189,800! The cheapest BMW MINI in history is still too expensive

In 1956, due to the oil shortage caused by the Suez Canal Crisis, the British Motor Corporation (BMC) launched an economical and fuel-saving car with a displacement of only 848 cc and a maximum output of only 34 horsepower – the classic Mini. This small and practical car quickly became a symbol of an era.

We are no strangers to Mini. With the popularity of the film and television work "Mr. Bean", Mini, which perfectly matches the funny image of Mr. Bean, has gradually become popular among people. Finally in 2003, this legendary model with a history of nearly 70 years officially entered the Chinese market under the leadership of BMW.

After more than 20 years of development, the MINI brand has taken deep roots in China. Today, its flagship MINI Cooper model no longer relies on imports, opening up the road to localization of the MINI brand.

Last weekend, the pure electric MINI Cooper produced by Great Wall and BMW's joint venture Beam Auto was officially launched, with a total of 4 models:

  • Cooper E big player: 189,800 yuan
  • Cooper E Classic: 209,800 yuan
  • Cooper SE Artist: 239,800 yuan
  • Cooper SE racer: 259,800 yuan

It should be noted that this is not only the first domestically produced MINI, but also the first MINI built on a pure electric platform. Compared with the previous generation of "oil-to-electricity" models, the changes brought about by the new car are earth-shaking.

It is true that compared with another smart brand that is also famous for its fashion and compactness, MINI's "electric shock" process is indeed lagging behind. It only launched its first model at a time when the new energy price war is in full swing. On the other hand, the smart brand next door has already grasped the Elf #1 and Elf #3 are two cards.

But at the product level, the smart built based on Geely SEA's vast architecture is somewhat "invisible to everyone". The size is no longer restrained, and the driving control is more gentle. It is only stylized at the design level.

This time the MINI Cooper is different. Maybe the smart is no longer a Mercedes-Benz, but the MINI is still a BMW.

MINI’s personality and persistence

In terms of appearance, the all-new pure electric MINI Cooper inherits MINI's genes to the greatest extent, including the iconic round lights, hexagonal grille, "Police Flag" taillights, and the ultimate "four wheels and four corners" layout. You can All can be found on new cars.

This MINI Cooper, which is powered by pure electric power, has not gained weight due to the insertion of batteries. It still has an extremely restrained body size, with a length of only 3.85 meters, a width of 1.75 meters, and a wheelbase of 2.5 meters. What's even more rare is that its car height is still low, only 1458mm – only 8mm higher than the 2023 Cooper S.

This is an impressive statistic.

Of course, due to different energy forms, the new car also has some differences in details compared with previous fuel models. For example, the black "middle grille" is actually closed, with a millimeter-wave radar integrated into it, and only the lower grille Openings exist. Another difference can only be discovered by observing from the side of the car – in order to optimize energy consumption, the inclination angle of the A-pillar of the new car has become larger, and the "square box" feeling on the old model has been reduced a lot.

Stepping inside the car, BMW is still innovating while highlighting the biggest feature of the MINI interior – the circle.

The most eye-catching thing in the car is undoubtedly the circular OLED central control screen that appears for the first time in the industry. It has outstanding visual effects and the diameter of 240mm is also so "just right". Under the center console, the ceremonial and delicate buttons on the old model have been obviously simplified in the new car, but it still retains several physical switches of different shapes. From left to right they are: parking, gear Select, power on knob, driving mode switch, volume control.

You can find a lot of "innovation" and "heritage" like this in the interior of the new MINI Cooper.

For example, the new sustainable cockpit uses a large number of innovative environmentally friendly materials. This kind of fabric has strong sensory experience advantages both visually and tactilely, but whether it is resistant to dirt is another matter.

MINI said in a press release that the fabric is "easy to care for" and that whether it is coffee, cigarette ashes or ketchup, it can be "effortlessly removed." Don’t believe these words yet. Whether they are true or false, you will know later.

Compared with the material of the instrument panel, what is more ingenious are the two car projections behind the central control screen. They will actively match different driving modes and project different styles of colored light strips on the instrument panel. MINI even won the "CES Innovation Award" at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas based on this design.

But in other areas, MINI did not let their imagination go too far. For example, the adjustment of the windows and rearview mirrors, the door handles and lock buttons are also very traditional, and they have not become pressure-sensitive or fidgeting back and forth. Or integrated into a button.

Changing for the sake of change may not be what MINI wants. Where they think they should stick to it, MINI is still the same MINI.

Being active is the innate gene of MINI. From Monte Carlo to Dakar, this legendary brand has won many laurels in the past 65 years, bringing the go-kart-like driving experience to the road.

Turn the mode switch lever in the middle of the instrument panel to adjust the driving mode to "Kart". At this time, the vehicle will provide you with a simulated sound highly bound to the driver's operation. Even when you release the accelerator, there will be corresponding sound effects. The rhythm is similar to the backfiring of a gas-powered vehicle. If you set the mode to "Classic", you can not only see instruments similar to those on a classic MINI, but you can even hear an "idling sound" when the vehicle is stationary.

