New MINI Cooper fully revealed at Munich International Motor Show
The new electric MINI Cooper has finally been revealed in full at the Munich Motor Show, with a £30,000 starting price
- Petrol and fully-electric powertrains
- Three-door arrives first, followed by five-door convertible body styles
- MINI Cooper Electric starts from £30,000, with deliveries starting in spring 2024
The highly-anticipated replacement for the MINI hatch, now renamed the MINI Cooper, has just been revealed at the 2023 Munich Motor Show in electric guise alongside the Countryman. The new MINI Cooper Electric gets a refreshed yet still retro design, and an overhauled interior with even more technology than before.
We’ve known more or less what the new MINI Cooper would look like since undisguised photos leaked some time ago, but the full official reveal now confirms its design. The new Cooper retains the retro silhouette and circular headlights of the classic MINI, but gains a new octagonal grille. The new MINI’s light signature can be configured in one of three unique ways to change its look at the touch of a button.
In a departure from previous MINI models, the door handles are now flush with the body, and the sides are much smoother. The classic-look chrome trim of outgoing models has been switched for black detailing on the new car. The rear gets flush tail lights which can also be configured with various light signatures.
The standard MINI Cooper Electric will come in two power levels, badged E and SE, plus three trim levels in the UK: Classic, Exclusive and Sport. E models will start from £30,000 in Classic trim, with the more powerful SE starting from £34,000. MINI has said a convertible model will arrive later down the line, while a five-door model will also be offered, despite previous rumours it could be replaced by the upcoming production version of the MINI Aceman concept.
The all-new fifth-generation MINI Cooper isn’t due to hit showrooms until 2024, but we’ve already tested a promising electric Cooper SE prototype; you’ll find our first impressions further down the page.
A hot John Cooper Works version of the electric version has also been spied in testing. Despite wearing heavy camouflage, plenty of design tweaks are visible for the hot hatch, including a different shape for the front grille, a large roof spoiler, plus a new diffuser that forms part of a more aggressive rear bumper.
New 2024 MINI Cooper interior and options
The new MINI Cooper’s interior is much more hi-tech than any that’s come before, while still packed with retro touches. For the first time it gets a very minimalist slim dash design finished in sustainable textile material. The design’s centrepiece is a large circular central touch infotainment screen in homage to the classic MINI’s central speedometer. The OLED screen is 9.4 inches in diameter and displays everything from the speed, to navigation information and EV data.
The car runs the latest MINI Interaction Unit operating system with drivers able to choose from different themes to change the display and interior lighting – the ‘MINI Experience Modes’ are ‘Core’, ‘Green’, ‘Go-Kart, ‘Personal’, ‘Vibrant’, ‘Balance’ and ‘Timeless’. If you prefer your MINI to have a more traditional feel, the Timeless setting transforms the screen into one that mimics a classic MINI’s central speedo. ‘Personal’ mode even allows you to upload a photo on which the system bases the display’s background. Some physical controls remain below the central screen, including a button which toggles between these ‘Experiences’, forward and reverse gears, and what appears to be a volume dial.
The system will be Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible, but while the former extends its graphics across the entire circular screen, Android Auto will – for the foreseeable future – display in a rectangular box.
The interior also sees LED lighting embedded under the fabric dashboard, transforming the feel of the car depending on the driving mode, with ‘Go Kart’ mode getting a sportier feel. Elsewhere the interior is fairly minimalist, but many functions are built into the multi-function steering wheel, including a MINI voice control system which can adjust many of the car’s features.
The MINI Cooper will come in a choice of three trims: Classic, Exclusive and Sport. Classic will be available in a choice of four colours, including all-new Sunny Side Yellow. It will come with just one contrasting roof colour and two different alloy wheel options. On the inside it gets 2D knitted textile upholstery on the dash, and optional faux leather with matching textile material on the seats.
Exclusive gets the option of a multitone roof with three different colour combinations. The front grille can also be specified in Vibrant Silver. A two-tone houndstooth pattern features on the car’s instrument panel, available in two colours. Customers can also spec three different roof colours.
