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      07-29-2020, 01:07 AM   #1
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MINI Cooper SE or i3?

What do you prefer? The MINI Cooper SE or i3?

Here's a quick review of a first drive with the MINI:
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      07-29-2020, 01:11 PM   #2
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I loved my ICE Mini Cooper S for 17 years. I have a CPO 2017 i3 REX now but in a few years, when some Mini SE's come off lease, I will seriously think about getting one.
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      08-04-2020, 07:38 AM   #3
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The mini is...
heavier
less practical (trunk, back seat)
less range
front wheel drive
slower

"cheaper", but nobody buys a new i3... so in the real world not so much.

So, seems like an easy choice to me.
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      08-06-2020, 08:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Obioban View Post
The mini is...
heavier
less practical (trunk, back seat)
less range
front wheel drive
slower

"cheaper", but nobody buys a new i3... so in the real world not so much.

So, seems like an easy choice to me.
Agree with all but one. Wished the i3 was FWD instead of RWD. That's my only hesitation with the i3 and been thinking about it for awhile now.

I dd an older mini and with FWD + snow tires, my only issue is clearance and not traction. Unfortunately don't get the same level of confidence with RWD + snows.
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      08-18-2020, 05:46 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by 9M71 View Post
Agree with all but one. Wished the i3 was FWD instead of RWD. That's my only hesitation with the i3 and been thinking about it for awhile now.

I dd an older mini and with FWD + snow tires, my only issue is clearance and not traction. Unfortunately don't get the same level of confidence with RWD + snows.
You don't need FWD, just good snow tires. RWD is much more rewarding from a torque to the pavement stand point, especially in the wet when accelerating from a stop (rear weight transfer). Traction and stability control is excellent on the BMW.
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      08-26-2020, 01:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 9M71 View Post
Agree with all but one. Wished the i3 was FWD instead of RWD. That's my only hesitation with the i3 and been thinking about it for awhile now.

I dd an older mini and with FWD + snow tires, my only issue is clearance and not traction. Unfortunately don't get the same level of confidence with RWD + snows.
lol. I wouldn't have even test driven the i3 if it was FWD, much less purchased one. There's a reason no high end car is FWD.







^actual BMW ads from when BMW made good cars
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      08-26-2020, 06:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Obioban View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by 9M71 View Post
Agree with all but one. Wished the i3 was FWD instead of RWD. That's my only hesitation with the i3 and been thinking about it for awhile now.

I dd an older mini and with FWD + snow tires, my only issue is clearance and not traction. Unfortunately don't get the same level of confidence with RWD + snows.
lol. I wouldn't have even test driven the i3 if it was FWD, much less purchased one. There's a reason no high end car is FWD.







^actual BMW ads from when BMW made good cars
I agree most serious performance oriented cars are rwd/AWD.

However I wouldn't classify an i3 anywhere near that :-). Who is actually buying an i3 to make into a track beast vs a utilizing it as a quirky DD?
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      08-26-2020, 06:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traskw View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by 9M71 View Post
Agree with all but one. Wished the i3 was FWD instead of RWD. That's my only hesitation with the i3 and been thinking about it for awhile now.

I dd an older mini and with FWD + snow tires, my only issue is clearance and not traction. Unfortunately don't get the same level of confidence with RWD + snows.
You don't need FWD, just good snow tires. RWD is much more rewarding from a torque to the pavement stand point, especially in the wet when accelerating from a stop (rear weight transfer). Traction and stability control is excellent on the BMW.
Agree the tire choice is most important but between blizzacks on my f80 m3, and blizzacks on my FWD mini, the later is much more confidence inspiring than the other in heavy snow. Yes the m3 is running a wider tire but on the mini I don't need to get a running "head start" to make it up hills.
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      08-27-2020, 08:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 9M71 View Post
I agree most serious performance oriented cars are rwd/AWD.

