Motoring

New MINI Electric (2020) review

MINI
Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

With a quick charge and superb handling on offer, what’s stopping you going all out electric with MINI?

Follow motoring journalist Tim Barnes-Clay on Instagram @tbarnesclay.

If electric cars get your happy hormones going, then the MINI Electric might appeal to you. Then again, its range might worry you. Whatever the case, I suggest you read on.

First things first, I can tell you that the MINI’s performance figures are impressive. Well, the nought to 62mph dash of 7.3 seconds from the 184ps electric motor inside the car is. The maximum speed of 93mph is perhaps less remarkable.

Thrust comes from an electric motor mated to a 32.6 kWh battery pack, providing 270 Nm of torque. This power makes the MINI big fun to drive, with the acceleration truly pressing you back into your seat.

Incisive handling

MINIs are known for their stiff ride, but it all feels firmer than ever in the MINI Electric. The advantage of this is that the car sticks to corners like glue. But the disadvantage is a deficiency of comfort during long drives. If you’re a MINI anorak, you’ll stick with it, but if you’re not, it’ll become wearisome. As for the handling, it’s communicative, engaging and more incisive than a switchblade.

Because the electric motor is inaudible, wind noise is more evident in the cabin than in a car with a regular combustion engine. Tyre roar also encroaches at speed. But, then again, you don’t go for a little hatchback like this for refinement. You buy it for exhilaration – and for the zero emissions!

On the practical side of things, room is the MINI Electric’s weakest point. There are no rear passenger doors, and there’s limited room in the back seats. A couple of smaller kids will be fine there, though. The boot is also minuscule, but for weekend outings and shopping trips, you’ll manage to get all you need crammed in.

Now, as alluded to earlier, the MINI Electric’s driving range isn’t a strong point, either. But it’ll do if you live and work in a town or city because you get a maximum of 144 miles on a full charge. That might not sound a lot, but the compact battery can be charged from zero to 80 percent at a DC 50KW charging facility in 35 minutes.

Quick charge

To get the best performance from the MINI’s electric motor, you need to use the hatchback’s ‘Normal’, ‘Green’ and ‘Sport’ driving modes. The digital dashboard gives you all the numbers you need to show you how much oomph you’re applying and what electric range you have left. 

Forget any range anxieties you might have, then – the MINI’s lively handling and quick charging capability make up for that. Also, the regular MINI scored four out of five stars with Euro NCAP during crash testing, so as small motors go, it’ll protect you and your passengers in an accident.

Fast Facts – MINI Electric 3 as tested:

  • Max speed: 93mph
  • 0-62 mph: 7.3 seconds
  • Range: 144 miles
  • Motor: 1 synchronous electric
  • Max. power (PS): 184
  • CO2: 0g/km
  • Price: £30,400

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