Cars > Electric

Mini launches a limited-edition electric convertible

Only 999 Mini SE Convertibles will be made

Electric cars have always lacked a 'fun' option aside from being neck-snapping torque monsters. PHOTO FROM MINI

Among the fast-increasing number of different EVs out there, one form factor is still extremely underrepresented: the convertible. Planet-loving motorists don’t have many options if they want to drive around al fresco, but at least Mini is now giving some of them something to look forward to this summer.

We say “some” because the brand-new Mini SE Convertible that you see here will be limited to just 999 copies. Built at the firm’s manufacturing plant in the Netherlands, it is clearly aimed at rivals like the Smart EQ and the Fiat 500e. While it’s primarily targeted at European buyers, we do hope that a few may end up on our shores as well.

It doesn't even look like an EV on the outside. Perfect if you want to fly under the radar. PHOTOS FROM MINI

The trendy open top will go on sale in April and be available in two colors, Enigmatic Black and White Silver. The door handles, the surrounds for the headlights, the taillights, and the radiator grille, as well as the side trim elements behind the front fenders, are painted in contrasting Resolute Bronze.

On top of that, the Mini logos and the model lettering receive a piano-black finish, and there is “1 of 999” lettering on the doorsills and the side scuttles. Nice-looking 17-inch rims made from recycled aluminum round up the outside appearance and add a touch of sustainability to the car.

Yellow accents are there to remind you that this is an electric car. PHOTOS FROM MINI

Measuring 3.86m in length and standing 1.73m wide with a wheelbase of almost 2.5m, the dimensions are basically the same as those of the ICE-powered Mini Cabrio, and extend to the luggage compartment, which can swallow up to 160L.

The interior welcomes passengers with Mini Yours Leather Lounge design sport seats and a steering wheel finished in Nappa leather, while piano-black trim elements and ambient lighting add a touch of class to the overall look.

A few yellow accents, such as a bright-yellow start button, remind the driver that he’s behind the wheel of an electric Mini. This version also comes with the eDrive services that are also part of the solid roofed electric Mini. This feature gives the driver information about the current power consumption and the range, and even provides tips for an economical driving style.

It's not the most powerful or longest-range EV out there, but it should be a lot of fun without a roof. PHOTOS FROM MINI

All essential information is summarized on a heads-up display. On longer journeys, the active cruise control with stop-and-go function, and a driving assistant are there to make the trip easier and help the pilot. When it comes to the powerplant, the same electric motor is used that also propels the closed E-Mini forward.

The 135kW (184hp) electric motor transmits its maximum torque of 270Nm to the front wheels, enabling a 0-to-100km/h sprint time of 8.2 seconds. Range is given as 201km under WLTP rules, and the soft top (complete with Union Jack pattern) can be opened and closed at up to 30km/h for added convenience and show-off factor.

Now you see it, now you don't. PHOTOS FROM MINI

All of these only leave the price to be revealed, and we’re afraid it’s quite a hefty one for such a small car. Mini is asking for €60,000 (P3.55 million) for the electrified convertible, making it a rather expensive summer toy.

Will they sell them all even at this price? Of course, they will. Minis are fashion cars for people with considerable disposable income, and you can expect to see this roofless number parked outside trendy hotspots in many European cities soon (and hopefully also in Manila).

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring. He writes the aptly named ‘Frankly’ column.