However I wouldn't classify an i3 anywhere near that :-). Who is actually buying an i3 to make into a track beast vs a utilizing it as a quirky DD?
I bought the i3 over other EVs because it is light and rwd. I will continue to track my M3, but I do appreciate solid fundamentals in my DDs.
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      08-27-2020, 09:37 AM   #10
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My $0.02 ---

Background: I've owned TONS of EVs (Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt, ALL the Tesla models, Audi eTron A3, Audi eTron SUV, 3x BMW i8, and currently BMW i3S 2018)

About two weeks ago I came to learn that the local BMW/Mini dealer had a 2020 Mini Cooper SE Electric sitting on their lot. Drove my i3 up there to check it out. This is a brand new car that is not yet sold-- and while the black exterior and grey wheels was not really "my thing" I'll speak less about the aesthetics and more about the driving.

In my experience FWD EVs suffer from torque steer, and this car was no different. You fight the steering when you get into it hard, whereas the i3 seems to fare better. Like the funny images above: there is something to be said about RWD + strong torque. I had a high horsepower modified VW GTI years ago and it was only fun on the expressway. Around town it just wanted to eat tires and my clutch.

That said, the low center of gravity and handling dynamics of the chassis made the Mini far more fun in the twists. We took it for a test drive to a nearby park system, where the roads are 25-35mph but you can get away doing much faster. Body roll is minimal, and being FWD you can get back on the power sooner exiting a corner. It was a blast to drive, and the sight lines were almost as good as the i3 for visibility.

My wife was a fan of the Mini, felt it fit her style and enjoyment more. She is not the world's biggest fan of the BMW i3, saying it is quirky. She likes the charm of the Mini, and the small sporty feeling. Frankly, I think if the BMW i3 had slightly wider tires and sat lower by 1-2 inches it could be as good. Mine is the 2018 i3-S trim level, so it has the benefits there, but I still think it needs some 225mm tires and a hefty drop. (Not the small drop the current springs offer, but a legit 2" drop) -- but that is my personal taste, and I love "small hot hatch cars"

With that said, I felt like the torque and power of the i3 was actually better, in that you could feel the rear end bias and that makes the i3 around town a bit more "spry" feeling. The mini somehow came off feeling heavier (I haven't not looked, is it?). I think the fact that its FWD just made it feel planted, pros/cons --

If I were shopping for an EV, the price point of the Mini would be hard to pass up at $35k compared to the BMW i3. But the extra miles you get from the BMW might be nice. Though at that point I still think the Chevy Bolt EV is the best "compliance" for cost/miles/range benefits. I'd put it this way--- the Bolt is good for range and usefulness (5 door hatch). The Mini is good for sporty, fun, handling, chassis, but small. And the BMW i3 sits somewhere between? That is my take--- enjoy!
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      08-27-2020, 11:01 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arijaycomet View Post
My $0.02 ---

Background: I've owned TONS of EVs (Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt, ALL the Tesla models, Audi eTron A3, Audi eTron SUV, 3x BMW i8, and currently BMW i3S 2018)

About two weeks ago I came to learn that the local BMW/Mini dealer had a 2020 Mini Cooper SE Electric sitting on their lot. Drove my i3 up there to check it out. This is a brand new car that is not yet sold-- and while the black exterior and grey wheels was not really "my thing" I'll speak less about the aesthetics and more about the driving.

In my experience FWD EVs suffer from torque steer, and this car was no different. You fight the steering when you get into it hard, whereas the i3 seems to fare better. Like the funny images above: there is something to be said about RWD + strong torque. I had a high horsepower modified VW GTI years ago and it was only fun on the expressway. Around town it just wanted to eat tires and my clutch.

That said, the low center of gravity and handling dynamics of the chassis made the Mini far more fun in the twists. We took it for a test drive to a nearby park system, where the roads are 25-35mph but you can get away doing much faster. Body roll is minimal, and being FWD you can get back on the power sooner exiting a corner. It was a blast to drive, and the sight lines were almost as good as the i3 for visibility.

