Electric MINI Cooper SE Convertible is the most expensive MINI ever

MINI is making a soft-top version of the Electric hatchback, limited to just 150 units in the UK

MINI Cooper SE Convertible - front
  • Limited to 150 customers in UK
  • Electric range of up to 125 miles
  • On sale in April 2023 from £52,500

The MINI Electric is one of the brand’s most popular models; every third MINI three-door to roll off the production line in 2021 was an EV (electric vehicle). But while MINI’s petrol range comprises hatchbacks, SUVs and even convertibles, its line-up of electric vehicles hasn’t expanded since the launch of its urban-focused Hatch back in 2019… until now.

Best small electric cars 2023Top 10 best small electric cars 2024

After driving a prototype model a few months ago – you can read our thoughts below – MINI has decided to offer the MINI Electric as a drop-top Convertible. Available as part of a small 999-unit production run – with only 150 examples coming to the UK – the MINI Cooper SE Convertible will become the brand’s most expensive model ever, set to be priced at £52,500 when it goes on sale in April.

Designed as a preview for the next-generation MINI Electric which is set to be unveiled later this year and will also be available in soft-top form, this limited-run model utilises the same battery and electric motor setup as the current-generation car. This comprises a 28.9kWh battery, paired with a 181bhp electric motor to provide a range of 125 miles. 

Such a figure is a far cry from the 250 miles touted for its successor, although the Cooper SE Convertible does get access to 50kW rapid charging, allowing for an 80% top-up in 36 minutes when connected to a compatible public charger.

MINI Cooper SE Convertible - interior

Although MINI is yet to release exact figures, we know the prototype weighed around 140kg more than its fixed-roof sibling. As you’d expect, the added bulk has had an effect on performance; 0-62mph takes 8.2 seconds – a second slower than the Hatch. The 93mph top speed is the same, however, and MINI has insisted the Cooper SE Convertible will provide customers “an extraordinary and exclusive open-air go-kart feeling.”

To distinguish the Cooper SE Convertible from other MINIs, the new car gets model-specific 1/999 badging as well as Bronze Resolute exterior trim and a MINI Yours fabric roof. Customers can choose from either White Silver or Enigmatic Black paintwork, but all cars come with 17-inch plug-style design of alloy wheels.

MINI Cooper SE Convertible - rear

The MINI Cooper SE Convertible’s cabin comes wrapped in black MINI Yours leather, while all cars come equipped with digital dials, an 8.8-inch touchscreen with sat nav, a head-up display, a Harmon Kardon stereo, wireless phone charging and a reversing camera

The Cooper SE Convertible is the same width and height as the normal Convertible, and has the same 160-litre boot. The power-operated roof folds in 18 seconds and at speeds of up to 19mph, folding back onto the rear deck so as to not compromise luggage space.

MINI Electric Convertible prototype drive

To get a flavour of what a MINI Electric Convertible might eventually look and feel like, we were invited to take what was originally billed to be a special one-off for a drive along the Portuguese coast, not far from Lisbon.

Lowering the roof and pushing the acid green starter button, it feels both familiar yet different. The cabin layout is all but identical, so you get the same digital instrument cluster, and circular central display. The controls are intuitive and the seating position easy to adjust.

Pulling away is as simple as putting your foot on the brake and engaging drive; that’s the beauty of EVs – there are no gears to contend with, you just get in and go. The MINI is silent at low speeds, though with the windows up, the Convertible does a great job of limiting the buffeting you often get when you lower the roof – even at 60mph.

Given the huge hit of instant torque, you’d never know this Convertible is slower than the Hatch; 0-62mph takes 7.7 seconds (half a second slower), but it feels eager to accelerate at any speed, making quick overtakes a cinch.

Perhaps most pleasingly, it handles just as you’d expect a MINI to handle. The added weight isn’t easy to detect, buried beneath the floor for a favourable centre of gravity. There is very little body roll, and grip is excellent. The steering is nicely weighted and the brakes work brilliantly – with the strong regenerative braking set-up offering one-pedal driving, should this style suit you.

The single thing missing from the Electric Convertible is the sound. You don’t immediately notice it, nor do you miss it in normal, day-to-day driving. But when you start to pick up the pace, some might lament the lack of engine noise. It was often considered part of the standard MINI’s character; something the engineers will need to think about for the new generation of electric vehicles.

Read our guide to the top 10 best convertibles on sale now

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