2025 Mini Cooper SE: First Drive

Kunal D’souza
by Kunal D’souza
The 2025 Mini Cooper SE

Quick Take

With a range of colors that would make a pack of Skittles blush and those big round headlights and happy face, the Mini Cooper SE is as cute as a button. It makes people smile and kids love them. The Mini has always been a happy car, and the new 2025 Mini Cooper SE is no exception.

Without the original Mini Cooper, the template for small cars might have looked very different today. When Sir Alec Issigonis drew the basic design of the Mini on the back of a napkin, he might not have realized how revolutionary his idea was going to become.

Born out of necessity, the Mini had to be fuel efficient, seat four people in a body just 10 feet long, and also come in at a price that made it accessible to many and not just the fortunate few. Like the VW Beetle, this was the UK’s people’s car. Micromachines like the BMW Isetta were gaining traction and flying off shelves in response to the impending fuel crisis, so Mini’s timing was spot on.

Its advanced design pushed the wheels out to the farthest corners of the body leaving the smallest of overhangs and also maximizing interior space. Over eighty percent of the body was dedicated to passengers and cargo and the tiny engine in front was transversely mounted which meant the Mini was front-wheel drive and that was quite uncommon in 1959 when it debuted.

The Mini has been through 3 modern interpretations since the brand was revived by BMW in 2001, each one gaining more size, power, and inevitably weight. In 2020, the Mini Cooper SE brought an all-electric powertrain to the lineup.

What’s New

With the latest and fourth modern Mini generation, the company has moved closer to the original than ever before evident in the cleaner and less cluttered design and a reduction in overall length of about 50 mm. The wheelbase has grown, however, affording slightly more room for passengers and cargo.

The indicators have moved from the fenders to the mirror, the headlights no longer get the chrome surround, and elements like flush door handles, flush taillights, and a lower-profile roof-mounted antenna, make this a minimalist's Mini.

The biggest changes have been to the interior which is in a word, spectacular. For its price point, the incorporation of textiles and colors, projected lighting on the dash, and the industry’s first round OLED screen recall the original more than ever but still plants its feet firmly in the future.

Both gas and electric versions will be available including an electric version of the sporty John Cooper Works trim of which we know little about, but only the electric Mini SE was available for us to drive. The new Mini Cooper SE gets a 54.2 kWh battery and a 160-kW electric motor that powers the front wheels. Power is rated at 215 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque which are excellent numbers for something with such a small footprint.

The Mini SE can fast-charge at up to 95 kW which means a 10-80 per cent boost in 30 minutes but that’s relatively slow compared to what we’ve been seeing, but it’s nearly twice as fast as it was before. The range according to the optimistic WLTP cycle is up to 402 km.


Each “experience” mode in the Mini tweaks the lighting, driving sounds, and driving characteristics and there are many of them, including “Timeless” which is said to channel the character of the classic Mini. Go-kart mode was the most fitting with sharper responses from the steering, chassis and throttle. Green mode does a 180 and the screen displays a hummingbird flapping its wings and it awards you with “bonus” mileage for driving efficiently.

Each different mode brings new sounds, jingles, and warning chimes and is a quirky yet very “Mini” way of making things a little lighter and more fun. It’s evident from the minute you sit in the driver’s seat that the Mini SE is unlike other EVs on the market. It feels light, agile, and joyous.

The original was a quarter of the size and weight of this new one and it actually was a go-kart, especially because there was no power steering and you were practically sitting on the floor, but that bouncy, happy feel was captured in this new Mini, and it’s what you notice right away.

The steering has more feel and requires less effort to turn than before and its short wheelbase makes it feel like it can rotate within itself. You can chuck it into corners with near reckless abandon and it will scamper out of them spinning its front tires like an excited little pooch.

With 215 hp, it’s factory-rated 0-100 km/h time is 6.7 seconds, which isn’t exactly quick by today’s standards but more power was the last thing it needed

Floor the e-pedal and you’ll even get torque steer, a relic of front-wheel driven internal combustion engine cars. The electric Mini actually has some of it “programmed” in because the engineers wanted to make it feel nostalgic. Even wheelspin can completely be eliminated with electric motors due to how precisely they can be controlled but not here and it really adds an element of fun this author hasn’t experienced in an EV so far.

The Mini Cooper SE is still a very small car best experienced with one passenger riding up front but the rear seats do feel slightly more spacious than before and my 6-foot frame was able to sit back there, but not for very long.

The 2025 Mini is shorter overall, yet has a longer wheelbase

Final Thoughts

With a range of colors that would make a pack of Skittles blush and those big round headlights and happy face, the Mini Cooper SE is as cute as a button. It makes people smile and kids love them. The Mini has always been a happy car, and this one is no exception. It’s also very efficient, registering 15.3 kWh over a distance of over 300 km and we weren’t driving it lightly. This is one instance where the WLTP range estimate doesn’t seem that far-fetched. It's also a bag of laughs behind the wheel and it might as well be your favourite Hot Wheels come to life. We can’t wait to see what the JCW version has in store.

Pricing has not yet become available.



- Efficiency

- Classic lack of space

- Classic happy Mini Feel

- Underpowered

- Interior

2025 Mini Cooper SE


Electric motor, 215 horsepower


243 lb-ft torque


Single-speed, front-wheel drive

US Fuel Economy (mpg):


CAN Fuel Economy (L/100 km):


Starting Price (USD):


Starting Price (CAD):


As-Tested Price (USD):


As-Tested Price (CAD):


Kunal D’souza
Kunal D’souza

From the moment he set his four year old eyes on a brand new red BMW convertible, Kunal was a car enthusiast for life. Now he writes about them professionally and travels the world in the quest of the best stories, whether it’s Porsches in Spain or Rams in Texas and anything in between. Kunal has never owned a car with an automatic transmission, if that counts for anything.

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