The MINI Aceman might be a concept car at the moment, but in reality it is relatively close to what will make production in two years’ time. It showcases what MINI calls its Charismatic Simplicity design language, which centres on clear, reduced lines and details. It’s also what we can expect to see on the future MINI hatches and Countryman.
MINI has created the Aceman’s design to be an evolution of what’s gone before in the iconic company’s 60-year history. According to Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design, it heralds a new era for the way MINIs will look but still keeping unmistakeable features: “The design language of the MINI Concept Aceman heralds the beginning of a new design era for MINI. We are returning to these [unmistakeable features] now, but at the same time consistently combining them innovative technology.”
‘Agility and self-confidence’ is how MINI describes the Aceman, which will sit between the hatch and the Countryman as a crossover vehicle. It stands at 4.05m long, 1.99m wide and 1.59m tall – very much C-segment dimensions – and utilises a classic two box design with larger, 20 inch wheels pushed out to the corners to maximise interior space and versatility.
The clear and reduced exterior design is manifested in unfussy lines and a flush transition between the car’s panels and glass areas. This also has functional, aerodynamic benefits for what will be exclusively an EV. Dark, contrasting surrounds on the lower part of the body and contoured wheel arches give the Aceman a chunkier feel becoming of its soft-roading pretentions. A roof rack, shaped like the Union Jack, adds to the overall utilitarian look.
Perhaps the most striking area of design is the front end which uses an octagonal contour and light surround for the fully enclosed grille. It is lit up in a shade of green to work as both a daytime running light and an eye-catching night-time feature. Matrix LED main headlamps move away from the classic round shape to a five-sided, contoured layout.
At the rear, the word ‘Aceman’ is spelt out in embossed lettering beneath the MINI logo, whilst the brand has maintained the Union Jack taillights which have become synonymous with its newer cars. A high-level spoiler helps with the car’s aero performance.
Inside, MINI is also using what it has jovially called ‘MINImalism’, stripping back the interior with reduced design and no hint of chrome or even leather. Instead, knitted, recycled textile with ‘fresh colour contrasts’ and seamless controls will create a new – no doubt funkier – vibe for MINI buyers.
Digitisation makes up a large part of MINI’s future interiors, with a large, central OLED interface (a world-first in automotive) combining all of the functions of an instrument display as well as infotainment. Think Tesla in terms of what MINI is going for, but round.
A new suite of graphics and modern widgets will be used, with OLED offering particularly strong clarity compared to other HD touchscreen interfaces. The operating system is build using an Android Open Source Project software stack, so it should work well as well as offering comprehensive features and continual upgrade potential. Whilst the digital controls will make up much of the controls, a traditional toggle switch bar will be present below the display for parking brake, gears, audio control and experience modes which will bring light and sound into journeys and interactions with occupants.
MINI hasn’t mentioned powertrain yet, sadly, however as the Aceman is based on the Spotlight architecture that BMW is co-developing with Great Wall, 40-50kWh of battery and a couple of power options ranging from 180bhp to 220bhp seems likely.
We’re looking forward to finding out more.
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