MINI Rocketman on Track to Production - Report

MINI Rocketman Concept 1 photo
Photo: MINI
First unveiled in 2011, the MINI Rocketman was supposed to be MINI’s return to the roots. Blamed by almost everyone out there for gradually increasing the size of the British brand, BMW used this concept to calm everyone down and assure them that they were working on making smaller cars.
Unfortunately, despite using some design cues from the Rocketman, the new MINI didn’t shrink in size. As a matter of fact, it went the other way around. Now, according to Auto Express, despite reducing talk down to a shush, the small, two-seater is back into focus and on track to production.

At the MINI 5-door hardtop launch, they had the chance to talk to Anders Warming, the head of design over in Oxford that said that the brand was still interested in the idea but “won’t reveal anything more [to the world] until [a viable design] is ready. For sure, a MINI should always be a small car, so [a new city car] would be appropriate for the brand. At the moment, we don’t have the right tech solutions, but we are working on it. We don’t yet have a final solution, you could say.”

Such a model would definitely be a good rival for the new Smart ForTwo and Toyota iQ as a city car. After all, the rear seats inside the 3-door Cooper are barely usable anyway so removing them wouldn’t make that huge of a deal inside. It would on the outside, though, where size could be shrunk considerably.

Being smaller, would also mean lighter and more eco-friendly with the exact same engines under the bonnet. However, the weight factor will be kept in check with aluminum and not CFRP as on the current Bimmers.

“I don’t believe carbon fibre is the route to a superlight MINI. Our concepts have had carbon parts, but aluminum is more likely. We want to reduce parts, to do more with less,” Anders said about the materials that will be used.

The same simple approach would be used inside as well: “To have a great cabin, all you need is a great steering wheel, a seat and a great user interface. We want no superfluous parts. Driving in the city is stressful enough, so we need a reduction in the number of elements... True luxury is now simplicity.”

Compared to the look of the interior used on the new MINI hardtop, we’re guessing that the Rocketman will have a different design inside the cabin as well, one that would speak of its separate identity. Even so, production would have to wait until 2016 at least, since the car is still in debate.
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