Microlino 2.0 in the first seat test: Small but nice?

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The chic Neo-Isetta is due to launch in the first markets in 2021

Microlino 2.0 in the first seat test: Small but nice?-small

When my uncle (86 years old) took the first pictures of the Microlino 2.0 saw he was blown away: "Man, the BMW Isetta, that I drove 60 years ago is coming back! "That's the way it is. In the unmistakable retro design, but purely electric.

The Microlino from Switzerland casts a spell over young and old. The "love effect" is enormous. Can you be mad at this little car??

Apparently not, because despite all the delays and legal disputes of the past few years, Microlino fans have remained loyal to the Neo-Knutschkugel: Over 20,000 reservations have to be processed. Now finally series production will start at the partner Cecomp in Turin. The Microlino is expected to be launched in Switzerland in 2021, with other countries such as Germany to follow in 2022.

Picture gallery: Microlino 2.0 seat sample

Microlino 2.0 in the first seat test: Small but nice?-seat

Is it worth the wait? I was able to take a closer look at the Microlino 2.0 at the IAA Mobility 2021 in Munich and took a seat in it. So much has already been revealed: With the original version in which I sat at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, apart from the shape, this car has nothing more to do.

After separating from the original production partner Artega, Micro decided at the beginning of 2020 to completely overhaul the Microlino and bring it onto the market as Microlino 2.0.

Microlino 2.0 in the first seat test: Small but nice?-seat

Technology and drive:

The Microlino will be the first vehicle in its class (L7e) with a self-supporting body made of steel and aluminum – otherwise a tubular space frame is common. The outer skin is made of aluminum. In addition, the Microlino 2.0's peak output has been increased from 12 to 19 kW compared to the Microlino 1.0.

In addition, there is now a McPherson independent suspension at the front and rear (instead of a push rod at the front and a rigid axle at the rear in the Microlino 1.0) and a wider rear axle. Let's take a look at the most important data of the series Microlino:

length 2,519 mm
broad 1,473 mm
height 1,501 mm
Seats 2
Trunk volume 230 liters
Empty weight 435 kg (without battery and driver)
power 11 kW (continuous output), 19 kW (maximum output)
maximum torque 110 Nm
Acceleration 0-50 km / h 5 sec.
Top speed 90 km / h (limited)
Battery type Lithium-Ion (NMC / NCA technology)
Battery sizes 6 / 10.5 / 14 kWh (14 kWh available from July 2022)
Ranges 95/175/230 km
Charging time 0 – 80 percent at a normal socket 4 h / 3 h / 4 h

We see that the Microlino is about the same size as the first Smart Fortwo in 1997. The trunk is surprisingly spacious and is easily accessible via a tailgate. At the front, like the BMW Isetta, access is via a refrigerator-like door. The button for opening is located on the left behind the LED strip for daytime running lights and indicators. The door then closes with soft-close.

That's how you sit

Entry is not a problem, even if, unlike the Isetta back then, the steering column remains stationary. When getting out you have to be a little agile, a loop helps you hold on. I bet: owners will quickly get the hang of it. Most versions of the Microlino have a folding roof that can be opened by hand as standard.

How is it now sitting in the Microlino? With my 1.88 meters tall, unfortunately the front wheel arches protrude into the footwell due to the concept. But Microlino takes advantage of this disadvantage and places the automatic selection buttons there on the driver's side. The handbrake is right next to the seat. The manufacturer can do without an airbag because of the classification of the Microlino, so you have to use a sports steering wheel.

There is now an instrument display on the steering axle, plus a small touchscreen in the middle. The dashboard itself is minimalist. Here your own smartphone, portable Bluetooth boxes or other accessories can be attached to an aluminum pole. Behind it, leather enhances the ambience.

Two people sit very close to each other in the Microlino, as I observe with other seated test persons. Bud Spencer in duplicate should better not sit down. But mostly the Microlino should be occupied by one person anyway.

Equipment and price

There are three equipment lines, LED headlights and LED indicators are standard at the base, but not the folding roof.

The three editions are named Urban, Dolce and Competizione. The only available exterior colors for the Urban are white and orange, while the interior offers a choice between black and anthracite-colored fabrics. The folding roof is available as an option.

Microlino 2.0 in the Dolce version

The Dolce Edition has some chrome details and there are five paint finishes: in addition to the two colors of the Urban Edition, there is a mint, a red and a blue. These three colors are combined with a white roof, and there are also the mentioned LED light strips. Inside there are two variants with higher quality materials. The folding roof is standard, but you can also choose the closed roof.

The Competizione edition has subtle chrome details and matt body colors as well as a glossy black roof. A gray, a green and a silver tone are available. I would still like a dark brown, but Microlino has its fans and so eight colors were in the final selection.

The configurator should go live shortly after the IAA; then the prices will also be announced. The base price remains at around 12,500 euros. Production is scheduled to start in 2021. Around 7,500 vehicles are initially expected to be manufactured annually. The number of reservations is currently around 24,000. A distribution network is in the making; one is in conversation with several dealer groups.

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Conclusion:

Who knows … maybe my uncle will return to the Isetta aka Microlino. This little vehicle is incredibly personable, but not exactly cheap. To make matters worse, the Microlino does not benefit from the German electric car premium. Even so, there still seem to be enough fans waiting patiently for their retro toys. You will be rewarded soon.

Picture gallery: Microlino 2.0 at the IAA 2021

Microlino 2.0 in the first seat test: Small but nice?-first

Picture by: Andrei Nedelea

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