Check out this cute old Mini – such a timeless design, right? Well, there’s more to this charming red chap than meets the eye: it’s totally electric.
Meet the Swind E Classic Mini. A 110bhp motor and a relatively small battery pack replace the original but outdated petrol engine under the bonnet. The 0-62mph sprint comes up in a modest-sounding 9.2 seconds but since top speed through the single-speed transmission is just 80mph, it’s safe to assume that the little nipper gets off the line much better than it charges past 60mph. It’ll scamper from 30-50mph in a respectable 4.3 seconds. You can guarantee it’ll steer with verve, too.
That makes it perfect for urban work, if you can put up with not being able to see past even the hatchback in front, let alone the SUVs. Its tiny 1950s size makes a mockery of car parks and on-street spaces, but don’t crash into anything especially big or heavy.
It’s just 80kg heavier than the original donor car, at a feathery 720kg, and brings the Issigonis classic bang up to date. We love it. The electric drivetrain might be small but it’s good for a claimed 125 miles; plenty for biffing quietly – and cheaply – around your city of choice for a few days.
Other advantages of the new drivetrain layout include a bigger boot. The original car’s tailgate hid a compartment big enough for at least three Quavers, but with no fuel tank in the Swind, the bedside drawer out back becomes a useable 200-litre boot. For context, a Volkswagen Up has 251 litres.
The modernisation isn’t limited to what’s under the bonnet. There’s fresh technology inside, like USB charging ports, heated windscreens at both ends, heated front seats and – amazingly – underfloor heating for the whole cabin.
It’s yours in six colours, all with a contrasting roof. The bodywork has been properly rust-proofed, the brakes and suspension have been upgraded with modern parts and there’s a list of options like a full-length sliding roof, sat-nav, air-conditioning and even ‘performance tuning packs.’ Colour us intrigued on that front.
We have to admit, it sounds absolutely brilliant as an urban hero. What’s the catch, then? We can sugar-coat it no longer: it’s the price. Swind will build just 100 of the E Classic Mini and the starting price is £79,000. Ah. Is it too early to write to Santa?