The all-electric MINI Cooper S E has broken cover ahead of its debut, and our spy photographers have spotted the electric hatchback in the midst of a photo shoot in downtown Los Angeles, California. The EV hatch borrows its powertrain from BMW Group stablemate, the 181 hp/270 Nm BMW i3s which packs a battery in either 120 Ah or 60 Ah capacities, with range of up to 345 km (depending on battery type) on the WLTP cycle.

Unlike the rear-wheel drive i3s, however, the MINI Cooper S E will be front-wheel-drive, and the iconic hatchback is expected to carry over most of its interior styling of its fossil fuel-powered models to the pure EV model. On the outside, the MINI Cooper S E carries over select styling cues from the MINI Electric Concept shown at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, such as the unique wheels and yellow highlights on the front grille, side mirrors and wheel rims and hub centres.

Current visual cues on the facelifted range such as the Union Jack design within the tail lamps remain intact, and the charging port resides where the fuel filler would be on an internal combustion MINI. Further visual cues denoting the EV nature of this MINI include a charger plug logo that can be found on the charging port flap, front grille, as well as the ones taped up on this unit.

In terms of positioning, the Cooper S E seen here will be closely matched with the petrol-powered Cooper S, and the 11 hp peak power deficit could well be offset by the instant torque that chraracterises electric powertrains. It’ll still be some way off from the performance of the forthcoming John Cooper Works GP model though, which is said to pack over 300 hp. Might not be too long before the EV catches up, might it?