Mini Cooper SE: Review

Published On Jul 05, 2022 By Nabeel for Mini Cooper SE

How can something new feel as authentic as the original?

The electric Mini Cooper SE is the latest model from Mini. A brand that draws its lineage from a single model - the Morris Mini. What made this model powerful enough to start a legacy of its own was its agility, affordability and most of all - it was mini. Its city-friendly dimensions made it a massive success in crowded streets and most users sought to drive it only inside the city. 

However, with the revival of this brand, the Mini got bigger, costlier and though the models in the range were better all-rounders, they weren't as simple and fun as the original anymore. Fast forward two decades and there has arrived a car which recreates the magic of the original, but in a completely different way. 


To make EVs look a certain way, manufacturers tend to go overboard with futuristic designs. However, the charm of a Mini is in its simplicity and the Cooper SE stands true to that. Cleverly, Mini has not touched the bodywork to make it look electric, but rather played with some of the highlights. The result? you have a hatchback which looks just like a regular Mini and yet has the flair of being electric. 

What immediately grabs your attention are the non-symmetric 17-inch aero wheels with fluorescent green highlights and the green ORVMs. That's it. That's all you need to see in order to know it is an EV. Yes, the front bumper is a little different, but still retains the oval face and the rear with the Union Jack tail lamps, is identical to other Minis, minus of course the tailpipes. 

And if you have a keen eye for detail, there is the electric Mini symbol on the charger flap and on the boot. It is this minor yet loud and significant tweak to the design that makes it look significantly different, yet the same. The Mini Cooper SE looks unmistakably Mini, but with a flavor of fun.


Like the exterior, the interior of the EV sports minimal tweaks too. Fluorescent green highlights can be seen on the engine start toggle and the gear shifter and the dashboard also gets an interesting sprinkle of Tetris-like elements which look playful. 

Otherwise things are as they are in the regular car, like the big round central display and a digital instrument cluster. While the quality of the cabin and materials remains sub-par to a vehicle costing half a crore Rupees, there are some highlights here. 

The seats are large and comfortable and come with premium fabric upholstery. This makes spending time here more comfortable - than the racier JCW twin. The ambient lights in the dashboard and the door pads add to the playfulness and the LED ring around the infotainment is a beautiful blend of form and function as it can work as volume, proximity for rear sensor display and more. 

Speaking of the EV-specific elements, there are few. The instrument cluster on the left has a power consumption display and on the right, a battery indicator. The range is displayed on the top right while the battery percentage is on the bottom right. Everything is where you’d expect it to be without having to change much. 

In terms of features, highlights include a twin sunroof, Apple CarPlay, automatic climate control, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System and a Harman Kardon sound system. You do not get a head-up display or powered seats here, or other fancy features like a 360-degree camera, because it's not that kind of a car. What you get are the basics and they work very well. 

The rear seats continue to accommodate under-6 feet adults for city stints. However, one would require the flexibility of a gymnast to get in and out fairly comfortably. The rear seats fold 50:50 to open up space in the boot and even with them up, you manage to keep small suitcases if you are picking up a friend from the airport. Emphasis on ‘a’ friend. 

So far we have covered that the Mini Cooper SE looks simple yet fun and the interior does nothing special, but everything works just fine and it is a comfortable cabin to be in. But now it's time to talk about its biggest talking point - the powertrain. 

Motor And Performance

The Mini Cooper SE is powered by a single motor turning the front wheels. A rather simple architecture in today’s multi-motor EV universe. It makes 184 PS/270 Nm (rather humble for a luxury EV) and gets a tiny 32.6kWh battery back. To put these specifications into context, our desi Nexon EV Max gets a motor capable of 143PS/250 Nm and packs a 40.5kWh battery. However, what happens when you start driving is not ordinary at all. 

The Cooper SE has a lot of console-game-like sound effects which help set the mood in the car. When you start the car, and also when you start driving (given it is quiet outside as the sound is directed towards pedestrians), it is accompanied by a spaceship-like sound that is not too childish to be deemed silly, yet is - playful. Like every EV, the start and get-going has no noise whatsoever from the motor and the experience feels rather premium. The throttle response also feels relaxed and friendly and this makes driving it in town an excellent and calm experience. 

