Getting started – Mini convertible Electric: hair in the wind and silence in the bend

And whether the electric was the formula that best suited the convertible? In addition to the quiet operation, the limited autonomy is no obstacle to self-pleasure. In addition, electrification fits perfectly on this Mini SE Cabriolet with the assumed sportiness of the automatic transmission. Obviously, starting an essay with its conclusion spoils the suspense somewhat. But let’s recognize it right away: The loop made at the wheel of this car on the ledge at Sintra in Portugal would have convinced the fiercest of electro-skeptics.

It is not a pleasant car to drive, it is much better: a pure pleasure. It is riveted to the ground like a suction cup. The front axle, aided by a direction more informative than a CNN newspaper allows, can place it at the nearest micron. And the instant torque of 270 Nm revives everything without flinching. But how did the Munich wizards achieve this result?

Will it ever be made? All the more reason to sulk.

The recipe they used to come up with this electric Mini cabin is ultimately quite simple. To achieve this all you have to do is make a good choice from the existing ingredients, mix everything together and serve it chilled. Thus, at the base of this car we already find the mechanical part of the Mini SE, the first electric of the brand, which itself plugged the engine and the batteries that were located under the hood of the BMW i3 S. Simply reduce, remove few cells and the battery in question goes from 37.9 kWh to 32.6 kWh.

“T”-shaped batteries

Why this reduction? For the best, namely a layout of cells in the shape of a T. They are housed in the central tunnel and under the rear seat, which not only balances the small onions, but also the size of the trunk. Certainly, with its 160 liter capacity, we dare not imagine it any smaller. The fault, of course, with the hood that needs to find good shelter. A canvas that electrically expands and folds in 18 seconds to 30 km/h.

The soft top closes flat in 18 seconds.
The soft top closes flat in 18 seconds.

We’ve said it time and time again, this electric convertible is a joy to drive, but not for very long. The time to play with this karting, to turn on mode B, which allows you to recharge (a little) and save (a lot) the brake, and you should already think about connecting to a terminal, since the autonomy is not greater than 230 kilometers. If you’re a bit of a player behind the wheel and stick to the tempting “sport” mode, it’s reduced even more drastically. You have to wait 35 minutes if you are lucky enough to charge it on a 50 kW terminal and 3 hours 10 if you are happy with a 7.4 kW mini terminal to achieve the same result.

There are four people in the passenger compartment.
There are four people in the passenger compartment.
The central screen is similar to that of the Mini
The central screen is similar to that of the “classic” Minis. But the driver keyboard is rather poorly integrated.

During this time we will have every opportunity to take advantage of the interior space of this car, which is strictly identical for the dashboard to that of the Mini SE. The all-round central screen with questionable ergonomics is still there, as is the other equally digital screen, which replaces the three small dials of the thermal versions. Large enough to always provide the essential speed and range information, this central display is not very well integrated: it just seems to have been installed (and luckily repaired) at the last minute, as if it had been forgotten by the designer to take into account the interior of the car.

35 minutes in fast charge mode to reach 80%, and 3 hours 10 on a 7.4 kW terminal.
35 minutes in fast charge mode to reach 80%, and 3 hours 10 on a 7.4 kW terminal.

On the other hand, forgetting the central screen has perfectly managed to accommodate four people on board without too many worries, which in a small 3.86 m convertible is a feat. So we can have a picnic with the family (but without a thick umbrella) if we don’t go on holiday on board. But again, it’s primarily a complacency car and not an all-purpose station wagon. A delight that still makes one wonder how it is possible with the overweight of this Mini SE convertible. Because the thermal convertible already weighs 1,320 kg, which is quite heavy for a small car, but the electric model, which requires the battery, adds more. Despite its 1420 kg, the small convertible remains agile thanks to the great work of the engineers who designed it.

A future Mini SE convertible as standard?

But this work is as hard as in vain. Because this Mini Cabriolet is a unique example that will never be mass-produced. Why so much hatred towards those who want to drive in the open air without noise and without C02 emissions? In fact, the current Mini and its convertible version are at the end of their lives. The new generation will come next year with a platform designed for electrification. Will it be available in a convertible version? “Das were Sie früh genug herausfinden” (you’ll find out soon enough) just repeat Munich frames.

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