It’s the dawn of a new era for MINI as the beloved British brand is ushering in a fresh design language with the MINI Concept Aceman. At the same time, it also serves as a sneak preview of a future small electric crossover that will be positioned below the next-generation Countryman and its purely electric derivative. The subsequent production version will go down in history as the company’s first-ever electric-only model.
With cars getting bigger and bigger, you’re probably wondering whether the Aceman lives up to its MINI badge. By modern standards, the concept is pretty small as it’s only 4.05 meters (159.4 inches) long, 1.99 meters (78.3 inches) wide, and 1.59 meters (62.6 inches) tall. That makes it substantially shorter than the outgoing Countryman, but at the same time wider and taller.
The crossover’s dimensions are the only technical specifications released by MINI as the BMW-owned marque focuses mostly on the Aceman’s appearance inside and out. As promised, the electric crossover with its matrix LED lights at the front and rear embraces the “Charismatic Simplicity” design language and doesn’t have any leather and chrome elements whatsoever. From the light-up grille to the taillights, it’s easy to see the Union Jack motif is alive and well. Even the transverse and diagonal struts of the roof rack form a structure resembling the famous flag.
In typical concept fashion, the vehicle has been fitted with oversized wheels, measuring a generous 20 inches to fill up those chunky arches with their plastic body cladding. Despite its relatively small dimensions, the Aceman doesn’t skimp on practicality as it has usable rear doors thanks to a generous wheelbase after shortening the overhangs made possible by the dedicated electric car platform. It’s one of the most colorful MINIs we’ve ever seen by combining numerous vibrant shades in an eclectic way.
Brilliant and Minimal Interior
The interior is just as vibrant and does away with most conventional controls. The massive OLED display takes center stage and is joined by a toggle switch bar below it for accessing the audio volume, parking brake/gears, and choosing from the three available Experience Modes to individualize the big screen. The infotainment runs on an Android Open Source Project (AOSP) software stack and MINI has also integrated a wireless charging pad into the center console for your smartphone.
The Aceman will make its public debut at Gamescon in Cologne, Germany between August 23-28. A production version will follow and it’s going to be manufactured in China per BMW Group’s 50:50 joint venture with Great Wall Motor announced in late 2019 as the Spotlight Automotive Project. The tie-up will create 3,000 jobs after an investment of approximately €650 million that also includes a new plant located in Zhangjiagang with an annual capacity of up to 160,000 vehicles.
It’s unclear whether the MINI Aceman will land in the United States. Considering that the new crossover is built in China, chances are that U.S.market will simply focus on the new Countryman electric crossover instead.