BMW had been a leader in the world of electrified cars since their rise almost a decade ago. It rose to popularity with its unique “i” lineup of electrified vehicles and ambitious plans for the future. However, the German automaker has been lagging behind the competition and has, for the most part, only produced compliance cars (cars made to satisfy regulatory needs) as of late. Let’s look at the brand’s latest attempt at electrification and see whether it has what it takes to relive its former glory.
The interior of all modern Minis has been a delight. Sharing its DNA with BMW interiors, the SE’s interior is typically Mini in its design, including gimmicky elements such as an infotainment system set in a large circular housing in the center of the dash and toggle switches for controlling items such as the interior lights, ignition, and the standard automatic stop/start system. An improvement over traditional Minis comes in the form of a 5.5 inch LCD instrument panel in place of traditional analogue dials, in additional to the usual instrumentation, it also displays the battery’s charge level, driving range, navigation and other infotainment functions. While the car is charging, it also displays available range, the percent of charge, exterior temperature, the time when charging will be completed, and other pertinent info. If the quirky and somewhat whimsical design of the interior does not bother you, there’s a lot to like about the SE’s cabin, which is assembled from high-quality materials and offers adequate passenger space. The rear bench seat is mounted high and offers enough space for long-haul comfort.
In terms of features, the SE comes as standard with a 6.5-inch central touchscreen with navigation, but an 8.8-inch screen with Apple Carplay (but not Android Auto) is optional. Every Cooper SE will feature a dual-zone automatic climate-control system and a unique heat-pump design that uses 75 percent less energy than a traditional electric heater. A smartphone app enables SE owners to heat or cool their car’s interior to a specific temperature prior to climbing aboard. Mini hasn’t revealed much more about other standard or optional features, but the SE will come in three different trim levels. With that said, it is a modern, premium car so you can expect the best in technology, safety, and comfort.