New Mini Aceman gets electric power and 253-mile range

All-new Mini Aceman electric SUV fits neatly in between the Cooper and Countryman, and should be competitive with rivals on price...

Mini Aceman static front

On sale Summer | Price from £32,000 (est)

In a 1966 episode of comedy sketch show The Frost Report, Ronnie Barker, Ronnie Corbett and John Cleese appeared as upper-class, middle-class and lower-class workers who explained how they looked up to – and down on – each other. It’s a sketch that could well have taken to heart by the designers of the all-new Mini Aceman, because this is an electric SUV that well and truly knows its place.

You see, the Aceman is the middle sibling in Mini’s growing line-up of electric models. At just over four metres long, it’s larger than the Cooper hatchback but shorter (by 26cm) than the latest Mini Countryman family SUV. However, the Aceman has a more sloping roofline than the boxier Countryman, with its dramatic looks intended to tear your eye away from rivals such as the Jeep Avenger Electric and Smart #1.

Mini Aceman static rear

Thick black cladding around the lower extremities of the bodywork is designed to make the Aceman look suitably rugged and adventurous. The octagonal front grille is closed off – because, as an electric model, the Aceman doesn’t need to take in air for cooling – alongside heptagonal LED headlights and wheels with a diameter of up to 19in. Union flag-style tail-lights, like those on the Cooper, are also fitted to the Aceman, while the front daytime running lights have three designs to choose from.

Like its electric siblings, the Aceman will be available with a choice of power outputs and battery sizes. The entry-level Aceman E is powered by a 181bhp electric motor that drives the front wheels and propels the Aceman from 0-62mph in a relatively nippy 7.9sec. A 42.5kWh battery gives an official range of up to 193 miles. 

In the Aceman SE, power is boosted to 215bhp, cutting the 0-62mph sprint time to 7.1sec. This version can officially cover up to 253 miles between charges, thanks to a larger, 54.2kWh battery. That range is slightly longer than the Avenger’s, but the #1 can take you farther still before needing to plug in.

Mini Aceman interior

Speaking of plugging in, the Aceman SE can take on electricity at rates of up to 95kW (reduced to 75kW in the Aceman E) – slower than the Avenger (100kW) and #1 (150kW). As a result, a 10-80% top-up should take around half an hour with either version, if you use a suitably powerful public rapid charger. That means you’ll be waiting for slightly longer than with an Avenger or #1, despite the latter’s larger battery.

The Aceman’s interior is very similar in design to that of the latest Countryman, with knitted fabric on the dashboard and doors. There’s no instrument panel behind the steering wheel; instead, driving information is shown in a head-up display (projected onto the windscreen in the driver’s line of sight) and on a 9.5in circular infotainment touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard. In the Countryman, the screen is vibrant, with sharp graphics and quick responses to inputs, but it’s rather cluttered and not all that intuitive to use.

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay phone mirroring are standard, so you can use some of your phone’s apps via the infotainment screen. But in the Countryman, the rectangular layout of the phone mirroring is shoehorned awkwardly into the middle of the screen. 

Mini Aceman boot

Most of the other controls are located on the screen too – including those for the air-con. Having to touch the screen to change the temperature is more distracting for the driver than operating physical controls, although you can ask the car to do things like this for you via voice control, by saying ‘Hey Mini’.

The screen can also be used for video streaming and gaming, with the latter utilising your phone as a controller. When your phone’s battery is running low, there’s a wireless charging tray for topping it up again. 

The Aceman can seat three passengers side by side in the rear seats, whereas the Cooper has seating for only two in the back. The rear seatbacks split and fold in a conventional 60/40 arrangement if you need to extend the carrying capacity of the 300-litre boot, which is slightly larger than the #1’s (273 litres) but smaller than the Avenger’s (355 litres). The #1’s boot can hold just three carry-on suitcases below its parcel shelf (with its sliding rear seats all the way back), versus five in the Avenger. 

Mini Aceman driving front

There are four trim levels: Essential, Classic, Favoured and sporty JCW (John Cooper Works). In some versions, the textiles have graduated two-tone colour schemes. The JCW gets sports front seats covered in black synthetic leather with red stitching.

Prices haven’t yet been confirmed, but the Aceman is expected to start at around £32,000. That would make it cheaper than the Avenger Electric (from £34,800) and competitive with the #1 (from £31,950).

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