You have 4 drive modes, Green+, Green, Mid and Sport. Green+ is a panic mode that you use when you know you will run out of battery. It not only lowers the performance but also shuts down the air conditioning. As compared to Green. It can provide approximately 18km of additional range. Green mode is the economy mode that can be easily used in the city. It offers a laid-back throttle response, but has ample juice for overtakes and getting away from traffic signals. If you are looking for a bit more poke, Mid it is. At least on the display, you lose just one Km here when compared with green, but the experience is very different. It lets you accelerate much harder for overtakes and this is where you start to feel the true nature of the Cooper SE. 

However, Sport mode is where the Cooper SE feels like a proper Mini. With all the torque unleashed and the paddle now ready to launch you, acceleration is sudden and silent. It puts you at the back of your seat. And this happens on roll-ons as well. Be it 40, 60 or 80kmph, putting your foot down will propel you forward with force. We tested the acceleration and the SE managed to get to 100kmph in just 7.13s (just a second slower than the JCW) and the 20-80kmph sprint took merely 4.06s. This is properly quick. 

Now, dial in the compact dimension and you have a hoot to drive inside the city. The Mini accelerates and brakes before the cars around have had a chance to react. This keeps you entertained and ahead of the traffic. You can make tight turns, quick overtakes and gaps, take narrow lanes for shortcuts and cut through traffic like its butter. I haven't driven the Original Mini, but can imagine it being equally fun. The lively acceleration, compact dimensions and a sturdy feel from the steering keep you properly entertained. In fact, I have never had more fun commuting in any other car before. 


This fun comes at a big cost. Range. Because the Mini is low, you can't place the battery pack under the floor. This means it takes up space where the fuel tank was and this limits the capacity. At full charge, the Mini offers just 177km in Green+ mode! Mid gives you just 158km. And if you decide to drive in Sport, this range drops quicker than the traffic disappearing behind you. This effectively renders the Mini useless in intercity travels. And no, it cannot be the only car in your garage. 

However, the goal of the original Mini was never to be a highway tourer anyway. It was aimed to offer high practicality and fun within city limits and the SE does exactly that. If you have a charger at home, its tiny battery can be easily charged overnight and then you get bonkers-fun commuting for an entire day. And this is what the SE is all about. It might give you just 100km of range in Sport, but then it's 100km of pure joy in the city. It offers multiple regen modes including a single paddle operation which you can use to help a bit with range but that too has little effect. The best is to charge it every night and have fun every day. 

Ride And Handling

The Cooper SE gets you within a second of the performance of the JCW. But what it does not do, is break your back, or your heart. The JCW is a sporty variant of the Mini and for that, it has stiff suspension and large wheels, which can be delicate to handle in our cities. Cooper SE has none of those issues. With a comfortable and well-balanced suspension, and those cushiony seats, this hatchback is rather comfortable on city roads. It handles broken patches with a stride and won't complain about potholes too. And the wheels have enough rubber cushion for you to not worry about them. 

And while the handling is not as sharp as the JCW, it's on point and excellent for a daily commuter. The steering is precise and you know what the wheels are doing when you are cutting through traffic. This Mini is offering you tremendous performance with a layer of comfort, just as I imagine the original did. 


This is where it gets tricky. The Cooper SE is priced at Rs 48.7 lakh. The JCW, Rs 47.7 lakh. At this price, the Cooper SE proves to be a better, if not a more fun commuter than the JCW. And if you are in the market for a luxury EV for everyday driving, this is where the range starts. Everything else, including the Kia EV6, is more expensive. And will be less of a hooligan than the SE. And in that context, in the fun-to-money ratio, the SE is quite affordable. 


Everything that made the original Mini an urban icon, makes the Cooper SE an excellent car in the city. It's compact, comfortable, tremendous fun and belongs inside the city. Yes, the range is less than some electric two-wheelers and practicality is limited with two doors and a small boot. But, if you can overlook these, and want a fun little experiment for everyday driving, the Mini Cooper SE will put a smile on your face and keep it there, at least as long as the charge lasts. 

Mini Cooper SE

Variants*Ex-Showroom Price New Delhi
Electric (Electric)Rs.53.50 Lakh*

Latest Hatchback Cars

Upcoming Cars

Popular Hatchback Cars

Trending Electric Cars

  • Popular
  • Upcoming
We need your city to customize your experience