My wife was a fan of the Mini, felt it fit her style and enjoyment more. She is not the world's biggest fan of the BMW i3, saying it is quirky. She likes the charm of the Mini, and the small sporty feeling. Frankly, I think if the BMW i3 had slightly wider tires and sat lower by 1-2 inches it could be as good. Mine is the 2018 i3-S trim level, so it has the benefits there, but I still think it needs some 225mm tires and a hefty drop. (Not the small drop the current springs offer, but a legit 2" drop) -- but that is my personal taste, and I love "small hot hatch cars"

With that said, I felt like the torque and power of the i3 was actually better, in that you could feel the rear end bias and that makes the i3 around town a bit more "spry" feeling. The mini somehow came off feeling heavier (I haven't not looked, is it?). I think the fact that its FWD just made it feel planted, pros/cons --

If I were shopping for an EV, the price point of the Mini would be hard to pass up at $35k compared to the BMW i3. But the extra miles you get from the BMW might be nice. Though at that point I still think the Chevy Bolt EV is the best "compliance" for cost/miles/range benefits. I'd put it this way--- the Bolt is good for range and usefulness (5 door hatch). The Mini is good for sporty, fun, handling, chassis, but small. And the BMW i3 sits somewhere between? That is my take--- enjoy!
Whoa, that is a lot of EVs . A little off topic, but all variables (e.g. range, driving experience, reliability, etc) considered - is there 1 EV that you pick that stands out from the rest of the pack?
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      08-27-2020, 12:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arijaycomet View Post
My $0.02 ---

Background: I've owned TONS of EVs (Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt, ALL the Tesla models, Audi eTron A3, Audi eTron SUV, 3x BMW i8, and currently BMW i3S 2018)

About two weeks ago I came to learn that the local BMW/Mini dealer had a 2020 Mini Cooper SE Electric sitting on their lot. Drove my i3 up there to check it out. This is a brand new car that is not yet sold-- and while the black exterior and grey wheels was not really "my thing" I'll speak less about the aesthetics and more about the driving.

In my experience FWD EVs suffer from torque steer, and this car was no different. You fight the steering when you get into it hard, whereas the i3 seems to fare better. Like the funny images above: there is something to be said about RWD + strong torque. I had a high horsepower modified VW GTI years ago and it was only fun on the expressway. Around town it just wanted to eat tires and my clutch.

That said, the low center of gravity and handling dynamics of the chassis made the Mini far more fun in the twists. We took it for a test drive to a nearby park system, where the roads are 25-35mph but you can get away doing much faster. Body roll is minimal, and being FWD you can get back on the power sooner exiting a corner. It was a blast to drive, and the sight lines were almost as good as the i3 for visibility.

My wife was a fan of the Mini, felt it fit her style and enjoyment more. She is not the world's biggest fan of the BMW i3, saying it is quirky. She likes the charm of the Mini, and the small sporty feeling. Frankly, I think if the BMW i3 had slightly wider tires and sat lower by 1-2 inches it could be as good. Mine is the 2018 i3-S trim level, so it has the benefits there, but I still think it needs some 225mm tires and a hefty drop. (Not the small drop the current springs offer, but a legit 2" drop) -- but that is my personal taste, and I love "small hot hatch cars"

With that said, I felt like the torque and power of the i3 was actually better, in that you could feel the rear end bias and that makes the i3 around town a bit more "spry" feeling. The mini somehow came off feeling heavier (I haven't not looked, is it?). I think the fact that its FWD just made it feel planted, pros/cons --

If I were shopping for an EV, the price point of the Mini would be hard to pass up at $35k compared to the BMW i3. But the extra miles you get from the BMW might be nice. Though at that point I still think the Chevy Bolt EV is the best "compliance" for cost/miles/range benefits. I'd put it this way--- the Bolt is good for range and usefulness (5 door hatch). The Mini is good for sporty, fun, handling, chassis, but small. And the BMW i3 sits somewhere between? That is my take--- enjoy!
The mini is heavier and has a higher COG.
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      08-27-2020, 02:24 PM   #13
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The mini is heavier and has a higher COG.
Assume you mean CD (coefficient of drag)? In which case I see our car is 0.30 and the Mini 0.39 -- so yes, that would help. But at the speeds of my test drive, would not have been impactful. Weight, however, would be. But even then the Mini being only 5% more based on the data I can find, probably not perceived by the normal driver. Interesting that the i3 which looks more boxy is actually more slippery, that is crazy!
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      08-27-2020, 02:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 9M71 View Post
Whoa, that is a lot of EVs . A little off topic, but all variables (e.g. range, driving experience, reliability, etc) considered - is there 1 EV that you pick that stands out from the rest of the pack?
Short answer:
I will ALWAYS have a Tesla of some sort in my garage.
(currently we have a 2018 Tesla Model 3 Performance that is EPA rated 295 miles and does 0-60 in 3.2 seconds)

