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Mini Fast-Forwards to the Future with Vision Next 100 Concept

“A completely individualised, permanently available form of urban mobility.”

by on Jun.16, 2016

Mini's vision of the future suggests we'll be more dependent upon car and ride-sharing.

Mini has made a specialty out of squeezing big things into little packages. But how might it take this “clever use of space” philosophy even further?

The British maker is offering up a hint in the form of the Mini Vision Next 100, one of three futuristic concept vehicles unveiled as part of the celebration of parent BMW’s 100th anniversary. The Mini prototype offers up some intriguing ways to enhance ingress and egress while also focusing on the connected car technologies that are rapidly becoming a part of mobile life.

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With the Vision 100, “Mini looks to offer smart and bespoke mobility in cities that engages all the senses. And in the future, you might not actually have to own a vehicle to enjoy the benefits,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, the global director of BMW Group Design.

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Mini Vision Concept Offers Hint of Next Hatchback

Big changes in a little car.

by on Jul.26, 2013

The Mini Vision concept adopts a "futur-focused aesthetic," suggests the brand's chief designer.

Wondering what the next-generation Mini might look like? The British maker is offering a glimpse of what’s to come with the new Mini Vision concept.

The retro-futuristic prototype was unveiled by Anders Warming, head of Mini Design, at the Mini Design@Home event  in Munich. And it brings together a mix of forward-looking styling cues as well as details we’ve seen from such recent models as the Countryman’s canted roof and oversized taillamps, as well as new, more sculpted door panels.

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Some of the details, such as the familiar Mini hexagonal grille and inset bumpers have been captured in recent months by spy photographs of what is expected to be the replacement for the next-generation Mini hatchback due to reach market in 2014.

During his presentation, Warming described the Vision concept as a “future-focused aesthethic,” pointing to such updates of familiar details as the elliptical front headlights which, on the Vision concept migrate to LED lamps and adopt outer rings that remain constantly lit to serve as daytime running lamps.

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Mini Might Add Three More Models

Little Rocketman is one option, though British brand could get bigger options, too, execs hint.

by on Feb.05, 2013

Mini may yet bring the Rocketman to production.

With the new Paceman coming onboard, Mini will now offer a total of seven different models – never mind all the variants it is delivering to showrooms around the world. But the maker is far from done as it fleshes out its line-up, company officials say.

If anything, “Our management has said that in the future a full line-up of vehicles for the brand could be 10 models,” suggested David Duncan, Mini USA’s sales director, during a conversation in Puerto Rico, where the Paceman is getting its first media drive.

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Exactly what’s in store, Duncan and other Mini team members weren’t ready to discuss – beyond hinting they’re looking to fill “any segment that makes sense for a small car.”

In fact, small is apparently a relative term for the British maker, a subsidiary of Germany’s BMW.  Mini delivered a shock to many traditionalists when it introduced the Countryman, a couple years back, not only the first four-door model and the first with all-wheel-drive but also the brand’s biggest offering ever.

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Mini Exploring Carbon Fiber Applications with Rocketman Concept

Show car makes extensive use of weight-saving composites.

by on Mar.03, 2011

The Mini Rocketman concept uses a strong, super-light carbon fiber spaceframe.

Mini’s newest concept vehicle could help it rocket into the future by showing the brand the potential for ultra-lightweight carbon fiber.

The Mini Rocketman concept vehicle, unveiled at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show is nearly the smallest vehicle the British maker has ever come up with, just inches longer than the original Mini crafted by Sir Alex Issigonis a half century ago.  But it’s also a very different and much more modern vehicle, company officials stressed.

There is the high-tech infotainment system that has become the requisite on today’s show cars.  But perhaps more significantly, the Mini Rocketman uses a carbon spaceframe to keep the vehicle small, light and roomy.

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“It captures the spirit of originality” pioneered by Sir Alex, proclaimed Ian Robertson, the BMW AG Board Member who also supervises Mini sales and marketing, during the British marque’s Geneva news conference. (For more on the Mini Rocketman itself, Click Here.)

In a subsequent interview with TheDetroitBureau.com, Robertson emphasized the interest of both Mini and BMW in the use of carbon fiber.  The German parent company has, in fact, has “invested heavily” in recent years to improve the technology and expand its production.

The Lamborghini Aventador also goes with carbon fiber for its underlying monocoque.

The material “has a number of elements” that are attractive, including its tremendous strength – many times greater than steel, pound-for-pound – and light weight.  That’s particularly attractive for Mini, a brand that has put an emphasis on sustainability.

That said, Robertson cautioned that carbon fiber is still extremely expensive to produce, which may make it difficult to introduce in the relatively mainstream price segments where Mini competes.

Indeed, today, carbon fiber is largely limited to some of the most expensive products on the road, such as the all-new, $350,000 Lamborghini Aventador, which also was introduced at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show (Find out more – Click Here.) Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winklemann told TheDetroitBureau.com that cost considerations likely limit the use of carbon fiber on other Lamborghini products.

But the spate of research underway has some experts betting that carbon fiber can move down-market in the coming years.  Toyota, for example, has been exploring ways to use the company’s historical ties to the textile industry to “weave” carbon fiber, instead of using traditional hand-production processes.  And BMW is also making strides towards mass production.

What could drive demand for the material is the industry’s move into electrification.  Vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt carry 100s of pounds of lithium-ion batteries onboard, and carbon fiber, said BMW’s Robertson, may be needed “as a trade-off to offset heavy batteries. Carbon fiber,” he concluded, “has a significant role to play in the development of motor vehicles in the future.”

First Look: Mini Rocketman Concept

British brand goes back to its roots with 3+1 microcar.

by on Feb.22, 2011

An even mini-er Mini, the Rocketman debuts in Geneva next week.

Few automakers have undergone a more rapid brand expansion than Mini, the British marque that seems to be flooding the automotive world with new concepts and production cars.

Mini raised some eyebrows with the launch of the Countryman, last year, which was not only its largest-ever model, but its first crossover, first 4-door and first use of all-wheel-drive.  But for the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, the maker is moving in a decidedly different direction.

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If anything, the Mini Rocketman Concept is a return to the brand’s classic roots.  But don’t think Mini is playing it safe.  Just 3.4 meters (about 11 feet) in total length Rocketman is a microcar that still delivers enough interior space for four passengers.

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First Look: Mini Paceman

Setting the pace for further growth.

by on Dec.22, 2010

Tne Mini Paceman Concept will make its debut at the Detroit Auto Show, next month.

Few automakers have maintained a more aggressive pace, in recent years, than Mini, which has been rapidly rolling out an assortment of new products, such as the new Countryman crossover.  Now, it seems, that pace will quicken still more with the British marque planning another global preview at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, next month.

January 10th will bring the world premiere of the Paceman Concept, a model that Mini dubs a Sports Activity Vehicle, in keeping with parent BMW, which uses the SAV designation for its own X-models, such as the X5 and X6 crossovers.

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The Mini Paceman is based on the same four-wheel drive platform used by the Countryman and differs only slightly in terms of in length and shares the same width as the four-door Countryman.  But there’s plenty to distinguish the Paceman visually.

The new concept boasts a strikingly dynamic design with short overhangs and a fluid, very sporty feel.  The typical Mini features are still there, such as the large headlamps with chrome rings that extend into the fenders. But the low-mounted fog lamps and large under-bumper openings allow more air to reach the brakes and add to the sporty stance.

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