MINI reveals a concept ahead of the Geneva Motor Show – the MINI Rocketman Concept – which points at the next generation MINI.
Yes, we know that any motor show would be incomplete without a MINI of some description, be it a new version or just yet another ‘Limited Edition’ MINI. But this MINI Concept - the MINI Rocketman – is a different kettle of fish.
The MINI Rocketman is a strong pointer to the next MINI. The one that BMW aren’t too sure what to do with. After all, where do you go with a new design when the current one is already a pastiche of the original? Do you pastiche the pastiche? Or do you look for a new take on the original?
So which is this MINI Rocketman, then? It seems to be a bit of both. Which is a cop-out of an answer, but maybe the route BMW has taken. And it’s no doubt the right one. MINI lovers love the style, the wit and the pastiche. It’s what floats their boat and what makes the whole MINI merry-go-round work.
So what’s the Rocketman Concept about (and before you ask, there is no truth in the rumour that the next MINI concepts will be the MINI Daniel and the MINI Norma Jean)? For one thing, it’s small. Just 15″ longer than the Issigonis original, which makes it about six shoe sizes down from the MINI Countryman we’ve just reviewed.
The Rocketman gets built round a carbon fibre monocoque chassis which pokes through the bodywork here and there, with a carbon fibre spaceframe for a roof covered with a clear panel etched with the Union Flag. Very 1960s meets very now.
The Rocketman is a bit less than a 4×2 design (it’s 11’3″ long and 6’3″ wide) and it gets a 3+1 seating setup where there’s a kind of occasional, inside dicky-seat behind the driver. The whole interior seems to point to a much cleaner and less cluttered interior architecture than the current MINI.
The boot of this very compact MINI is effectively a drawer that pulls out the back, and there’s lots of concepty stuff like sticking out lights and doors that pivot outwards, taking the sills with them. Cute and clever and maybe some is destined for production.
The Rocketman is said to be very frugal, offering ‘…enhanced sprinting ability’ and the ability to average 98mpg. So we’re guessing there’s an electric motor in there somewhere to give instant torque around town and low fuel use.
MINI has a ream or three of bumph in the MINI Rocketman Concept press release if you want the – slightly vague – nuts and bolts of MINI yet to come.