Glimpse of the Future
Like many automotive brands, MINI is embracing an electrified future, and today the iconic marque provided a glimpse at what that might look like through the debut of the MINI Concept Aceman. This all-electric crossover not only introduces an EV powertrain, it showcases a completely new, simplified design style that looks both familiar and futuristic, which MINI has dubbed “Charismatic Simplicity.”
“The MINI Concept Aceman provides an initial glimpse of a completely new vehicle, bridging the space between the MINI Cooper and the MINI Countryman in the model family’s future,” noted Stefanie Wurst, head of the MINI brand. “This concept car reflects how MINI is reinventing itself for its all-electric future and what the brand stands for: an electrified go-kart feel, an immersive digital experience and a strong focus on a minimal environmental footprint,” Wurst exclaimed.
The Concept Aceman is easily recognizable as a MINI — clearly a requirement of any new MINI design. Similar in size to the MINI Hardtop 4-Door, the Aceman features a new front end with the brand’s traditional hexagonal grille extended into an octagonal shape, highlighted by an illuminated surround. Perhaps the term “grille” is no longer appropriate since this frontal area has morphed into a solid body panel with embedded matrix LED units that can create various lighting effects.
The Concept Aceman’s headlights happen to be another departure from classic MINI design language. No longer round, the Aceman’s headlights are squared off on the outside and pointing inward toward the center of the grille. Like the grille, the headlights feature a matrix LED unit designed to add further expression to the vehicle. The headlight shape gets carried through to the bold wheel arches, which frame the flat hood (or bonnet as those in the UK would say).
Looks Like a MINI
In profile, the Aceman carries the shape of a MINI Cooper Hardtop, although two distinct styling cues clearly take the design into the future. The emphasized wheel arches are no longer round. Instead they take a geometric shape similar to the headlights, giving the vehicle a sense of forward movement. Door handles are integrated flush with the surface — a first for MINI. A matte-green side skirt adds a level of athleticism to the overall design, and the look gets completed by 20-inch light alloy wheels.
More MINI Details
The MINI Concept Aceman possesses a recurring oblong oval design throughout the vehicle. This theme carries though to the door handles, sideview mirrors and the integrated MINI logo below the doors. Of course the brand hallmark Union Jack design can be programmed into the rear taillight LED display, as well as in the innovative roof rack.
An ingenious color palette adds a considerable element of excitement to the MINI Concept Aceman’s overall design. The vehicle’s paint is an Icy Sunglow Green, which appears in different levels of intensity depending on the surface and perspective. The concept’s roof sports traditional British Racing Green paint, while a similar green underscores the lower body and wheel arches. The underbody protection appearing at the lower front and rear of the crossover gets painted royal blue, and to top everything off (literally), the roof rack features an iridescent coating that reflects blue, turquoise, green and violet, while bright green fastening straps add a striking contrast.
Like the Original
When Alec Issigonis designed the original MINI more than 50 years ago, it had a spartan interior — seats, steering wheel, gearshift and one centrally located round speedometer. “In the interior of the MINI Concept Aceman, we focus on a reduced appearance combined with high-quality materials and friendly colors. Digitalization allows us to get along with a minimal operating concept and at the same time maximize the experience in a typical MINI way,” explained Oliver Heilmer, head of MINI design. “The entire design is completely geared towards providing occupants with a holistic experience in the interior,” Heilmer observed.
No Leather, No Chromes
Sliding inside the MINI Concept Aceman, front-seat occupants find a dashboard trimmed in a soft knitted textile that spans the interior. The back of the dash connects to the bottom of the windshield with a structure that displays that Union Jack pattern, similar to that on the roof rack. All materials inside the Concept Aceman are leather- and chrome-free, including the steering wheel which has been trimmed in a dark green velour. Multifunction buttons are integrated into the backlit textile surfaces of the steering wheel spokes.
At the center of the dashboard in the MINI Concept Aceman sits a round OLED display that unites the functions of an instrument cluster and other onboard functions. This is the first circular OLED display to be used in a vehicle, although the display is not limited to its round space. Projectors in the vehicle can put moving images onto the dashboard, which range from detailed maps to colorful decorative images.
Classic toggle switches can be found below the large display, and we certainly appreciate MINI retaining a bit of analog functionality as humanity moves into a fully digital future. The toggle design allows them to function as both a rotary knob and a toggle switch, and their use operates the parking brake as well as gear selector and volume.
High quality, sustainable materials can be found throughout the interior of the MINI Concept Aceman. Stylish colors and graphics give the MINI a fun vibe while remaining environmentally friendly. Designers were able to take advantage of the Aceman’s electric powertrain to create a roomy interior with plenty of space for storage or stretching out.
Creative Use of Space
“The purely electric vehicle concept makes it possible to steer the design more towards the traditional core values of MINI in line with the traditional principle of creative use of space,” added Heilmer. “This creates models that take up little space on the road while offering even more comfort, more versatility and more emotion on the inside than ever before,” Heilmer observed.
On Display Next Month
The first public appearance of the MINI Concept Aceman will be in August at Gamescom 2022, a computer and video games fair in Cologne, Germany. No plans for production of this specific vehicle have been announced, but rest assured a production vehicle will be coming soon, based on this engaging concept.
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