MINI Rocketman Concept gets green light for production

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 8, 2011

As you may know already the MINI Rocketman Concept made quite a buzz at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show and what is more interesting is that BMW Group is planning to produce the small car. This means that it will be MINI’s mini car built for a crowded city and an official successor to the iconic MINI. “We are good at looking at history and interpreting a future for it,” said BMW’s sales and marketing boss Ian Robertson to Autocar.

Moreover, Ian Robertson said that most MINI concepts will eventually be produced. And, as expected, the design seen on the Rocketman will also influence other MINI models. “The themes in the car are not just about a smaller Mini,” he said to Autocar. “Lightweight construction, and new types of components will go on to Minis. The BMW i-concept [lightweight and alternative energy] will be available to all members of the group.” said Robertson.

Apparently, the MINI Rocketman Concept also previews design cues for the next-generation MINI cars, such as the new Coupe and Convertible which will debut in 2013 and use Bmw’s new front-drive platform. Furthermore, Robertson said that the Rocketman will not threaten the traditional three-door car.

The body of the MINI Rocketman Concept is clearly a modern interpretation of the brand’s traditional features. The classic Mini has always followed the principle of offering maximum space using the smallest possible footprint in order to meet the mobility challenges present in urban areas especially in the 21st century. Thus in order to ensure that this is present in the MINI Rocketman Concept, the brand had to implement some rather innovative construction methods.

The result is that the MINI Rocketman Concept is 3.419 meters long or around 11 feet and 3 inches. This length can be attributed to the extra centimeters added to the front and even back portion of the original model released in 1959. Counting the exterior mirrors, the vehicle has a width of 1.907 metres, around 6 feet and 3 inches, with height at 1.398 metres, approximately 4 feet 7 inches. Aside from the dimensions, the proportions show the symmetry between the modern line-up and the classic Mini.

While the dimensions are indeed new, the brand’s well-known look can still be seen especially for the concept car of this vehicle segment continuing to be obvious as a MINI. The way the characteristics of the brand’s design language are interpreted for this concept car shows that it has a dynamic and powerful appeal. It has a solid structure, which is emphasized by the straight lines that shape the basic form, contoured surfaces, and large wheels.

Aside from the clear proportions, the MINI Rocketman Concept has a number of unique design features that more than proves it is indeed part of the brand. The front end is dominated by the radiator grille that has a chrome surround and circular large headlights. Though the headlights have exterior contours that fit the brand’s standard visual template, the inner structure has been improved especially for the MINI Rocketman Concept.

Since the LED units have been placed in a central position, it manages to create a full beam that is surrounded by the striking light ring for the dipped-beam mode. The same headlights also have the direction indicators integrated to them, a feature that the MINI Rocketman Concept shares with a number of new series-produced MINI models. Still on the headlights, its dimensions are similar to that of the present MINI.

What this means is that they appear rather large especially when placed on the MINI Rocketman Concept’s smaller face. These are some of the stand-out features of the brand’s design as they exemplify the core values that the brand follows, which in fact is present in the new model. In the areas around the radiator grille and front apron as well as those that surround the headlights, there are sections of its carbon spaceframe that can be seen together with the chromed and painted surfaces.

The striking surface structure helps bring to mind the advanced construction design of the MINI Rocketman Concept. In addition, it comes with an advanced door concept and a powerful profile. It is quite clear that the side of the MINI Rocketman Concept has the same look as the models that are already in series production. This is demonstrated by the roof resting on top, wraparound greenhouse, the body’s three-level structural split, and the large wheels.

As the windows extend toward the back, they narrow and thereby highlight the dynamic wedge shape of its body. It also hints at the agile and sporty character of this vehicle. Underscoring the MINI’s high waistline is the chrome frame encircling the vehicle which takes the shape of a light strip on the vehicle. It even helps the already powerful profile put into sharper focus.

Topics: mini, concept, production

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