The Mini needs little introduction – everyone knows what the brand is about and BMW’s reinterpretation has been around for more than 20 years now (has it been that long!). The Electric, though, is Mini’s first non-combustion-engine model, with room for four. Is it as fun to drive as the firm’s more conventionally powered models? Let’s find out.
From the outside, the Electric is instantly recognisable as a Mini. It has the same cute face as the BMW-owned brand’s other models, with big, round LED headlights, although there’s not much grille to speak of because there’s no engine to keep cool.
The rest of the body is also familiar – every Electric has three doors, a hatchback body style, 16-inch alloy wheels and Union Flags incorporated into the rear lights. There are three trim levels – 1, 2 and 3 – with top-end specs adding adaptive headlights, a reversing camera and rear parking sensors, and a panoramic glass roof.
The Mini Electric first appeared in 2020 and was given a mild facelift in 2021, which removed the front fog lights and altered the front grille.
What's it like to drive?
Petrol and diesel-powered Minis are renowned for being fun to drive. Does the same apply to the electric, er, Electric? Absolutely.
In fact, in some regards it’s even better, because with the battery installed low in the body for a lower centre of gravity, the electric model handles very well indeed.
You have a choice of Green+, Green, Mid and Sport driving modes. You’re likely to use Mid most of the time - the 0-62mph sprint is covered in an impressive 7.3 seconds and the top speed is ‘only’ 93mph – more than enough for UK roads.
With the battery installed low in the body for a lower centre of gravity, the electric model handles very well indeed.
As with the outside, the interior of the Mini Electric will be familiar if you’ve been inside one of the more conventionally powered models before. Most versions put digital instruments in front of the driver, while the large central circular binnacle in the middle of the dashboard also has an 8.8-inch digital screen with sat-nav on post-facelift models, controlled by a dial between the front seats. Below the screen are the rotary ventilation controls and toggle switches, one of the latter allowing you to tweak the brakes’ regenerative mode.
Mini is owned by BMW, and most of the interior is made from quality materials and is nicely assembled – the infotainment system gets Bluetooth, a DAB radio and Apple CarPlay for smartphone connectivity, with the highest trim level adding a head-up display in front of the driver, wireless charging for compatible phones and an upgraded Harmon Kardon stereo.
The front seats are very supportive and suit the Mini’s sporting nature, holding you in place in bends and on roundabouts. Even tall adults will be happy here, although the view out of the letterbox-style windscreen may not suit all. The lack of rear doors makes life trickier for those wanting to get into the rear seats, and once there, a pair of taller passengers may struggle to get comfortable, but they’re fine for kids and smaller people.
The front seats are very supportive and suit the Mini’s sporting nature, holding you in place in bends and on roundabouts.
Practicality and boot space
The Mini Electric isn’t a large car, so manoeuvring it in town is fairly straightforward. Level 2 trim brings practical touches such as a reversing camera and rear parking sensors. Front sensors are added to Level 3 trim, along with Parking Assistant, which helps with parallel parking.
Inside, you’ll find a couple of cup holders, a reasonable glovebox and enough space in the door bins for a few oddments.
The Electric’s boot is the same size as a regular three-door Mini hatchback’s, which means you’ll get a few carrier bags or a couple of carry-on cases in there. There’s also a false floor, which provides somewhere to store the charging cable. Fold the 50/50-split rear seat backs and you’ll be able to fit a couple of full-size suitcases on top of each other.
Running costs and reliability
Officially, the Mini Electric’s range is up to 145 miles, although that’ll be rather optimistic if you do any motorway miles – the Mini is best used for life in the urban jungle.
The Mini has a peak charge rate of 50kW, which means you can boost its battery from 10% to 80% in 28 minutes – with the right charger. Adding the final 20% takes another hour, though. Plug it in at home and you’re looking at a full recharge time of around five hours, which isn’t bad at all.
As a brand, Mini has a good reputation for reliability. Although with something as new as the Electric, you might want to consider cinchCare for added peace of mind. The Mini Electric’s battery gets an eight-year warranty, which is standard for electric cars.
The Mini has a peak charge rate of 50kW, which means you can boost its battery from 10% to 80% in 28 minutes.
What we love
We love the amount of fun you can have with the Mini Electric. It feels authentically Mini because of its balance and handling, albeit without any engine soundtrack to match. We love the fact that you get the same styling inside and out as a regular Mini, and there’s no loss of boot space.
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The Mini Electric is an urban-focused electric car that’s cheap to run, stylish and fun to drive. In fact, it’s probably the most enjoyable small electric car you can buy today. If you can charge it at home and use it for mostly short journeys, its comparatively short range should never prove an issue.
This review was