Advanced development is underway and we've been given some important figures.
It's almost time for Mini to officially reveal the next-generation Cooper Hardtop. The new model, which will arrive as a fully-electric vehicle (in three-door form, at least), is a return to tradition. It's more compact than before and promises truly exciting driving dynamics - much like the original that debuted in 1959.
The latest variant should be a far more usable vehicle than its predecessor, too. Mini has released battery and range details for the new model, and things look promising. The base model, known as the Cooper E, will utilize a 40.7 kWh battery, while the sportier SE will wade into battle with a 54.2 kWh battery.
Mini claims this will provide a "predicted range" of between 186 and 248 miles. We can expect slightly lower figures once the new Cooper is subjected to the more stringent EPA test cycle. Still, it's a huge improvement over the existing Cooper Electric Hardtop, which makes use of a 32.6 kWh battery pack that affords a disappointing 114 miles of range.
Based on previous claims from the manufacturer, the Cooper E will produce 181 horsepower, while the more athletic SE derivative will have a more potent 215 hp on tap. Mini says the new Cooper will have notably more interior room and cargo space despite the compact exterior dimensions.
The existing model was never a capacious motorcar, but the "Mini space concept" will provide superior luggage space while still retaining the four-seater setup. Hopefully, the rear bench will be a touch roomier than it currently is.
"Mini is fun; it's still go-karting. It's always been a very friendly car. A Mini has to be easy and simple and easygoing; anything too complex is actually not [a] Mini. I think it's about preserving what you have," said Stefanie Wurst, head of the Mini brand, earlier this year.
Like the forthcoming Mini Countryman (another all-electric Mini), the second-generation Cooper Electric will be produced at the BMW Group Plant Leipzig.
Despite the poor maximum range, the existing Cooper Electric Hardtop has enjoyed great success across the globe. First introduced in 2020, sales of the battery-powered Mini increased by 25.5% last year, for a grand total of more than 43,000 deliveries in 2022. Despite the hefty price tag (and older BMW i3 underpinnings), it was the most popular Mini by sales last year. In fact, the three-millionth example off the assembly line was a Cooper Electric.
The latest model will undoubtedly continue this tradition, especially as the next-gen Cooper three-door will only be sold as an EV. Interestingly, Mini still has plans to offer a combustion engine, but you'll have to opt for the five-door model if you want a traditional gas-powered motor. There's no word yet on whether the manual gearbox will survive, with Mini claiming an eight-speed automatic may be the only transmission choice for ICE variants.
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