As sure as day follows night, a soft-topped convertible version of the popular Mini Electric has just been announced – but what’s less predictable is the price.
The tin-topped Mini Electric currently starts at £29,000, and for that you get a four-seat city EV with a 135kW motor driving the front wheels, a 0-62mph time of 7.3 seconds and a range of about 140 miles.
Convertibles always cost a bit more money, owing to the complexity of their folding roofs and the extra strengthening that tends to go into the chassis. But we hope you’re sitting down for this, because the Mini Cooper SE Convertible costs £52,500.
That isn’t a typing error. It really does cost £23,500 more than the hardtop – and, worse, it’s about £3,000 more than a brand new Porsche Boxster. Or £10,000 more than a Tesla Model 3.
There are a couple of reasons for the high price. The first is how the Mini SE Convertible is packed to the rafters with optional extras, including heated sports seats up front, a leather steering wheel, piano black interior details, ambient lighting, 17-inch wheels, a head-up display, radar cruise control and unique badging.
The electric-folding fabric roof features a Union Jack pattern and can be open fully or slid back like a big sunroof.
What the specification list doesn’t include is a larger battery or extra range, so wind-in-the-hair enthusiasts get the same 32.6 kWh battery as the regular Mini Electric, and the estimated range is actually a bit lower for the soft-top, at about 125 miles. Acceleration also takes a hit, with the 62mph benchmark reached in 8.2 seconds.
The other reason for that massive price tag is exclusivity. Mini says it will build 999 examples of the Electric Convertible, with just 150 of those coming to the UK. That makes the electric soft-top a rather rare beast – rarer than a Ferrari F40, for starters.
All 999 examples will be painted in a colour combo Mini calls ‘Enigmatic Black and White Silver’, with the door handles, side scuttles and light surrounds finished in ‘Resolute Bronze’.
Stephanie Wurst, head of the Mini brand, said: “Three years ago we launched the all-electric Mini Cooper SE, and today one in five Mini sold in Europe is an all-electric Mini. This success has spurred us to implement the small series of the Mini Cooper SE Convertible within only a few months. I'm delighted that we can offer 999 MINI customers an extraordinary and exclusive open-air go-kart feeling”.