- The Mini Vision concept previews the 2014 Mini Cooper, and showcases the shape of future Minis.
- Revealed as a 3D hologram, complete with interior, the Mini Vision introduces several new design elements to the brand's design palette.
- The 2014 Mini Cooper is expected to be displayed at both the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show and the 2013 Tokyo Auto Show.
MUNICH, Germany — The Mini Vision concept previews the 2014 Mini Cooper, and showcases the shape of future Minis.
Revealed as a 3D hologram, complete with interior, the Mini Vision introduces several new design elements to the brand's design palette.
The 2014 Mini Cooper is expected to be displayed at both the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show and the 2013 Tokyo Auto Show before going on sale next spring.
The Mini Vision is a virtual concept car hinting strongly at the shape of the next-generation 2014 hatchback.
The concept "gives more than a few hints to where the new Mini is going," said Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW group design chief.
That journey will also include a new five-door Mini Cooper and, according to some sources, possibly a four-door sedan, too.
The new three-door Mini Cooper will be followed shortly after by the five-door.
These will be followed by the new Clubman and Convertible — probably in 2015 — and then the sedan, if it gets a green light. There are also likely to be fresh thoughts around the two-seat Mini Roadster and Coupe duo, which have not been especially successful. All these models will share a platform with BMW's new front-drive models, a development that should significantly improve the profitability of the Mini brand.
The new design themes evident in the Mini Vision include an attempt to simplify the car's panels, while simultaneously adding precision to its lines and shapes with surfaces that "collect light," said Mini Design Chief Anders Warming.
The simplification is most obvious in the new car's nose, which now features a single-piece, elongated hexagonal grille with an outline that closely mirrors the grille of the post-1967 classic Austin Mini. The grille is flanked by large, circular headlights to present a face that's thought to be close to the 2014 car's look.
The now-familiar design details that distinguish a Mini are also present, from the wheel-at-each-corner stance to the floating roof, chrome door handles, vertically stacked taillights and circular instrumentation. The rising waistline introduced on the first BMW-era Mini from 2001 is also retained.
But a "brand is a living organism — you need to feed it things otherwise it will die," van Hooydonk said, which is why new design elements are being introduced.
These include the linking of the wheelhousing spats to the rockers and front-and-rear valances to form a perimeter around the car as well as a connection to the front fenders and the base of the windshield. This is an idea previously explored on the 2011 Rocketman concept that "we like," says van Hooydonk, but don't expect to see it on the new hatchback.
Also hard to miss is the roof spoiler, previously only seen on extreme sports models like the limited- edition Mini GP. That will be reserved for the sportiest models, although aerodynamics will play an increasingly important role in the battle to reduce fuel consumption.
The extra precision in the Vision's lines can be found in the cutlines spearing horizontally from its taillights and the tighter definition of its go-kart stance.
"There are no lines without a reason for being," said van Hooydonk.
These include the newly indented lower door and quarter panel area that are intended to "hold light," explained Warming, who said that the "more raked windshield and more prominent wheelhousings lead us into new territory. But there are no abrupt changes."
There are no abrupt changes inside either, "where we retain the circular display in the center of the dashboard," says Warming.
But the large dial that dominates a Mini interior will now be used for what he calls "the social area," which is the car's connectivity to the outside world through Mini Connected, an ownership aspect he believes "is about to take off."
Also novel is the Vision's Driving Experience Control, which alters the look and feel of the cabin at the throw of a switch. Labelled "pure and focused" and "fully interconnected," one provides an analog display, the other 3D. Expect a version of this to appear in the actual car, although the provision of a dance floor-style illumination of the footwells from the Vision's disco feature seems less likely.
Edmunds says: Variations on the theme are what we can expect from Mini design in the future, but always with some fresh twists. And expect the Vision to be pretty close to the 2014 Mini Cooper.