The new Mini Cooper SE has been revealed as the brand’s first fully electric model ... and it’s headed to South Africa in “limited quantities” in the first quarter of 2021.

The BMW-backed firm says the new three-door model’s lithium-ion battery – sited “deep in the vehicle floor” – enables a range of between 235 to 270 km. The 32,6 kWh battery can be charged at a household socket, wallbox or public charging station, with fast direct-current charging possible at up to 50 kW.

Its electric motor will offer 135 kW and 270 N.m to the front wheels via a single-speed transmission (and an integrated differential), facilitating a sprint from zero to 60 km/h in a claimed 3,9 seconds and from zero to 100 km/h in a claimed 7,3 seconds. Top speed is limited to 150 km/h.

Four driving modes will be offered: mid, sport, green and green+. Interestingly, the new Cooper SE is also the first electrically powered model from the BMW Group in which the driver can influence the degree of energy recuperation efficiency via a toggle switch (effectively alllowing the driver to configure the system's braking effect).

The positioning of the battery pack means the Cooper SE is able to offer the same luggage space as the conventionally powered three-door model: a claimed 211 litres, expanding to 731 litres with the rear bench folded down.

The only “measurable difference”, according to the automaker? The Cooper SE rides 18 mm higher to ensure sufficient ground clearance for the high-voltage battery. Well, that and the fact the electric model is some 145 kg heavier than the three-door model (with an automatic transmission), tipping the scales at 1 365 kg.

Interestingly, the Cooper SE will be fitted as standard with “acoustic pedestrian protection”, offering a “distinctive sound” via a speaker system.

Inside, you’ll find a model-specific instrument cluster consisting of a 5,5-inch colour screen behind the steering wheel. Other interior features include the model-specific gear selector lever and an electric parking brake that is activated and triggered via a switch on the centre console.