- New electric concept car previews Mini's futuristic design sensibilities.
- Exterior stays true to Mini's established principles, but the interior is wildly experimental.
- Hopefully the production version will invigorate Mini's aging lineup.
Last year, Mini announced plans to go fully electric by 2030, and the Mini Concept Aceman you see here is the first step in bringing that plan to reality. Mini is positioning the Concept Aceman as a more spacious alternative to the long-running Hardtop even though it isn't quite as large as the Countryman small SUV. The Aceman not only previews Mini's all-electric future but also serves to inject a bit of excitement into Mini's aging lineup, which features design motifs and platforms that date back to 2014.
Mini isn't one to present a daring new design, preferring instead to iterate on what came before. The Concept Aceman is a natural evolution of Mini's established language, from the overall Countryman-like shape and feel to the Union Jack taillights that have been a Mini hallmark for years.
There are a few surprises, of course. The rounded trapezoidal grille is no longer needed — the Concept Aceman is an electric vehicle, after all — but a thin LED strip hints at where it might have been in a gasoline car. This element, along with the LED headlight surrounds, help establish the Concept Aceman's "face." Fender flares have been pushed away from the bodywork and are squared to reflect the current trend of tough-looking crossovers that don't really have any off-road ability. The Union Jack roof rack is a neat touch, with colored crisscrossing straps that give the top-down view an unexpected splash of color.
Mini's designers were seemingly given far more latitude with respect to the Concept Aceman's interior. There are basic elements shared with other Minis — the center-mounted screen returns and the shape of the steering wheel rim is familiar — but from there the Aceman takes a futuristic approach.
Like many eco-conscious new vehicles, the Aceman makes extensive use of sustainable materials. In the Aceman's case, that means using knitted recycled textiles on the dashboard, door inserts, upholstery and armrest. While not exactly harmonious, the blue-green-orange palette is quite daring. It harkens back to a fleeting moment in time when parent company BMW experimented with nontraditional elements in the i3 and i8. Our eyes also thank Mini for taking a completely chromeless approach — no more light ricocheting off trim to blind you on sunny days.
The Concept Aceman debuts a handful of unique features, starting with the OLED central screen. Few manufacturers are offering these screens at the moment — you'll often see them on pricey high-resolution televisions — but the Aceman's display is said to project the new Android-based user interface in vibrant detail. Certain elements of the UI are further projected onto the dashboard itself, resulting in a stunning, albeit cluttered, view in the front seat area. We also dig the burst of color on the seat graphics and LED puddle lights. Both lend the Aceman an air of playfulness not seen in many other vehicles.
The Mini Concept Aceman offers a glimpse into not only the future of Mini's design language but also a revitalization of its aging lineup.