MINI is currently testing the next-generation electric Hardtop in Swedish Lapland at Arjeplog’s proving ground. This will allow MINI to fine-tune the chassis and steering for the go-kart feel customers have come to expect from the core model.
The automaker released a huge photo gallery to mark the occasion. It includes an interesting set that features the 2024 MINI Cooper SE prototype as well as all the previous generations of MINI Hardtops, including the original Mini from the 1960s.
It is fascinating to look at the four previous generations together, as it allows us to see how MINI’s core model has evolved with each iteration.
The fifth generation is a noteworthy exception, as it is slightly lighter and shorter than the MINI Cooper SE. It uses a unique electric vehicle architecture that was co-developed by BMW Group, Great Wall Motor, and others. This is in contrast to the current generation, which shares its platform alongside ICE-powered models.
2024 MINI Cooper SE Review
The new EV architecture will enable the MINI’s new electric MINI to have smaller exterior dimensions. However, the interior will be larger thanks to a 40mm (1.6 in) longer wheelbase.
Because the EV-only platform allows the wheels to be pushed further toward the vehicle’s extremities Autocar learned this after taking a test drive in the MINI Cooper SE just 18 months before it goes on sale. According to Autocar, engineers were able to fit a larger battery pack in the 2024 model than the 32.6-kWh unit of the current EV (of which only 28.9kWh are usable).
Autocar was able to confirm the authenticity of the images that were leaked late last year regarding the styling. The new model features a familiar front with bold taillights, an updated rear, and a minimalist dashboard that is dominated by a large round touchscreen in the middle.
Interestingly, the MINI Hardtop, which will be powered by gasoline, will look very similar to the EV. However, the MINI Hardtop will ride on an updated FAAR architecture, the same one used by the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer.
The EV will be available as a three-door hatch, while ICE models will remain in three- and five-door hatchbacks and convertible body styles.
2024 MINI Cooper SE Revealed
The manufacturing location will also be a key difference between the ICE MINI and EV. Spotlight Automotive Limited will build the electric model in China starting in 2023. ICE models will still be made in Oxford, UK.