The creation of innovative concepts for urban mobility has seen MINI grow into the successful brand we know today. A constant stream of new ideas from its beginnings more than 50 years ago to the present day have ensured that driving fun has continued to grow even though space on our roads has become ever tighter. Underpinning this success has been the creative use of space, a principle that enters new territory with the MINI Rocketman Concept. The study car, which will be revealed to the public worldwide for the first time at the International 2011 Geneva Motor Show (3 – 13 March), harks back to the classic Mini in terms of its exterior dimensions, while its technology points to the future of automotive design. A 3+1-seater with 3 doors and a length of just over 3 metres (approx. 10 ft.), the MINI Rocketman Concept responds to the fundamental requirements of mobile lifestyles in the big cities of the future by pooling the brand’s core values in concentrated form. Ingenious functionality, smile-inducing agility, exceptional efficiency and irresistible design come together into an extraordinarily attractive and groundbreaking, yet typically MINI, subcompact car concept for the premium segment.
Displaying both an awareness of tradition and talent for innovation, the MINI design team developed the vision of a car that takes up impressively little space on the road but boasts an enviably spacious interior. The MINI Rocketman Concept therefore carries over the classic virtues of the brand into a pathbreaking vehicle concept. It offers a fresh interpretation of unmistakable MINI design features, and uses cutting-edge construction and manufacturing technology to create unique solutions in body and interior design.
The MINI Rocketman Concept body is shaped by an avant-garde interpretation of time-honoured brand features. Innovative construction techniques allow the principle used in the classic Mini – of providing the maximum amount of room on the smallest possible footprint – to be carried over to the mobility challenges of urban areas in the 21st century. The MINI Rocketman Concept measures 3.419 metres (approx. 11 ft. 3 in.) in length, adding just a few extra centimetres to the front and rear of the brand’s founding father born in 1959. The new study is 1.907 metres (approx. 6 ft. 3 in.) wide, including the exterior mirrors, and stands 1.398 metres (approx. 4 ft. 7 in) tall. Its proportions also display clear symmetries with both the classic Mini and the brand’s present-day line-up. The brand’s familiar appearance is therefore concentrated into a new set of dimensions, with the concept for a new vehicle segment remaining unmistakably recognisable as a MINI.
The MINI Rocketman Concept also uses creative design and innovative technical solutions to open up new layout options for the luggage area. This enhances the versatility of the existing space and means it can be used more efficiently. The split two-part tailgate consists of one section which is attached to the roof and opens extremely high and a lower section which extends out 350 millimetres from the body in the form of a drawer unit. The drawer represents the further development of the downward-opening tailgate seen on the classic Mini. This construction principle allows room to be made for pieces of luggage and travel items even when the car is carrying four occupants. The MINI Rocketman Concept literally grows as a vehicle when it’s time to start loading up the gear.
An operating concept developed for the MINI Rocketman Concept brings together principles from the MINI design handbook, innovative new functions and a pioneering operating system to serve up even greater driving fun over both short and long journeys. A cockpit instrument, positioned above the steering wheel and therefore directly in the driver’s field of view, houses the rev counter and on-board computer display. The large-format Centre Speedo with peripheral speedometer and multifunctional colour display also adheres to the system logic familiar from the current range of series-produced MINI cars as far as display arrangement is concerned. The development of the rigorously applied display/control element separation principle, meanwhile, has been taken to the next level.
The 2011 MINI Rocketman Concept once again brings the traditional principles of the classic Mini onto the road through the introduction of innovative ideas. The creativity of the MINI design team enables them to transfer fundamental MINI features and values into a groundbreaking new vehicle concept in untarnished form. As a vision of the urban mobility of tomorrow, the MINI Rocketman Concept captures the imagination with its unflappable charisma, surprising variability, and lifestyle-oriented functionality, and provides the ideal platform for agile and efficient driving characteristics.