Mini has unveiled its new Aceman concept in-full, previewing the all-electric compact crossover that’s set to join the British brand’s lineup in 2024.
Interestingly, though Mini has specified that the Aceman measures 4.05 metres (13 ft) in length, 1.99 m (6.5 ft) wide, and stands 1.59 m (5 ft) tall – more compact dimensions than the Countryman SUV it is set to sit beneath – no further figures have been specified. Focus instead is on the new design language for Mini’s upcoming electric generation of road cars.
“The design language of the Mini Concept Aceman heralds the beginning of a new design era for Mini,” Head of BMW Group Design Adrian van Hooydonk explains. “Design features typical of the Mini brand have always been unmistakable. We are returning to these now, but at the same time consistently combining them [with] innovative technology.” A core reason behind the “new design era” is the co-BMW-developed, more flexible ‘Spotlight’ architecture that will also underpin the upcoming electric Mini hatchback.
While neither an estimated range nor performance figures have been released for the design study, it’s been suggested that a production version of the Aceman would likely share the 40 kWh and 50 kWh battery options, the latter good for around 400 km, as the EV hatchback.
Though traditional Mini characteristics like the dark pillars, and all four wheels pushed as far into each corner as possible for true ‘go-kart-like’ handling, the new design – dubbed ‘Charismatic Simplicity’ – has introduced some bold new takes.
Among the most notable is the front end re-design, which replaces Mini’s customary round headlamps with hexagonal-esque updates, while the front grille is gone altogether in favour of an octagonal frame accented by turquoise lighting. Sequential LEDs also run through the non-grille and the headlamps. Two red vertical elements in the front and rear valance are said to emphasize the crossover’s height, but also, interestingly, feature loudspeakers that give an audible welcome to the driver as they approach the car.
Looking to impart some tradition, the Union Jack design has again been incorporated into the tail lamp design as well as, in a neat touch, the roof rack brackets, elements of which have been painted in British Racing Green. Beneath this lies a panoramic roof, which, rather ambitiously, appears to have no strengthening bars.
The 20-inch light-alloy wheels with a bespoke triangular design and the design of the tail-lip roof spoiler were both driven by aerodynamics, as have the new shoulder lines.
Moving into a new slot on Mini’s EV line-up, and set to replace the Clubman station wagon which is rumoured to be discontinued next year, the design of the Aceman prioritizes space inside despite its compact dimensions: indeed, though it stands a little taller, the EV crossover is no longer or wider than Mini’s five-door hatchback.
Bolder in its colour palette than even the pearlescent blue exterior paint (the steering wheel is clad in green velvet valour), the more open and spacious interior still features a single round OLED infotainment screen, albeit digitalized compared with the older generation’s large speedometer. In a particularly interesting addition, information from the screen can be projected directly onto the dashboard itself, including infotainment data, the SatNav map, and a ‘charging game’ that makes use of floating “letter bubbles” than can be moved by swiping a finger across the dash.
Beneath this lies a bank of switches for the parking brake, and switches for drive modes and the climate control to free-up space on the centre console. Unsurprisingly, neither leather nor chrome has been incorporated into the design.
In a further nod to the Aceman as a design study, the concept crossover will make its real-world debut not at a motor show but instead at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, in August.