Mini has unveiled its ‘Concept Aceman’ – an electric crossover that points at things to come from the British brand.
Mini says the Aceman concept gives an ‘initial glimpse’ at its new electric crossover that will sit between the standard Mini Hatch and Countryman SUV. Confusingly, a Mini model, called the Paceman, fulfilled this exact role between 2012 and 2016, but was discontinued due to slow sales. It wasn’t offered with an electric powertrain, however.
Based around a concept of ‘charismatic simplicity’, the Aceman shows off a new design direction for Mini, based around the idea of a reduced design that gives ‘greater significance’ to key design features. The brand pinpoints strongly contoured wheel arches, large wheels and a roof rack as particular highlights.
The hexagonal grille is completely closed off, with light green LED contour lighting providing a funky lighting signature. Mini is also moving away from its signature, classic round headlights.
Lighting is a key part of the Aceman generally, as when the driver gets closer, a sequence of lights keep getting brighter, with a sound emitting from the exterior speakers. When the car is unlocked, the matrix LED units in the grille then display a Union Jack pattern. This sequencing continues to the interior, too, as when the door is opened, various projections light up the roof lining, dashboard and door panels.
Despite occupying quite a small footprint – it measures just 4.05m in length, some 15cm less than a Nissan Juke – Mini promises plenty of interior space, with ‘seating for five’. Mini has also repositioned the gear selector and parking brake higher up the dashboard, helping to free up further space around the centre console.
Sustainability plays a key part of the Aceman too, with the model completely free of leather and chrome, with much of the interior made from knitted recycled textile. The new central OLED, built around an Android operating system, display is likely to make its way onto production Mini models in the future, with the large circular display being seen in spy shot pictures of the 2023 Mini Hatch.
Three new ‘Experience Modes’ have also been created to personalise the driving experience. For starters, a ‘Personal’ mode allows the user to transfer their own image onto the touchscreen, complemented by a moving picture on the dashboard, such as ocean waves. ‘Pop-Up’ mode then suggests appropriate navigation destinations based on categories. Selecting ‘Tasty’, for example, can locate popular restaurants.
Finally, ‘Vivid’ mode transforms the dashboard into a letter game, entertaining occupants when stuck in traffic or when charging.
Stefanie Wurst, head of Mini, said: “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.
“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.”