after all, an Austin Mini owner before. But it isn't flawed enough for me to desire one. Yes, some may argue times have already changed and we all have to accept MINI cars have grown and I completely understand that.

Two levels of regenerative braking - low and high - available for you to toggle on the centre console
But this car isn't for me, even if I am completely for electric cars. At $168,888 (as of 24 June 2021), the MINI Electric faces competition from the more affordable Renault Zoe and the upcoming uber cool Honda e, which is already available at an attractive price from parallel importers. Both of which are in a more convenient five-door format.

Whatever the case, one thing's undeniable - MINI has done an excellent job in delivering a three-door hatchback that is identical to its internal combustion engined brethren.

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Car Information

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MINI Electric 32.64 kWh (A)
Rate it

Price

: $183,888

Engine Type

:

Electric Motor

Engine Cap

:

-

Horsepower

:

135kW (181 bhp) / 7000 rpm

Torque

:

270 Nm / 1000 rpm

Transmission

:

Single speed (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

7.3sec

Top Speed

:

150km/h

Fuel consumption

:

unknown

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