The 2020 MINI Electric (also known as the MINI Cooper SE) is the more traditional looking EV from the BMW group. It borrows many electric powertrain components from the popular BMW i3, but it repackages them in a less polarizing front-wheel drive vehicle whose aim is to offer the same experience as a normal MINI, just without an internal combustion engine.
And on first impressions, according to those who have had a chance to drive it, that’s exactly what it offers. It’s a bit slower than the gasoline-burning Cooper S on paper, but off the line and just generally accelerating from low speeds it feels quicker thanks to the instant torque delivery.
Inside, there is little to distinguish it from other MINIs and even though the interior design still polarizes opinion, at least it’s something buyers are expecting. There are some subtle yellow details that do announce this isn’t your typical MINI, but nothing is especially obvious; it does have the new digital gauge cluster, but that won’t be exclusive to the electric model and it will be added to the rest of the MINI range this year.
The same goes for the exterior where the grille, rims and badging are all that set it apart. If you don’t like the rims, whose design imitates a U.K. power socket, then you can opt for more conventional ones that help the car blend in even more.
Out on the road, reviewers say the car certainly feels nippy and it picks up well even at higher speeds. The overall experience is distinctly MINI-esque, and according to these first drive impressions, it’s a pretty good package, if what you’re looking for is a second car to travel around town in (a proposition very similar to the Honda e).