The MINI Cooper SE has been launched in Thailand, and the brand’s first fully-electric car that one can buy from showrooms is priced at 2.29 million baht (RM304,422) in the Land of Smiles. Sounds like a good deal when the BMW i3s goes for 3.7 million baht (RM491,976) there.

Unveiled in July 2019, the MINI Cooper SE doesn’t look like an EV at first glance, but a typical MINI. Based on the classic 3-Door version of the current F56 generation, the electric powertrain is from the BMW i3s, but adapted for front-wheel drive (the i3S is rear-driven and the motor lies at the back), with a T-shaped lithium-ion battery pack located in the floor.

Designed to fill up the underfloor space vacated by the exhaust system, the battery’s gross energy content is 32.6 kWh (net content is 28.9 kWh; 350.4 volt), and a solid base plate protects it from the elements. The Cooper SE’s ride height has been raised by 18 mm to provide more ground clearance for the battery. Weight wise, the Cooper SE is 145 kg heavier (1,365 kg) than the Cooper S 3-Door automatic, but its centre of gravity is lower.

The e-motor provides 184 hp (135 kW) at 7,000 rpm and 270 Nm of torque from 100 to 1,000 rpm. The 0 to 60 km/h sprint, vital for a city runabout, is achieved in just 3.9 seconds, while 0-100 km/h is done in 7.3 seconds. Top speed is capped at 150 km/h. The quoted range is up to 270 km.

For charging, you’ll get a 11 kW onboard AC charger with a Type 2 connection. Juicing up can be done via a 7.4 kW MINI Electric Wallbox for a single-phase AC outlet, and this takes 4.2 hours (or 3.2 hours to 80%). When plugged into a 11 kW three-phase wallbox, a full charge requires 3.5 hours (or 2.5 hours to 80%). DC fast-charging is supported up to 50 kW, and it’ll take just 35 minutes to get 80% from flat, or 1.4 hours from 0 to 100%.

Design wise, it’s a MINI 3-Door with yellow highlights on the closed grille, wing mirror caps, scuttle plates and wheels. The latter has a unique design for the EV. Inside, the familiar cabin is accompanied by a new 5.5 inch digital instrument panel, a yellow start-stop toggle, eDrive mode (Sport, Mid, Green, and Green+), yellow stitching, and floor mats with the MINI Electric logo. The gear lever is also unique.

BMW Malaysia is considering bringing in the electric Cooper SE this year. For reference, the BMW i3s is priced at RM278,800 here. MINI, probably the best platform for an EV?