MINI Electric Review: A MINI owners review of the electric hatchback
Recently, I was kindly given the new MINI Electric for a few days, by Sandal MINI Wakefield, to see what I thought of the latest variant of their electric hatchback. As a MINI owner, with my 4th on the way, I was given the keys to see what I thought of the electric way of life. I’m not going to be comparing the car to other electric cars in the market as I don't know what they're like to live with but what I am going to do is compare it to the standard MINI hatch, of which I've owned a few.
Facts and Figures
Price when new: £28,500
Engine: 32.6kWh lithium-ion battery and single e-motor
Power and Torque: 181bhp @ 7000rpm, 199lb ft @ 100rpm
Transmission: Single-speed, front-wheel drive
Performance: 7.3sec 0-62mph, 93mph, 140-145-mile range, 0g/kg
Dimensions: L:3845 W:1727 H:1432mm
I arrived at the Sandal MINI Wakefield dealership on Tuesday 18th May; as I pulled into the car park I could see a British Racing Green MINI Electric glistening in the sun over in one of the electric charging bays of the dealership. I had a walk inside to be nicely greeted by a member of their team who handed me the keys in a sanitisied cloth, they set me on my way with all that I needed to know. I was so pleased to see that it was an LCI 2 car; only recently launched by MINI with the updated styling, interior and infotainment. Something that hasn't gone down too well with MINI owners but I personally love the changes and find the new MINI Electric suits it so well.
So I turned the ignition on; what a weird experience that was! The only sound to be heard was the futuristic chime that echoed through the cabin upon starting it up. I pulled away (turned the radio off for full effect) and set on my way back to my home in West Yorkshire. In low speed, a whirring effect is pushed out of the exterior of the car to give pedestrians a little warning that you're around. I'll be honest, I thought 'oh dear' when I saw that 100% battery was only giving me 88 miles of range but I was soon relaxed as this rose up to 120 miles within 5 or 10 minutes on the road. This car only had around 600 miles so it hadn't done many charging cycles; I've heard that the more charging cycles is does, it does increase range significantly.
I got used to how the car behaved quite quickly; apart from the lack of sound, the MINI Electric didn't feel too dissimilar to my JCW Hatch, the steering was typically MINI, the throttle response was touchy and my god; the power! I would say around town and in the suburbs, the MINI Electric is OUTSTANDING when it comes to acceleration and that typically MINI Go-Kart feel. Put your foot down and this thing goes! I'd say you feel it best when you're cruising at around 40mph and you see that national speed limit sign ahead, the time it takes to get from 40-60mph is incredible. The instantaneous torque the electric motor produces is brilliant, even in the cars GREEN+ setting. Talking of settings, the car has 4, GREEN+, GREEN, MID and SPORT. All MINI owners will be familiar with the last 3 but the MINI Electric introduces GREEN+, this basically increases range by shutting down things such as climate control.
This car was the first MINI I've been able to drive with the latest digital dash that was first seen on the MINI Electric back in 2019. I must say the system is clear, bright and gives you all the relevant data you need for a comfortable drive. My Level 2 car was equipped with lane keeping assist, radar guided cruise control and traffic sign recognition. All 3 of the systems worked brilliantly on the digital dash, with no focus taken off the road ahead. The new design steering wheel, featuring in cars from 2021 felt great in the hands, with chunky 10-2 bolstering and gloss black controls for cruise control and infotainment.
Charging the MINI Electric was simple to do, MINI supply you with an AC to AC cable and a 3 pin plug for your standard UK wall sockets. I charged it at home overnight, which was easy to do and the new MINI app on iPhone and Android kept me up to date with all things such as the charging progress, doors, lights and mileage information. I went into Leeds one day and found free charging in the John Lewis centre; this was made easy by the MINI's navigation system showing me exactly where to park. I plugged in and off I went! I returned to a fully charged car, all for the cost of a few minutes downloading the Pod Point app. The only other charging I did was at The Trafford Centre, a short 50 mile journey away but I managed to find the SLOWEST chargers in the UK I think. Meaning that it only gave me an extra 15 miles in range. All this meant was having to charge on the way back to dropping the car off back at Sandal MINI Wakefield. It was rainy, with heavy Friday afternoon M62 traffic so I felt like a rest was deserved anyway. I stopped off at Ainley Top services, plugged the car in for free again and went for a sit down in Starbucks (not so free). I gave it half an hour to give it's self another 30 miles for the 10 mile journey as I didn't want to give the car back with no range.
I wasn't going to do much of a feature on how the car handled but I feel like I owe it to MINI. The car is undoubtedly a MINI, with sharp responsive steering and that true feeling of knowing exactly where all four tyres are on the road (Goodyear Eagle F1's to be exact). You could throw this thing into the corners and it somewhat felt more stable than the normal hatch, the added weight over the centre of the car via the batteries may have created better weight distribution across the front and rear axles.
If you're in the market for a new MINI or even a new hatchback, then I would honestly look no further from the new MINI Electric. Yes, they start off at a slightly pricey £28.5K but the savings you could make on getting it from A to B are enough to lead me down the electric route. Charging it is easy, it turns heads, it's superb automatic transmission, it's quietness in the cabin, it's speed; and that true MINI Go-Kart feeling are enough to put me onto looking for one in the near future.
If you want to test-drive the NEW MINI Electric then be sure to contact Sandal MINI to see what they can do for you; you won't be let down.
A big thank you to Yasemin at Sandal for giving me the opportunity to drive the car, as it really has changed my opinion on the future of motoring.
All the best