What’s cuter: the prototype Mini Cooper electric convertible or a basketful of kittens?
Yes, of course, the Mini electric convertible. It hasn’t been announced for production yet, but we got an early drive, and we predict that when it is available, it will be the darling of every college sorority. At least the ones with chargers in the parking lot.
The car we drove seemed 100 percent production ready, and it should be greenlighted ASAP, especially since there is nothing comparable out there.
Mini’s current EV is the Cooper SE Electric, which is based on the two-door Mini Cooper hardtop. The convertible prototype, which was hand-built in Munich, mostly migrates that electric powertrain to the Cooper convertible body and has the same powered fabric top that raises or lowers in about 20 seconds.
Powertrain components are the same, including the electric motor under the hood that pumps out 181 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. Weight wasn’t disclosed, but this vehicle should be marginally heavier than the Cooper SE hardtop. That car weighs 3099 pounds, so figure that the convertible is maybe 100 pounds more. Expect a 60-mph time in the low-six-second range.
That weight gain may affect range a little, and the Mini Electric doesn’t have that much to begin with: The Cooper SE hardtop has a 28.9-kWh lithium-ion battery and gets a 114-mile EPA rating. That’s usable if you don’t stray too far from the dorm but marginal for the rest of us.
In the prototype we drove, handling was excellent. The low center of gravity thanks to the battery placement really works for the electric Mini. We also spent some time autocrossing SE hardtops, and they were a blast. In Miami Beach traffic, the convertible was just as much fun, or at least as much fun as we could have.
The regenerative brakes feel pretty normal, and steering is quick and precise. There’s really nothing left wanting on this Mini electric convertible, except for what’s wanting on the hardtop—rear-seat room and luggage space. The driver’s ergonomics are fine, and the instruments and controls are logically placed.
We suspect that when Mini does build this electric convertible, those who can live with the range, and the price of—we guess—about $38,500, will be most pleased with the little car. It’s just the thing for going rescue a basketful of kittens.
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Source: Reviews - aranddriver.com