2011 Geneva Auto ShowJust the Facts:
- With the Rocketman, Mini returns to its roots in terms of size, style and clever packaging, but offers some modern twists on technology.
- The Rocketman features 3+1 seating and a carbon-fiber space frame.
- It has a flexible rear storage compartment with a unique sliding rear drawer.
GENEVA — Judging from the new Mini Rocketman concept for the 2011 Geneva Auto Show, the future of BMW's small-car brand won't stray far from the British company's roots in terms of size, style and clever packaging.
A three-door hatchback like the original Mini, the Rocketman measures less than 135 inches long overall, but manages to accommodate up to four passengers with its 3+1 seating configuration.
The concept's rear storage compartment is flexible, too, with a two-piece tailgate that includes a lower drawer that pulls out from the body.
Likewise, the Rocketman's two doors are both distinctive and functional, with integrated sills and external carbon-fiber double hinges that enable the doors to pivot out and away from the body, providing easy access to all seats, even in tight spaces.
A full-surface glass roof incorporates optical fibers that can be illuminated to re-create the iconic Union Jack flag. Otherwise, the roof braces glow Porcelain White, in marked contrast to the Bermuda Gray body. Sections of the carbon-fiber space frame also are visible alongside the painted and chromed surfaces of the front end.
Mini didn't specify what sort of powertrain might be installed in the Rocketman, other than to observe that "it is designed to allow the integration of a drive system" with average fuel economy of 78 mpg.
While the Rocketman's instrument cluster houses the traditional oversize center dial, it also departs from tradition in adding a removable control unit that can be programmed at home before any journey, updating everything from music and personal e-mails to navigation destination details.
Many of the car's controls can be accessed from multifunction buttons on the left-hand steering-wheel spoke and a trackball integrated into the right-hand spoke.
Edmunds.com says: "And I think it's gonna be a long, long time..." — Paul Lienert, Correspondent