The Mini Cooper SE, at a starting price of R686,400, is currently the most affordable new electric car in South Africa.
While close to R700,000 might not be “affordable” for the average motorist, the Mini is significantly cheaper than its electric competitors while offering a range of great features.
The Mini Cooper SE is sold as one model, with two trim levels offering customisation on the outside, and three specification packs that add features to the cabin.
Neither of the exterior options will demand any additional money from the buyer, and both add adaptive LED headlights, 17-inch Electric Collection alloy wheels, a multi-tone roof, and SE-exclusive side sills – with a choice of either grey or blue exterior colours.
The SE also gets piano black exterior highlights as standard, including darkened badges, mirror caps, door handles, and headlight and grille surrounds.
As opposed to most electric vehicles on the market, the Mini SE does not stray far from the brand’s signature design language – which is another characteristic its potential owners might appreciate.
Once inside, you are greeted with the familiar Mini layout featuring many circular bits, as well as the brand’s famous rounded infotainment setup that incorporates both an ambient lighting ring and an 8.8-inch display with Bluetooth connectivity and integrated navigation.
Additionally, the Mini SE supports BMW’s ConnectedDrive services that enable real-time traffic information, over-the-air map updates, service appointment assistance, and 24/7 concierge and emergency services.
It also features Remote Services, a programme that lets you monitor the safety of your Mini via your smartphone.
Every model then comes with two-tone cloth/leatherette seats in Black Pearl alongside interior surfaces finished in “Mini Yours Aluminium”.
The entry-level equipment pack also includes a Nappa leather multifunction steering wheel, an interactive digital instrument cluster, a Harman/Kardon sound system, and dual-zone climate control.
Despite its relatively diminutive dimensions – 3,850mm long, 1,727mm wide, and 1,432mm tall – the Mini SE boasts quite a generous amount of cargo space, at 211 litres in five-seater mode and 731 litres with the rear seats down.
The biggest talking point about this Mini remains its electric powertrain that is driven by a 32.6kWh battery.
This set-up produces 135kW and 270Nm of instantaneous torque, and is capable of sending the SE to 100km/h in 7.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 150km/h.
Maximum driving range for the SE is rated at 232km, and a 50kW direct current fast-charging plug can charge the battery from 0-80% in 35 minutes.
For overnight charging at home on an 11kW plug, the company estimates around two and a half hours is needed to reach 80% charge.
You also get a 3.7kW charging cable when you purchase your Mini SE, said the company.
The Mini Cooper SE 3-door has a South African starting price of R686,400.
Each purchase includes a 5-year/100,000km maintenance plan as well as an 8-year/unlimited kilometre battery warranty.