Sometimes a car comes along that you just look at and think: wow!
That, certainly for me, was the effect the limited-numbers Mini Electric Shadow Edition had when I first cast my eyes on it. Stealthy-looking and a true headturner, it’s the premium option for anyone looking for an electric Mini.
The Shadow Edition trim makes its first appearance on an electric Mini, having initially been rolled out on the Clubman and Countryman. Stealth is the key word. It’s painted in Midnight Black, fitted with fully black 17-inch alloys, boasts a dechromed look, plus there’s subtle exterior decals. The result is a dark sultry look.
It’s also based on the flagship premium L3 trim. That means it’s packed to the rafters with goodies such as sumptuous heated leather seats, a panoramic sunroof, head-up display, Harman Kardon sound system and Matrix LED headlights.
Everywhere you , and everything you touch in the cabin oozes quality and refinement. The Mini Electric has always been one of the most upmarket small cars, and the Shadow Edition elevates this to a new level.
The changes introduced in the Shadow Edition are purely about style. That means Mini hasn’t made any changes to the Electric’s zippy powertrain: and that’s no bad thing. Delivering 181bhp and 199lb ft of torque (figures not too dissimilar from the petrol Cooper S hot hatch), 0-62mph takes just 7.1 seconds. Top speed has been capped at 93mph. Perhaps most impressively, it’ll do 0-31mph in 3.9 seconds.
As is the case in the standard Mini Electric, the front-mounted motor gets its power from a 32.6kWh battery. It’s worth highlighting that the battery is smaller than rivals such as the Vauxhall Corsa-e which, with its 50kWh battery has a range of around 222 miles. The electric Mini has a range of 141 miles (WLTP). In the real world, that’s around 115 miles.
But let’s put that in perspective. I used the car for a week in the role of the family’s second car. I covered just over 100 miles in the time I had it and never even had to recharge the Mini. Parent company BMW delved into a lot of Mini owners’ data and identified that the average petrol-powered Cooper S travels 26 miles a day, or around 180 miles a week, before it opted to install the 32.6kWh battery in the electric car.
And, of course, a small battery means shorter charging times.Using a 49kW DC fast charger, the Mini Electric can do 12 to 92 miles charge in 29 minutes. Alternatively a full charge using an 7kW home wallboxwill take 5 hour 30 minutes.
We all know the driving experience in a Mini has always been top rate, and it’s no different in the electric version. Perhaps, even, it’s even better thanks to the sheer responsiveness of the electric motor. You’ll smile each time you zip quickly up to a high speed, especially in traffic.
It’s also a firm ride, which I always like in a car, and firmer than the standard Mini Electric. Personally that makes it all the more appealing to me. It’s heavier than the petrol Cooper S, but you can still chuck it into corners with huge confidence. It’s also impressively nimble and agile.
There’s plenty of space up front for driver and passenger. And while I could sit in the rear behind my own driving position, there’s no denying you do need to be a bit of a contortionist to get in and out.
As for luggage space, because the battery has been housed deep in the chassis, it hasn’t impinged on the standard car’s stowage space which remains at 211 litres. There’s also a useful number of stowage areas in the armrest, door pockets, and under the boot floor for storage cables.
There’s no getting away from the fact the Mini Electric Shadow Edition is a tad on the pricey side: it’ll set you back £34,470 before options. Yes, it’s not cheap, when you consider the standard Mini Electric now starts at £29,000.
But, and it’s a big but: the Shadow Edition is a masterpiece. If you love Minis and you love EVs, this is without question the car to have. Not only does it have a premium look, but it delivers a premium drive. It has the best interior of any rival small electric cars, plus it’s simply fantastic fun to drive. If you can find a way to pay the premium for the privilege, then this is the electric supermini to have.
Mini Electric Shadow Edition
Price: £34,470 (As tested, £34,970); Motor: Single synchronous electric motor; Battery: 32.6kWh; Power: 181bhp; Torque: 199lb ft; Transmission: Single-speed automatic, front-wheel-drive; Top speed: 93mph; 0-62mph: 7.1 seconds; Range: 141miles; Consumption: 3.9 – 4.1 miles/kWh; Charging: up to 50kW