Driving report Mini, Mini Cooper SE electric car, convertible: the wind whispers quietly

The next mini generation is knocking on the door.

Driving report Mini, Mini Cooper SE electric car, convertible: the wind whispers quietly

The next mini generation is knocking on the door. It should be ready by the end of 2023 / beginning of 2024. Then the Mini, which is currently being developed jointly by BMW and cooperation partner Great Wall, will be delivered to customers. The family will have two lifelines in the future. The combustion engines are parked on one side, visually similar to the electric models, but on a BMW platform. The focus of interest, on the other hand, is on the electric family, whose head should be a crossover and the next Mini Hatch. The new Mini Cooper E is said to have an output of 135 kW / 184 hp and a 40 kWh battery. Above that is the Mini Cooper SE with a 50 kWh battery pack and 165 kW / 225 hp, which means electric ranges of up to 400 kilometers – both open and closed. The electric models come from China, the combustion engines roll out into the world from Oxford in the UK.

Mini fans can dream of a highly unusual symbiosis of electric drive and convertible, because no one else currently offers that. Polestar does indicate that the study of the open O2, which is worth seeing, wants to leave reality, but otherwise, at least in the normal vehicle segments, there is nothing open in sight that has an electric drive in it. While the Fiat 500 and Smart Fortwo are electric, they tend to have a large roll/slide roof. Cabriolet feelings or even the serious implementation of the proposed designation: none.

At the big Mini takes the States fan meeting, where 3,000 Mini fans cruised through the east of the USA for nine days, there was a surprising star guest: a one-off electric Mini Cooper SE of the current generation. And Mini fans in the United States were able to see for themselves just how well a 135 kW / 184 hp electric drive and an electric fabric roof go together. The first push is on the starter button in the middle of the central switch battery. The electric mini comes to life. Next, the second button is pressed and the tight fabric hat moves backwards in 18 seconds, also electrically. Let's go - let the sun in. The good mood is already there.

Technically, the one-off is a twin of the Mini Cooper SE. It is powered by an electric motor from the now discontinued BMW i3, which is installed in a subframe under the hood. The 135 kW / 184 hp are always enough to be fast on winding country roads. The low center of gravity, the decent torque from low revs and the lack of engine noise - it all fits perfectly. With the side windows down, the wind blows into the yellow-grey interior of the four-seater, which should be turned into a rolling sun terrace by no more than two people. The governed top speed of 150 km/h doesn't bother anyone when exiting, nor does the electric range of manageable 230 kilometers before it goes to the next charging station. The electric mini is hardly for long distances and so there is almost silent outdoor fun without regrets.

The landscape passes by at a moderate pace and you notice again and again that something is missing... the sound of the engine. Nobody will miss him - especially not in such a cool convertible. Instead, the front-wheel drive is always snappy on the spot when it comes up the next hill or the next hairpin bend tempts robbers. The electric Mini Cabriolet is still a one-off, but given the great interest shown by fans in Mini takes the States, there is no question that the British need such a vehicle and should not just rely on the hatch and practical SUVs with electric motors. However, the production version is unlikely to become reality before 2025. But you can already look forward to that today.

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