MINI has unveiled the future of the driving pleasure with today’s world premiere of the MINI Concept Aceman, the brand’s first fully-electric crossover model – and we were there.
The MINI Concept Aceman showcases a new design language and technological innovations that will shape the brand’s future models.
The study of the first crossover concept model from MINI brings together central features that outline the brand’s driving pleasure of the future: from a purely electric drive to clear, pared-back design language and a material concept that uses no leather or chrome elements, as well as a new digital user experience.
“The MINI Concept Aceman provides a glimpse of a completely new vehicle, bridging the space between the MINI Cooper and the MINI Countryman in the future of the model family,” said Stefanie Wurst, Head of MINI.
“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.”
The beginning of a new MINI design era
“The design language of the MINI Concept Aceman heralds the beginning of a new design era for MINI,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design. Design features typical of the MINI brand have always been unmistakable, Hooydonk went on to say. “We are returning to these now, but at the same time consistently combining them with innovative technology,” he added. “With this approach, we are redeveloping the MINI design icons, with all their analogue strengths, for the digital future.”
The principle behind “Charismatic Simplicity” showcases the essentials, giving the characteristic MINI design features even greater emphasis. The key elements here are the striking vehicle front with an octagonal, closed and illuminated radiator grille element, generous chassis surfaces given structure by sharp edges, an athletic shoulder section and a powerful rear with vertically arranged rear lights.
The bodywork of the MINI Concept Aceman comes in the colour Icy Sunglow Green, a bright turquoise shade. Legendary British Racing Green metallic is used as a contrast colour for the roof. To match, the surround on the lower edge of the bodywork is finished in a dark green hue. Accents in blue and pink-orange emphasise this vehicle’s lively character.
Crossover model with creative use of space
The MINI Concept Aceman has four doors and a large boot lid with interior seating for five. The study offers proportions made famous by the brand with an exterior length of 4.05 metres, width of 1.99 metres and a height of 1.59 metres, all in a highly contemporary form. Wide bodywork surrounds, strongly contoured wheel arches, 20-inch wheels, a striking roof rack, and front and rear valance panels styled as underride protection emphasise the solid all-round characteristics of a crossover model for urban driving fun.
“The purely electric vehicle concept means the design can again be geared more towards MINI’s traditional basic values, in terms of the principle of using space creatively,” said Oliver Heilmer, Head of MINI Design. “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.”
Advanced digitisation and traditional elements in the interior
The MINI Concept Aceman interior is dominated by a reduced design with clear contours and carefully executed details. The dashboard, as a flat design element in the style of a soundbar, extends over the entire width of the interior and forms the ideal stage for the central instrument, which for the first time is designed as a completely round OLED display. The classic toggle switch bar is arranged below and is reinterpreted in both design and functionality. In this way, the study combines advanced digital technology with traditional design features in a manner characteristic of MINI.
The interior is shaped by minimalistic door panels, a flexible-use central console that reaches into the back, and attractive colour contrasts. The MINI Concept Aceman seats feature a discreet geometry with integrated headrests. Seating surfaces have a lively, three-dimensional look achieved by a combination of textile flat knit, velvet velour and waffle weave, an over-dimensional houndstooth pattern and embroidered X and O graphics. The surfaces are made from sustainable textile materials instead of leather. Just like the exterior, the interior is completely free of chrome elements.
“In the interior of the MINI Concept Aceman, we have concentrated on a simplistic appearance in combination with premium materials and welcoming colours,” said Oliver Heilmer. “Digitisation enables us to make do with few operating elements and at the same time maximise the experience in a way that is characteristic of MINI. The entire design is all about offering occupants a holistic experience in the interior space.”
A holistic user experience with new experience modes
The emotional connection between the MINI Concept Aceman and its users is strengthened by a seamless digital operating concept and a holistic user experience consisting of light, movement, interaction, and sound.
Even as the user approaches the vehicle, the MINI Companion, a sensor-based animation, delivers a welcome scenario consisting of light effects and sound, that is continued in the interior space after the doors are opened.
The user interface on the central instrument also features a completely new graphic display, a modern layout and attractively designed widgets. The display and control system in the production vehicle will be based on the latest generation of the MINI Operating System, which for the first time is built on an Android Open Source Project (AOSP) software stack.
The display area that extends beyond the central interface is another highlight. Moving image projections can transfer the control system content to the entire dashboard, creating a unique digital experience extending right into the door panels.
The new experience modes presented in the MINI Concept Aceman offer additional options for customisation and personalisation. Freely selected image motifs can be shown on the central instrument in personal mode. Pop-up mode invites the user to enjoy experience-rich navigation with surprising moments, while in Vivid mode, the display area on the OLED display and the adjacent areas can be used for diversified interactions when stopped at traffic lights or while charging the high-voltage battery.