MINI is a pretty youthful brand as it is. Younger customers love its quirky styling, its compact size, and its fun-to-drive dynamics. However, MINI wants to attract even more young people and it’s going to try and do so with the all new Concept Aceman. While in Germany for a media preview of the Aceman, we had the chance to see it up close. At a first glance, the Aceman is a fresh and bold design idea for the future of the MINI brand.
What is the Aceman?
If the MINI Aceman name sounds familiar, that’s because there was once a Mini Paceman concept. Unsurprisingly, the Aceman is similarly sized, at around 4 meters (13 feet) long. That isn’t particularly mini but it isn’t large, either. MINI says it’s large enough to fit five people. MINI designed the Aceman purely as an electric vehicle, so it’s very specious inside, despite its small-ish exterior proportions. In our experience, the MINI Aceman feels like a BMW i3 inside, with a more cavernous interior than its exterior suggests.
Sustainability and environmental friendliness were also at the forefront of MINI’s priorities. Which is why the the entire cabin is leather-free. Leather alternatives and sustainable materials make up the interior, which will make many younger customers very happy. Younger audiences typically prefer more modern minimalism, rather than old-school extravagance, so MINI sought to make the Aceman’s cabin simplistic but also high-tech.
It’s not an easy balance to strike, as impressive technology can often times be quite complex and in-your face. However, MINI designed a cabin that keeps the tech semi-hidden. For instance, main center circularly screen controls most of the car’s technology but the dashboard is also a screen, with a unique material over it, that can show what the infotainment system displays.
There are also different personal modes, which can configure the car’s tech and interior to your liking. For instance, the Personal mode allows you to change the main photo of the screen, as well as customize different settings in the cabin. The personal images, which can be sourced from the cloud, can also be displayed on the dashboard, and sort of float around. It’s neat way to sort of decorate the inside of the MINI.
There’s the Pop-Up mode, which allows the driver to choose from different categories, such as Tasty, Adventurous, and Trending. If you select one of those categories, the MINI Aceman will offer suggestions of interesting and sometimes surprising events or points of interest. It can then navigate you to whatever you choose. For instance, if you’re hungry, click the Tasty category and it will suggest new and interesting restaurants. Choose Adventurous and it might suggest a nearby casino for fun.
Vivid mode is essentially an entertainment mode for while you’re stuck in traffic, stopped at a traffic light, or waiting for the car to charge. It has interactive games built into the infotainment system, one of which has animated bubble letters that spell “Aceman” that you can move from the screen to the dashboard by swiping them. It’s silly fun to keep you entertained while waiting.
That same simplicity made its way to the exterior as well. While its exterior design is high-tech looking, it’s done with simple elements. For instance, the lack of grille, the flush door handles, and the smooth surfaces all give it a modern yet simplistic feel. Those doors are also soft-close, which is a first for a MINI. They are also quite functional by incorporating a set of cameras which serve different functions.
Interestingly, there’s a roof spoiler that’s actually said to improve range somehow, by apparently reducing aerodynamic drag. Speaking of roof, another new feature is the all-glass roof, which allows you to see the roof rack from inside the cabin and it looks pretty cool.
Of course, there are Union Jack taillights. It wouldn’t be a MINI without them. The headlights get a new feature, though, called Companion mode. Essentially, it uses the headlights to track and follow you as you walk in front of the car, which might be nice at night. Also, the flat grille panel illuminates, changes color, and pulses to the beat of your music.
It’s clear MINI wants the Aceman to be the car for a younger generation of customers. Its youthful, playful style should resonate well with younger customers and its sustainable cabin should help build an environmentally-friendly fanbase.