Mini Cooper SE - More Than A Little Electric
Finweek English|16 September 2021
All torque and silent action in the refreshed all-electric MINI Cooper SE.
Glenda Williams

It is the perfect city car. Small, manoeuvrable, nippy, and now in emission-free format, the trendy all-electric MINI Cooper SE adds green mobility to the iconic MINI brand. 2021 has brought a refreshed version of the pure electric model launched locally last year and finweek got first dibs at a drive.

The MINI is a car I’m familiar with. Aside from car tests, when in Cape Town I often commandeer my daughter’s MINI. Anyone familiar with Cape Town knows that small cars are particularly suited to the city’s narrow streets and tight parking spaces.

While somewhat larger than the classic Mini first introduced in 1959, the modern day MINI retains much of the original DNA, quirkiness and personality that captured the hearts of so many around the world.

Along with size, comfort and technology have also been amplified. Unlike the classic Mini that focused on low cost rather than comfort, today’s MINIs, part of the BMW stable since 2000, are premium vehicles.

Built at the British MINI Plant in Oxford alongside the conventionally-powered Cooper S model on which it is based, the new 2021 electric model is mechanically identical to the one introduced last year and comes with moderate exterior changes, refined trim levels and increased standard equipment.

The refreshed all-electric MINI Cooper SE is offered in two trims and four packages, namely Classic, Iconic, Signature and MINI Electric Collection. The latter offers exclusive design features like a multitone roof.

But how different is it to its popular conventionally-powered sibling? Turns out, not that much.

Mix of modernism and nostalgia

Along with modern twists like Union Jack taillights and LED lighting for its fabled round headlights, the three-door compact hatch still retains the quirky styling and cuteness factor that gives this car so much charm and personality.

Except for a few features, this pure electric MINI looks like a regular MINI. What’s different? The closed hexagonal grille, retro-looking wheels, e-badging, yellow accents on body parts like the mirror caps and the absence of exhaust tailpipes are dead giveaways.

Updates to the 2021 model include changes to the front and rear bumper and the iconic round headlights and hexagonal radiator grille are more clearly emphasised.

Electric ease

There’s a sense of the familiar when slipping into the cabin. That perhaps is what is most surprising and comforting about this purely electrically-powered MINI.

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