Similar to an iconic Porsche 911, the equally iconic MINI Cooper silhouette is unmistakable, no matter the generation. The brand’s latest iterations of two new models make no exception, with short overhangs, a short hood (or bonnet depending on your side of the pond), a long wheelbase, and large wheels, the proportions are quintessential MINI. It’s not all carry-over classic design and retro vibes, though, as both the new Cooper and Countryman models have a few new tricks up their wheel arches.
The MINI Cooper, now in its fifth generation, continues to provide plenty of smiles by delivering go-kart handling and seemingly endless personalization options in a relatively small package. The three-door Cooper E and SE variants are all-electric, while three and five-door gasoline models are still available—that is until 2030, when MINI has said they’ll have phased out all fossil-fuel-burning vehicles from their lineup.
The E packs a 184-horsepower 214-pound-feet electric motor, allowing the base electric model to hit 60 in just 7.3 seconds. The SE has a bit more juice with 218 horsepower and 243 pound feet, taking only 6.7 seconds. Range clocks in at 190 miles and 250 miles, respectively—plenty for the target segment of “local emission-free driving” and then some.
MINI has promised an “immersive user experience” with their new lineup, with Experience Modes being part of the recipe to achieve that goal. The standard experience modes consist of Core, Green, and Go-Kart, each with their own design that transforms both the cabin’s look and feel as well as the car’s driving characteristics. Additional experience modes are available, some as optional equipment: Vivid, Core, Green, Timeless, Balance, and Personal. Of course, all of the modes can be controlled through an app. Where would we be without our devices?
In the spirit of personalization, MINI offers four trim levels for the new Cooper model—Essential, Classic, Favored, and John Cooper Works (JCW)—shifting focus between appearance, performance, interior, and exterior details and design.
MINI’s Intelligent Personal Assistant, which is not named MIPA, but instead can be activated by saying “Hey MINI!” or “Spike,” is available on all four. MINI says, “it is possible to control navigation, telephony, entertainment and numerous other vehicle functions by simply speaking the relevant command,” and that “during the dialogue between customer and vehicle, the MINI Intelligent Personal Assistant continuously learns on repetitive routes.” Just what do you think you’re doing Dave?
The new Countryman offers the same trim levels, experience modes, and features as the Cooper E and SE, in a larger, all-electric, four-door, and optionally all-wheel-drive package. The engine’s output grows as well as it has to propel a larger, heavier vehicle. The all-electric front-wheel-drive Countryman E has an engine output of 204 horsepower and 184 pound-feet, accelerates to 60 in 8.6 seconds, and has a range of 287 miles. The all-electric all-wheel drive SE ALL4 has an output of 313 horsepower and 364 pound-feet, accelerates to 60 in 5.6 seconds, and has a range of 270 miles.
MINI says that with these new models they’re “guaranteeing locally emission-free driving and combining distinctive design, advanced drivetrain technology, and an immersive digital experience.” Both models are being presented at the IAA (International Motor Show) in Munich, September 5-10, where we’ll likely find out more about the brand’s path forward to an all-electric lineup.
My only question for MINI at the moment is, “When’s the next special edition coming?” We haven’t seen a new special edition MINI in months!—Mike Bevels
[Photos courtesy of MINI.]