MINI Electric review - Engines, performance and drive

The MINI’s electric powertrain creates a fast, fun-to-drive hatchback.

By coupling the sporty three-door hatch body style with an all-electric powertrain, MINI has delivered a small car with great performance, and retained most of its famed ‘go-kart’ handling. Our testers noted that the heavier Electric model was still as much fun behind the wheel as any fast MINI they’d driven before. 

As with all EV’s the instant acceleration is slightly addictive and, because the car’s centre of gravity is lower than even the petrol Cooper S version (due to battery positioning), it handles pretty well, too. 

In addition to providing great entertainment on A- and B-roads, there’s much to be said for the MINI Electric’s ability on the motorway. Pressing the throttle at cruising speeds still delivers a decent amount of oomph, to ensure easy overtaking.

Driving in town might throw up more challenges than you might think, however. The MINI has a bigger turning circle than its Fiat 500 and Honda e rivals, while opting for the Level 1 entry version means you don't benefit from a reversing camera or rear parking sensors.

There are four different driving modes - Sport, Mid, Green and Green+. Most will probably opt to leave the setting in standard Mid mode, as Sport and Green do nothing more than subtly adjust the throttle response, while Green+ reduces the capability of features such as the climate control, which helps to up the range.

One quirk of the MINI Electric is the feel of the regenerative braking system. When you lift off the accelerator pedal, your speed falls quickly, the energy converted back into electricity to be stored in the battery. It takes a little getting used to, although there are two brake settings to choose from.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

The MINI Electric has a 32kWh battery which enables the motor to produce 181bhp and 270Nm of torque. Performance figures are pretty impressive - 0-62mph is covered in 7.3 seconds, although the more realistic ‘urban sprint’ from 0-37mph is achieved in just 3.9 seconds. Top speed is limited to 93mph.

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