Sport gets a unique front and rear design with gloss black-finished elements such as the logo and front grille. An optional Chili Red roof and red/black bonnet stripes is also available for the Sport. The interior gets different multi-coloured knitted textile upholstery and black synthetic leather with red stitching.
MINI Cooper practicality
While on paper the new MINI Cooper’s interior is more spacious than before, the rear seats still feel fairly tight, having sat in the pre-production version. The boot space is up to 200 litres with the seats in place as normal, increasing to 800 litres with them folded down.
MINI Cooper powertrains
The standard MINI Cooper Electric will be offered in two output levels: E and SE. The E produces 181bhp while the SE gets a heftier 215bhp, with both models’ motors sending power to the front wheels. The E accelerates from 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds, while the SE does the same sprint in 6.7 seconds. The larger 54kWh battery of the SE means it can cover up to 250 miles to charge compared to the 190 miles of the E’s 41kWh unit.
A petrol-powered MINI Cooper (yet to be revealed) will continue to be manufactured in Oxford, UK, but the electric versions will be built in China, using a platform designed in collaboration between MINI, BMW and Chinese SUV brand Great Wall.
MINI Electric prototype review by Steve Fowler
As the new electric version of the MINI Cooper edges ever closer to production, we recently travelled to Austria to test drive the latest prototype of the MINI Cooper SE still in camouflaged form.
Even with its disguise, the latest MINI’s more aerodynamic design is evident, with a wider stance and narrower glasshouse. The MINI has never been very spacious inside, and while this is still the case, the new car has a little more legroom and headroom in the back. The boot looks about the same size.
The interior is a lot more minimalist than in previous models, with most controls accessible via a large circular screen on the centre of the dash – this was hidden for our drive, though, with MINI keen to keep certain details under wraps at the time.
We were pleased to see that the car still makes use of some traditional, physical switchgear to do things like turn the car on and off, switch between drive and reverse, adjust power modes, choose from a variety of ‘experiences’ and adjust the volume.
We got to drive the more powerful SE electric model, which uses a 54.2kWh battery with 215bhp. An additional electric Cooper E model will be available with a 40.7kWh battery and 181bhp. Our car felt very punchy, and ‘Go-Kart’ mode amped up the fun, with the car emitting a fake engine growl to add to the thrill when you put your foot down – it’s one of the more convincing and fun synthetic engine notes we’ve tested.
With one-pedal driving, you can come to a complete stop by lifting off the accelerator, or you can select low, medium and adaptive regenerative braking settings. Although many EVs fail to give a satisfying feel to the brakes, those of the MINI Cooper SE prototype felt natural and linear and inspired confidence as you dove into corners. We did find it felt slightly odd lifting off the throttle with regenerative braking turned completely off – the car just seems to keep on going, rather than naturally slowing down like with a traditional combustion engine.
The ride was well-balanced, too – it’s firm enough to give more of a feeling of connection with the road, but smooths out the worst of the bumps. Visibility is not a strong point – the windscreen sits some way forward from you with a steep rake to it (in keeping with the classic MINI aesthetic) and the low header rail and thick A-pillars make it feel like you’re peering through a letterbox.
The steering feel was not quite there, though this was one area MINI said was still under development. We think it needs to be a little sharper with quicker reactions to truly deliver on that ‘go-kart’ feel.
When we took the MINI Cooper SE out on track away from public roads we found it was even more fun – it was grippy even in the wet, and we even managed to get it to drift a little – keeping the car skidding in a controlled manner. On the straights the SE felt like it had more and more power to offer, climbing hills confidently and feeling rather like a hot hatch in spirit. That’s despite the fact that an even hotter JCW model is expected to join the lineup in the future.
Although it needs a little work, like a much-needed tweak to the steering already in the works, the upcoming MINI Cooper is shaping up to be a keen driver’s car with performance that would impress hot-hatch aficionados.
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