For years, I’ve been begging automakers to make an electric convertible sports car. Ever since I drove the BMW i8 Roadster, with its topless design and electric driving mode, I’ve really wanted a drop-top electric car because it’s far more fun to drive an electric convertible than naysayers might think. However, my cries for such a vehicle went unheard. Until now, because the all-new MINI Cooper SE Convertible just dropped.
First MINI EV Cabrio
OK, OK, so the MINI Cooper SE Convertible isn’t exactly a sports car. It’s more of a fun, sporty hatchback. Except, it’s a convertible, so it really isn’t a hatchback anymore. But you get the idea. The MINI Cooper SE Convertible is exactly what it sounds like it is—a convertible version of the all-electric Cooper SE hatchback. There’s really nothing more to it than that. Sure, the press release is full of superlatives and flowery talk of scenic, romantic drives. But it’s a MINI Cooper SE with its roof cut off.
BMW Cooper SE Convertible in Mallorca
7.7 Seconds to 60 mph
That isn’t a bad thing, though. The MINI Cooper SE hatchback is quite the fun little EV to drive, so the convertible version should be just as fun. Actually, it might even be more fun, thanks to the open-air driving experience. Sure its range is pretty short, with a maximum leash of just 143 miles (230 km), and it isn’t particularly powerful, packing just 184 horsepower, but it should still have the same nippy handling and sense of fun as ever other small MINI. Just don’t expect any thrilling performance figures. The MINI Cooper SE convertible takes 7.7 seconds to reach 60 mph.
As for the convertible top itself, it’s a power folding soft-top that takes 18 seconds to open or close and can be operated at 30 km/h (around 19 mph). It’s the same convertible roof you’ll find on the gas-powered MINI Convertible, so nothing new to see there. Interestingly, the load compartment is said to be unchanged, despite the addition of the soft-top roof, at 160 liters (5.6 cubic feet). However, with the top down, the experience of the Cooper SE could be quite a bit different than the standard Cooper or Cooper S.
Driving an electric convertible is more fun than it sounds, as the lack of powertrain noise actually feels very cool and allows every other sound of nature to fill your ears. There’s something incredibly serene about driving an electric convertible, especially at normal speeds, that makes you feel one with the environment. With the Cooper SE Convertible’s compact size and nippy handling, I can imagine that it will be quite fun to hustle, with the top down, on a twisty backroad. It will also probably be relaxing in normal traffic. Maybe not in a big city, where extreme noise and odors might fill the cabin. But in suburban towns, it could be quite nice.
There’s no official starting price as of yet, as the car was just revealed during the 2022 MINI Takes the States event. But expect it to be a few thousand dollars more than the standard Cooper SE, which starts at $29,900. The MINI Cooper SE Convertible isn’t going to break any new ground. Its range is short and it doesn’t push the EV game forward in any way. However, it does offer a unique experience that should actually be quite fun. And affordable as well.