The All New Electric MINI Cooper And MINI Countryman Go Back To Basics

Mini is going back to basics with its new all-electric Cooper and Countryman models — though each does so in its own way. The Cooper is looking back to the vehicle's 1950s roots, "underscoring" the original Mini design while also setting its focus on the brand's all-electric future. Mini is one of a growing number of manufacturers aiming to switch its entire output to electric vehicles by 2030. The Countryman on the other hand is aiming to carve out a part of the compact BEV SUV market by offering itself up as a "minimalist all rounder," shedding parts that Mini has deemed unnecessary while retaining its style and character.

Both vehicles also make use of the new Mini Experience Modes that were unveiled over the summer. The modes are part of a revamped interior and infotainment system the classic car maker is launching. Some of the modes are tied to vehicle settings, like "Go Kart" mode, while others are highly customizable. A new voice assistant is planned, along with access to things like gaming. The experience modes play in with the new interior and exterior features of both the electric Cooper and its crossover counterpart, the Countryman. Despite the modern drive toward electric power, at their core, they are still the small, practical, fun vehicles people have grown to love over the past six decades.

The Cooper SE is a modern Mini with a vintage feel

Like many of its predecessors, the new Mini Cooper is designed for "urban driving fun," with go-kart-like handling and acceleration. Four trims are available: the essential, favored, classic, and John Cooper Works (JCW) trims all bring something slightly different to the table — though those with an affinity for Mini due to its racing pedigree may naturally be drawn to its JCW variant. The "favored" trim offers a more modern take on the classic little car. Over the past 60 years, the Mini has offered "the greatest possible space utilization for passengers despite compact external dimensions." In the 2020s, things haven't changed. Despite getting slightly larger, the Mini Cooper still offers a degree of practicality while remaining one of the smallest vehicles on the market. Its Classic trim offers even more nostalgia, including a 2D knitted pattern adorning its interior.

In terms of the powertrains on offer, a standard "E" electric powertrain is available with an "SE" variant on offer for those who want a bit more punch from their little electric vehicle. The electric powertrains serve to enhance the "Go Kart" feeling of the Cooper. The Cooper E's motor offers the equivalent of 184 horsepower and can catapult the little car from zero to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds. With 34 extra horsepower, the SE's motor shaves over half a second off that zero to 60 time, accelerating to the benchmark in just 6.7 seconds. In terms of range, the Cooper E will manage around 190 miles on a single charge, while the SE offers a significant amount more, managing a shade under 250.

The Countryman is bigger, better, and a little more distinctive

In addition to the minimized interior, the Mini Countryman has increased in size this time around. It's now six centimeters (around two inches) taller and 13 centimeters (roughly four inches) longer. Two powertrain options are on offer, with a 150 kW/204 horsepower output available with the Mini Countryman E, and a 230 kW/313 horsepower SE version available. The basic power train has 250 Newton meters of torque available, but the SE trim almost doubles that with 494 Newton meters of torque on offer. The more powerful SE version does trade in a bit of range though, offering just under 270 miles compared to the S trim's 287.

The redesigned, minimalist Mini has a number of features fans of the brand will recognize, including "short overhangs, a short bonnet and the contrasting long wheelbase with large wheels." The company claims that reducing design elements "to the essentials" means features like the circumferential windows and contrasting roof stand out more — making the Mini Countryman more recognizable. As with the Cooper, there are three rear light settings to choose from, including an iconic Union Flag design that pays homage to the vehicle's British roots. Four trims are on offer with the same four trims available as you see on the Cooper SE. New roof colors, Vibrant Silver, Indigo Sunset Blue, and Chili Red are also available — allowing you to customize your Countryman to your heart's content.