Mini presents its new electric city crossover with the Aceman concept. 4.05 m long, it will complete the city car range in 2023 alongside the tailgate (mini 3-door). The latter will also be the first production model to receive this new face. It will be officially launched in early 2023, followed later that year by the Aceman and Countryman.
Its name refers to the late Paceman, which was a three-door Countryman coupe. The Oxford brand takes the idea of the coupe SUV, but this time adding two doors and only electric motors. The Mini 3- and 5-door and the Countryman will continue to offer a thermal range in parallel.
“Mini’s strategy is based on 3 pillars: establishing a 100% electric range by 2030, expanding the brand’s presence in Asia and enriching the SUV range,” explains Stefanie Wurst, Director of Mini. With the new Aceman, the manufacturer fulfills all criteria.
From 2024, the Aceman will meet similar new competitors from Audi, Cupra and Toyota. To date, rare electric city SUVs such as Hyundai Kona, Opel Mokka-e, DS3 Crossback E-tense have such a compact format.
This model will also be one of the first of the new electric range to be produced at the new Chinese factory in Zhangjiagang that Mini shares in a partnership with Great Wall. Mini reproduces the same strategy as Smart with the number 1 and many manufacturers today: design in Europe and production in China.
The Aceman shows a stocky silhouette enhanced by a large width (1.99m), low height (1.59m) and imposing 20-inch rims. The roundness, typical of the Mini design, gives way to some body creases on the fenders, the wheel arches and the bonnet. The hatch will also follow this trend of “robustness”.
The taillight signature is customizable.
Charismatic design elements such as Union Jack-shaped rear lights, octagonal grille and front optics have been modernized through extensive work on the LED lighting. All of these elements are customizable. For example, the customer can choose between several light signatures for the taillights, including the Union Jack, and several colors for the stripe surrounding the radiator grille.
The very minimalist interior goes back to the origins of the brand and follows the principles of its founder Alec Issigonis. Namely to reduce design and controls to the essentials. The goal is achieved because the Aceman’s cockpit consists of a steering wheel, a circular touchscreen and a center console reduced to the bare essentials. The production model will follow this minimalist trend.
The floating built-in circular OLED touchscreen is a world first in the automotive industry, reports the manufacturer. It is equipped with an Android operating system for the first time in Mini. It allows linking with the curious dashboard. The latter is covered with fabric and designed as a soundbar that extends over the doors. Its design allows images projected from the ceiling to be reflected, accompanied by a sound environment to immerse occupants in a sensory experience, explains Mini. The driver always benefits from a new dashboard.
Light and sound are part of this concept, which reacts (inside and outside) according to the conditions encountered. For example, when the car is unlocked or charged, a sound and light cutscene occurs.
The relocation of the start switch, gear selector and parking brake under the dashboard has freed up storage space on the floor between the driver and passenger seats, which extends to the rear seats. A drink holder and various storage modules can be installed on it.
Through this concept, Mini wants to offer the 5 occupants a happy, pleasant and fun environment. The many sound and light animations are accompanied by a colorful and material-rich interior. The seats, for example, are upholstered in “Desigual” style embossed fabrics that mix textures, colors and reliefs. The steering wheel and door handles are upholstered in velvet. Finally, don’t wait for leather, the Aceman doesn’t offer any.
The rear seat space seems reasonable for a vehicle of this size (it was impossible to get in) and especially for the legs compared to the DS3 Crossback E-Tense. For the time being, Mini remains discreet about the volume of the trunk, the engines and the capacity of the batteries of its production model. What is certain is that the capacity will be greater than that of the current Cooper SE (32.6 kWh). The Aceman’s electric design allows the batteries to be placed in the floor for greater capacity. It is estimated at around 50kWh, the gross capacity of the package that will equip the Aceman.
The Mini Aceman concept will have its first public appearance on August 23 at the Gamescom 2022 exhibition, dedicated to video games and taking place in Cologne.