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Best of 2022

Progress report: 2022 Mini Electric vs Mini Cooper 2000

The much-loved Mini has come a long way – does the electric variant deserve the Cooper badge?

(2022) Mini Electric vs Mini Cooper (2000)
  • THESE TWO LOOK LIKE LITTLE BUNDLES OF FUN

    (2022) Mini Electric vs Mini Cooper (2000)

    Who doesn’t love a Mini? You surely know the story by now – in the late Fifties, the Suez oil crisis had sent fuel prices soaring, so Leonard Lord, boss of the British Motor Corporation, challenged an engineer by the name of Alec Issigonis to design something small, efficient and affordable. Issigonis pushed all four wheels to the far corners and fitted a space-saving transversely mounted engine, and over the next 41 years an incredible 5,387,862 were produced, making the Mini a true British motoring success story.

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  • WHERE DO THESE ONES FIT IN THE FAMILY TREE?

    (2022) Mini Electric vs Mini Cooper (2000)

    To the right we have #306 of the final 500 ‘original’ Minis to roll off the production line, complete with John Cooper-signed certificate and a unique plaque mounted in the glovebox compartment reading “This Mini is one of the last 500 built to the original Sir Alec Issigonis design”. Following BMW’s acquisition of Mini in the Nineties, the ‘new’ model was launched in early 2000, with the third and current generation revealed in 2013, and the electric variant, as pictured on the left, introduced in 2020.

  • HOW DO THEY DIFFER IN PERFORMANCE?

    (2022) Mini Electric vs Mini Cooper (2000)

    The MkVII Mini got a 1,275cc A-Series engine producing 62bhp and 70lb ft of torque paired with a four-speed manual gearbox. It weighs in at just 696kg and is capable of 0–60mph in 12.2secs and a top speed of 92mph. The new electric variant gets a single motor on the front axle with 181bhp and 199lb ft of torque, 0–62mph takes 7.3 secs and vmax is a modest 93mph. It’s almost doubled in weight, mind, weighing in at 1,365kg – that’s largely due to the 32.6kWh battery, enough for up to 145 miles of range.

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  • WHAT’S THE OLD-TIMER LIKE TO DRIVE?

    (2022) Mini Electric vs Mini Cooper (2000)

    Clambering inside – not the easiest of tasks given my 6ft 2in frame – brings back plenty of memories; both my auntie and brother owned identical generation Minis. Who doesn’t know someone who’s had a Mini at some point in their life? On the move the heavy steering, cramped driving position and firm ride all contribute to the go-kart like feel, and while the 4cyl engine isn’t particularly gutsy, such is the sensory overload it feels like you’re going much faster than you actually are. You can’t help but grin.

  • HAS THE NEW ONE LOST THE ORIGINAL’S CHARM?

    (2022) Mini Electric vs Mini Cooper (2000)

    It feels more grown up, but on the right road, in the right conditions, it hasn’t lost any of its fun factor: agile, surefooted, and nippier than you might expect. The driving position is much improved, while its low centre of gravity means it remains just as much fun to chuck around. It may not assault the senses in quite the same way as the old version, but electric propulsion feels like it suits the newcomer. For laughs a minute, however, the MkVII Mini wins every time.

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