The 2020 Mini Cooper S E: Buy it, lease it, rent it or forget it?
It’s long been one of the most iconic and fun-looking small hatches around, but the Mini has come a long way since its inception sixty years ago. Not only has the Mini gotten substantially larger over time, particularly in these latest generations, but this is also the first ever fully electric version. Dubbed the Mini Cooper SE, this lithium-ion battery-powered model ditches internal combustion for emissions-free driving, but does it actually work in the Mini? To find out, Mini invited Roman and Tommy down to sunny Miami, Florida to test it out.
On its face, the Mini Cooper SE looks like a promising city runabout, but lacks the range for serious cross-country travel. That’s because Mini estimates its range is just 110 miles, well behind the likes of Tesla and some of the established EV competition.
Under the hood, the 2020 Mini Cooper SE is more or less the same as the BMW i3. It uses the same drive unit, the same 50 kW charger and overall architecture, with a few distinct changes to adapt the electric drivetrain to Mini’s architecture. The drive motor manages 184 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque, with a quoted 0-60 time of around 7 seconds.
The shorter range is down to a smaller battery than most other EVs.
The 32.6 kWh battery consists of 12 modules arranged in a T-shaped configuration under the floor, which runs from between the front seats rearward, below the rear seats.
Fortunately, the battery configuration means cargo space isn’t impacted from the conventional Mini model. The luggage volume stands at 7.45 cubic feet (211 liters), which expands to 25.8 cubic feet with the seats folded. While you’d also expect an electric car to be extremely heavy, the 2020 Mini Cooper SE tips the scales at just over 3,000 pounds. That’s about 320 pounds heavier than a standard 3-door mini, but at least 400 pounds lighter than a Nissan LEAF or Volkswagen e-Golf.
Pricing on the 2020 Mini Cooper SE
If you’re looking into buying a Mini Cooper SE, their pre-order page shows three main trims. The base Signature model starts off at $29,900 before any applicable federal or state tax incentives. That model comes with a 6.5-inch infotainment display with Apple CarPlay support, an Active Driver Assistant, heated front seats and power-sipping LED lights all around.
The Signature Plus trim kicks off at $33,900 and includes more creature comforts. Here, you get things like power-folding mirrors, rear park distance control, a panoramic sunroof and a Harman Kardon sound system.
Finally, there’s the top-end Iconic trim. For $36,900, you get an upgrade to an 8.8-inch infotainment system and leather seating.
But is it worth buying the Mini Cooper SE at all? Is it better to just lease it, rent it or forget about it? For short trips that won’t require any fuel, it’s certainly worth considering. It’s also still a Mini, so it has that certain fun characteristic about it, but it may be worth looking at some of the competition if you need to drive longer distances, or if you need one car as an all-around daily driver.