Long answers:
Really depends so greatly on your use-case. For my daily driving the BMW i3s is actually more efficient (cost per mile) over the Tesla, and the taller ride height, small size, make it a great "city car" for me. That said the $50k+ price tag is stupid expensive. If you want the best blend of cost, features, etc the Chevy Bolt still wins for being a 200+ mile EV that, with discounts, can be had for good money.

But ... if you plan to travel with the car, nothing compares to the Tesla supercharger network. So a used Tesla, for many folks, is the best option. I've used EVgo and ElectrifyAmerica chargers, to drive from my home (Cleveland, Ohio) to eastern New York, central Indiana, etc. And yet the Tesla trips are easier, faster, more reliable etc.

Hope this helps!
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      08-27-2020, 02:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arijaycomet View Post
Short answer:
I will ALWAYS have a Tesla of some sort in my garage.
(currently we have a 2018 Tesla Model 3 Performance that is EPA rated 295 miles and does 0-60 in 3.2 seconds)

Long answers:
Really depends so greatly on your use-case. For my daily driving the BMW i3s is actually more efficient (cost per mile) over the Tesla, and the taller ride height, small size, make it a great "city car" for me. That said the $50k+ price tag is stupid expensive. If you want the best blend of cost, features, etc the Chevy Bolt still wins for being a 200+ mile EV that, with discounts, can be had for good money.

But ... if you plan to travel with the car, nothing compares to the Tesla supercharger network. So a used Tesla, for many folks, is the best option. I've used EVgo and ElectrifyAmerica chargers, to drive from my home (Cleveland, Ohio) to eastern New York, central Indiana, etc. And yet the Tesla trips are easier, faster, more reliable etc.

Hope this helps!
This is very helpful. What we're looking for is something (i) city friendly, (ii) electric, and (iii) cost conscious. A used i3 fits the boat. Especially #3 - some of the deals out there are . Its mainly for the wife, as i take the subways to work (guess thats an EV too). And the parking garage she uses at work is insanely tight to the point a sienna, with a not so confident driver, actually got stranded down there

Think i'm getting over the RWD issue - if there's a blizzard, hopefully they cancel her patients anyways. Range anxiety is what brought tesla back into the mix, but honestly if we're going to road trip, we'll probably take my <20mpg m3 (sorry earth). Regardless we'll look for an i3 with the range extender.

Thanks so much for your insight - its definitely very helpful. Now time to wait for covid to cool off a bit before we're comfortable road tripping across a few states to score a great deal.
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      08-28-2020, 01:27 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arijaycomet View Post
Assume you mean CD (coefficient of drag)? In which case I see our car is 0.30 and the Mini 0.39 -- so yes, that would help. But at the speeds of my test drive, would not have been impactful. Weight, however, would be. But even then the Mini being only 5% more based on the data I can find, probably not perceived by the normal driver. Interesting that the i3 which looks more boxy is actually more slippery, that is crazy!
Center of gravity.
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      08-28-2020, 09:59 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Center of gravity.
Ahhh ok— wait, youre saying the Mini has a higher center of gravity than the i3? Really? Visually that doesn’t seem to be the case — but i dont doubt you. Crazy!
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      08-31-2020, 02:53 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Ahhh ok— wait, youre saying the Mini has a higher center of gravity than the i3? Really? Visually that doesn’t seem to be the case — but i dont doubt you. Crazy!
Steel chassis vs carbon chassis. All of the weight of the i3 is on the ground. The Mini's chassis is heavy, raising the COG.

Generally, the i3 was designed from the start to be an EV whereas the mini is a retrofitted ICEV... so everything is a bit... make it function, not make it optimal.
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