The electric Mini gets a facelift barely a year after its introduction, but it remains an entertaining prospect for those looking for a fun little EV
Photos: Ben Chia and Leow Ju-Len
Most facelifts happen midway through a car’s life cycle, usually around the two or three year mark. The Mini Electric here though seems to be a bit over eager to improve itself, with its facelift coming just a year after its initial launch.
The international launch was held in January 2020 (back when overseas press trips were still A Thing), while the car arrived in Singapore in August last year. So essentially, the original Mini Electric lasted less than 12 months on sale here before making its way for the updated version here.
Still, self-improvement is always something to be encouraged, and the refreshed Mini Electric brings with it a few updates, primarily to keep it in line with the rest of the Mini range which has also been facelifted. The changes are mainly cosmetic, with a slightly refreshed face on the outside, and minor interior improvements on the inside.
The most obvious difference at first glance is the redesigned front grille, which now features the ‘goatee’ rim surround, a look that is also reflected across the rest of the facelifted Mini range. It certainly makes the car look slightly more assertive, like it’s wearing a somewhat serious expression instead of the cutesy look of before.
The rest of the car remains pretty much unchanged though, and the electrified Mini can be differentiated from its petrol-powered siblings by its unique badges, the bright yellow door mirrors, and the novel-looking wheel design that is purportedly meant to resemble a socket plug. Clever.
The more identifiable changes happen on the inside, with the Mini featuring a completely revamped infotainment system. It is now a touchscreen system at last, with the various functionalities taking the form of movable ‘apps’ like a smartphone, allowing for greater configurability and customisation. The rotary controller still remains, but at least now you can choose to touch the screen if you so please.
The other noticeable update is the steering wheel, which now features a new design that’s looks a bit more modern. The buttons on the wheel are now smooth gloss items instead of the older model’s round toggles. Whether that’s an improvement is subjective, but the older ones were undoubtedly more tactile in their feel as compared to the new car’s haptic touch-style switches.
Under the skin, the electric Mini remains essentially unchanged. This means it still has 184hp and 270Nm of torque from its electric drivetrain, and the car is still as zippy and energetic to drive as ever. If you’ve ever driven a regular Mini, you’ll know how eager it is to dart through traffic, and the electric Mini simply take that up a few notches. It’s quite an entertaining experience, or electrifying even.
The Mini’s one shortcoming though is its range. Mini quotes up to 270km on a full charge, but in reality you’ll probably get somewhere around 230km or so, give or take. That said, given the increasing proliferation of EV chargers sprouting up around our island, topping up the Mini is now slightly less of a hassle than before. A ‘slow’ AC charger will get you to 80 percent charge in about 3 hours, while a fast DC charger should get you there in about 30 minutes or so, which is not that long if you think about it.
While the facelifted Mini Electric doesn’t bring about many significant upgrades, it’s probably a good thing, given that it retains much of the essence that made the original such a favourite. Sometimes, you don’t need to make huge changes, but just small incremental improvements will work just as well.
Mini Cooper SE
|Electric Motor||184hp, 270Nm|
|Charge Time / Type||3.5 hours / AC wallbox (11kW)|
|VES Band||A1 / -S$25,000|
|Price||$168,888 with COE|
|Verdict:||Mildly facelifted electric Mini delivers small changes but retains its entertaining driving essence|