Mini has built the first true rival to the Abarth 500e small electric hot hatch by offering John Cooper Works trim with its Cooper SE EV.
Hands clasped in a prayer for more power? You will be disappointed because these are style upgrades only, but with a spritely 0-62mph time of 6.7 seconds – just half a second slower than the old petrol-powered JCW – performance was already decent. We'd wager it's quicker in the more-city-relevant 0-30mph dash, where an EV's instant torque pays dividends.
Anyway, that gets the excuses out of the way – what do you get? JCW colours of course thanks to red, white, and black decals, 18-inch two-tone alloy wheels, and JCW brake callipers. You also get a body kit with a glossy grille, edgy lower bumper, side skirts, and a (probably not functional) rear diffuser. A Chilli Red roof and wing mirrors complete the look.
Inside the 'racing-inspired' interior, you get synthetic leather seats with red stitching and red and black fabric on the doors and dashboard, where you'll see a chequered-flag effect. The new Mini's fancy OLED display hides a JCW-specific Go-Kart mode with matching sound and improved throttle response.
The new Mini SE's 95kW charging speeds mean it can be recharged from 10-80 per cent in under 30 minutes using a public fast charger. The car can also prewarm the battery if you punch a charging stop into the sat-nav.
Mini used the JCW's announcement to reveal details on its Parking Assistant Plus system, which has four exterior cameras and 12 sensors, allowing you to park the car remotely using an app on your smartphone.