In this era where everyone has an analog sound, but no one can do it well, such a performance is really rare.

It is not difficult to see that in terms of driving, the new pure electric MINI is still the same MINI.

Some people may think that the new pure electric MINI only has a 160kW (215 horsepower) front motor, which is a bit inappropriate, but in fact MINI has always been front-wheel drive, and power has never been MINI's strong point – even in the fuel era, but This does not prevent MINI from becoming a driver's car.

In order to achieve the lowest possible sporty sitting position, the new car uses a "sunken" H-shaped battery, so that the head can be raised and the feet can be placed. Of course, it is not only the driver who benefits, but other passengers also have a better riding experience – especially the rear row, which has been greatly improved compared to the previous three-door fuel version.

This is also related to the battery capacity of the new MINI Cooper, which is a 54.2kWh ternary lithium battery from Great Wall's Honeycomb Energy. The capacity is not large, and the CLTC range is only 452km. The actual urban driving range is 360-370km. The smaller battery saves more space in the cockpit. On the other hand, MINI is also able to control the vehicle weight to 1.6 tons to meet the user's requirements for flexible driving control.

Trend, design, and driving control, these three words can sum up everything that the new pure electric MINI pursues. There is never a shortage of bucket products with balanced capabilities on the market. What is lacking is the MINI in front of you, a MINI with its own personality .

The price is also "BMW"

At this point, the "personality" and "persistence" of the new pure electric MINI have been almost introduced, but there is one more thing that I really don't want to complain about –

Its price is still so "BMW".

Don’t look at the starting price of the new MINI Cooper, which is only 189,800 yuan, but the configuration of this model is extremely low, and the maximum power of the motor has been reduced from 160kW to 135kW. This is understandable, but it is not even equipped with keyless entry, let alone L2 level assistance. Driving such a function now.

In addition, the leather seats on high-end models have also been replaced with "classic" fabrics. There is no electric adjustment, no seat ventilation, no seat heating, no seat massage, and all the configurations you can think of are absent. , not even the makeup mirror has a light. In contrast, the entry-level Smart Elf #1 priced at 154,900 yuan from the neighbor next door already has a series of configurations such as electric seats, L2-level assisted driving, 360° surround view, and electric tailgate.

If you choose to add 20,000 yuan to buy a Cooper E classic, you will find that this money can only buy electric seats and change the rims from 16 inches to 17 inches.

What's even more "BMW" is the MINI's engine – although it's beautiful, it suffers from serious lag.

Sometimes you have to wait a while for a cold start (before turning on the air conditioner), which makes getting in the car a bit uncomfortable in the summer.

A media colleague who participated in the MINI test drive event gave a small example to describe the car's lag.

In fact, Dong Chehui had experienced the new MINI at the beginning of this year, and the performance of its built-in MINI OS 9 was not ideal at the time. However, considering that the vehicle was not in mass production at that time, no update was released. More reviews. As a result, its performance is still the same now. Interestingly, the official has not announced what type of chip its car uses.

If the inconvenient operation can still be compensated by voice, then MINI's voice assistant will give you the final fatal blow – it only supports basic settings such as air conditioning, audio, and navigation, opening and closing windows, adjusting energy recovery and simulation It cannot complete advanced operations such as sound waves.

Although intelligence is not a selling point of MINI and its impact on sales may be limited, BMW still needs to face up to its lagging behind in intelligence.

In addition, MINI, which has just completed its domestic production in China, faces another bigger obstacle.

BMW MINI, the future is uncertain

On July 5, the EU officially imposed temporary countervailing duties on imported Chinese pure electric vehicles. The maximum period of temporary tariffs is four months. During this period, EU member states will vote on whether to convert it into a formal tariff for five years.

In this regard, BMW Group CEO Oliver Zipse bluntly said: imposing additional tariffs is the wrong approach. BMW, like many European car companies, relies heavily on China not only for the production of complete vehicles, but also for parts and raw materials. "In the EU, there is not a car whose parts do not come from China," he said.

Kang Songlin, CEO of Mercedes-Benz, another well-established German car company, said in public that what the EU needs to do is to further reduce import tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles. The Volkswagen Group also wrote in a statement: "We believe that the negative consequences of this decision will outweigh any positive consequences."

But if you want to ask who is hurt the most, it is probably BMW and its MINI. Don’t forget, the new pure electric MINI comes from Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu.

Sources said that when the European Commission initially launched its investigation, because the pure electric MINI model was still in the development stage, Beam Auto was unable to meet the Commission's requirements and was therefore classified as a company "unable to cooperate with the investigation." According to the original plan, the pure electric MINI models produced by Beangguang Automobile will not only be sold in the Chinese market, but also exported to Europe to meet the BMW Group's carbon emission targets.

When BMW and Great Wall joined forces, BMW stated: "China has become the world's largest electric vehicle market, and localized production of MINI pure electric models has become a key factor in MINI's sustainable development."

But now, the future of BMW MINI is uncertain.

Anyone with wheels is interested and welcome to communicate. Email: [email protected]

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