From 2023, Mini will offer three electric models in its range, including an unprecedented urban SUV. The Aceman is already prefigured by an almost definitive concept that we were able to approach.
Mini is committed to becoming 100% electric by 2030. To do this, the brand must complete its range, which today only includes a trendy 3-door city car, the Mini Cooper SE. An electric variant of the future Countryman is thus expected in 2024, with a larger size than the current SUV. To fill the gap between these two models, and offer an electric alternative to the Mini 5-door which will only be offered in a thermal variant, the English manufacturer unveils its future model, again in the form of a concept car: the Aceman.
This 5-door, 5-seater concept, 90% close to the future production model, is an urban SUV. A popular segment, in which Mini had already made a foray a few years ago with the Paceman, a small 3-door SUV of 4.10 m. Note also the similarity of the name used! Compact, just 4.05m long, the Aceman concept is 1.99m wide (mirrors deployed) and 1.59m high. It is therefore barely larger than the five-door Mini (4.02 m) and a hair smaller than the first Countryman (2010-2016). However, it seems more imposing thanks to its SUV attributes: wide body protections with square wheel arches, blue shoe at the front, shields and sills in speckled raw plastic, or even large 20-inch rims with a triangle hollowed in the center and six branches. These are reminiscent of those of recent Volvos such as the XC60 and S60/V60.
A reworked design for the brand soon to be 100% electric
This study foreshadows the brand’s future stylistic orientation, but obviously incorporates some of Mini’s gimmicks. At the front, the closed grille evokes that of previous models but is renewed with an octagonal shape instead of the usual hexagon. We note the total disappearance of chrome, yet typical of the brand. This “grille”, which can be illuminated with an animated English flag, is framed by a thin green light band. The headlights incorporate matrix LED technology and are reminiscent of those of the Countryman. Their shape is a little more angular, but they still feature a typical Mini strapping. Small speakers, oblong in shape and red in color, are integrated on each side of the front and rear bumpers. This oblong shape is also found on other parts of the bodywork such as the mirrors, the flush handles (similar to those of a BMW i4) or the lower body insert.
On the roof, painted English green, a unique roof rack. In the shape of the English flag, it has an iridescent paint mixing blue, turquoise, green, purple and brown. Composed of green straps in the shape of a cross, this “rack” is visible through the large panoramic roof inside. At the rear, the large autoclave tailgate is framed by two lights incorporating the Union Jack signature using Matrix LED technology. The light signature can evolve with two designs (Union Jack or arrow) and animations to switch from one to the other. This element could be kept standard with less provided animations according to the design team.
Colorful and customizable interior
On board, the Aceman concept offers a fun and colorful interior, which can be personalized. Indeed, the horizontal dashboard, which is also oblong, receives geometric patterns thanks to a projection system from the central screen. Depending on the driving mode chosen, the display changes: clouds, waves, scattered phrases, abstract geometric shapes… In the centre, a large disc serving as an OLED screen for the multimedia system evokes the counters of the first Minis in the 1960s. thus takes up the principle of Mini for decades. The system is based on latest generation Android OS software.
Under the round slab, a switch-style shortcut bar is reminiscent of current and older Minis, which have similar aviation buttons for starting, driving mode management, or even the sunroof. The upholstery opts for recycled materials instead of leather, and offers colorful colors and shapes. There is a jumble of white, speckled green and blue fabrics, orange and green stitching, purple belts or even designs of colored crosses and circles in stitching reminiscent of the world of video games. The steering wheel and the door handles are covered with dark green velor with small squares, which should not be found in series. On the other hand, the backlit textile surface of the volume controls or the cruise control on the spokes of the steering wheel could be kept in the future… The central console is sliding from front to back, and lined with removable storage as desired.
Three “Experience Modes” are built into the Aceman. The personal mode offers the possibility of selecting a photo from its gallery for the central screen or a specific pattern on the acid dashboard. A Pop-Up mode allows you to discover a city by letting yourself be guided by the GPS and the projections of the dashboard, only by choosing a category: “Adventures” (leisure activities), “Tasty” (restaurants) or “Trending” (popular place). Finally, the Vivid Mode is more dedicated to relaxation during a charging break for example, and offers to play with the projection of the dashboard by forming letters or drawings, accompanied by experimental sounds.
A study dedicated to the style for the moment
For the moment, no technical information is given by the brand. Mini is focusing on style with this concept, which previews what its first electric city SUV will be. It will therefore be necessary to wait a few months to find out more about the motorization or the on-board battery pack. This information will potentially arrive during the presentation of the next generation of the electric city car with which the SUV could share many elements. Both vehicles will be manufactured in China through a joint venture with Great Wall Motor. The presentation of the Aceman being planned for the course of 2023, its marketing could take place at the beginning of 2024.
To see this concept of Mini, it will not be necessary to count on the World of the Auto of Paris, since the whole BMW group sulks the Parisian high mass. In contrast, the Mini Aceman concept will be well presented to the public at the Gamescom video game fair. The event will take place from August 23-28, at the convention center in Cologne, Germany.
Photos : Mini.
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