Six decades since the very first car rolled out of its Oxford factory in 1959, Mini has unveiled an all-electric variant of its famous hatchback, sharing underpinnings with the BMW i3s.
Although we’ll have to get behind the wheel to test the claim, Mini says the model’s trademark go-kart handling has only been enhanced with the addition of an electric powertrain, thanks to a 30mm drop in centre of gravity, near-perfect weight distribution and the immediate power delivery found with electric motors. Centre of gravity has seen a reduction in height thanks to the underfloor position of the 32.6kWh battery, which provides a WLTP-tested range of 124 miles – 50kW DC fast-charging can give you around 100 miles of range in 35 minutes.
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Power comes from the same synchronous electric motor found in the BMW i3s, producing an identical 181bhp and 199lb ft of torque for a Cooper S-rivalling 7.3sec 0-62mph time and 93mph top speed. Four driving modes and various levels of brake regen aggression can be selected, ranging from Sport for more direct steering and the punchiest throttle response, down to Green+, which disables comfort accessories such as air conditioning for when you need to eke every last bit out of your charge.
Although it shares the bodyshell from its combustion counterpart, Mini Electric logos on the sides, front and rear help you distinguish the two, alongside the now closed-off front grille for aerodynamics and the reduced requirement for cooling, and the replacement of a petrol filler cap for a charging port, located above the right-hand rear wheel. Not so obvious additions are the aerodynamically considerate undercarriage and rear apron, elements made possible with the removal of combustion car components.
Coming as standard is a 5.5-inch digital dashboard screen, displaying everything you’d expect to find in an ordinary car, but also giving you the ability to choose your route based on power consumption, as well as journey times. LED headlights and tail lights, a 6.5-inch infotainment screen and more, also come as standard.
The base Mini Electric starts from £24,400 (including the plug-in car grant), but should you want options such as the 17-inch two-tone wheels seen in these pictures, an uprated sound system, or a panoramic roof, prices can exceed £30,000.
Set to be produced in the Oxford factory where the very first car was made 60 years ago, order books for the new Mini Electric are open now, with first deliveries expected in March 2020.