MINI Electric motor, drive & performance
Performance from the MINI Electric is strong – and most importantly, the hatchback has lost none of the petrol model's sense of fun
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The MINI Electric offers impressive performance for a car of this type. Around town, instant shove allows you to dart into gaps in traffic that you’d think twice about seizing in a petrol car, while the direct steering and sharp handling give it agility often missing in small hatchbacks. In fact, it feels very similar to the standard MINI hatchback – a car that has long been one of the most entertaining superminis on sale.
MINI Electric 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration
MINI says the Electric will hit 37mph from rest in less than four seconds, while sprinting from 0-62mph takes 7.3 seconds. With no gear ratios – like all electric cars, you just point and shoot as you would in a conventional automatic – it feels far faster.
The electric motor’s instant torque fires the car off the line, but it never seems to run out of puff; it’ll rocket from 50-75mph in just 4.6 seconds. The MINI Electric is quiet and refined at 70mph, with little in the way of wind or road noise. It also gets a standard audible warning at lower speeds so that pedestrians hear it coming.
It’s amazing how little driver appeal this heavier MINI Electric has lost in the transition from petrol power, but then it also only gained 145kg over its petrol sibling and the centre of gravity is actually 3cm lower. So perhaps it isn't so surprising that it still handles with precision and confidence.
It's got a really keen, sharp turn-in that makes it feel darty and agile in equal measure, although the steering does feel rather fake and overly-assisted compared to the more natural-feeling steering in the Honda e. On our very soggy first UK test drive, the car felt a little prone to understeer, but it's easy to manage so you can happily stick the MINI in Sport mode to enjoy the peppiest throttle and steering settings and have loads of fun on a good road.
We made sure the weather was better when, while living with the MINI Electric, we took it out to a go-kart track to see how much, or little, of that 'go-kart' feeling it had lost over its petrol powered siblings.
On UK roads the ride is a little firm, but you’d never describe the MINI as uncomfortable; it does occasionally thud into potholes, and faster compressions and undulations reveal how stiffly sprung the body is, but the structure doesn’t shake and shimmy so it always feels composed and accomplished. Refinement is good, too. There’s very little electric-motor whine at low speeds, and wind and road noise are well suppressed on the motorway.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe MINI Electric is a fun, fast and chic small electric car, but its relatively modest driving range may put some buyers off
- 2Range, battery & chargingA relatively modest 145-mile range may put some buyers off the MINI Electric, but for a lot of suburban and urban dwellers, that'll be enough
- 3Running costsThe MINI Electric is one of the most affordable electric cars you can buy, despite its premium finish, and it also promises to be cheap to run
- 4Electric motor, drive & performance - currently readingPerformance from the MINI Electric is strong – and most importantly, the hatchback has lost none of the petrol model's sense of fun
- 5Interior & comfortThe MINI Electric’s interior holds plenty of style appeal, but it can’t match rivals for high-tech feel
- 6Practicality & boot spaceThe MINI Electric isn't particularly practical, but the interior and boot are at least the same size as the petrol model's
- 7Reliability & safetyThe MINI Electric is too new to give an accurate reliability assessment yet, but the brand’s other models tend to fare well in owner surveys