MINI has provided a not-so-subtle preview of the styling that will define its future range, by unveiling the new MINI Vision concept car, which the brand admits showcases various elements of its future design. The MINI Vision was unveiled overnight at the company’s design studio based in Munich, Germany and presented by its design boss Anders Warming.
It only takes a quick glance to spot the similarities between the concept and the numerous prototypes we’ve seen for the third-generation of the modern MINI, the 2014 MINI Cooper, due out in showrooms early next year. However, numerous features have been incorporated purely for the concept and aren’t expected to make it to production anytime soon.
Key elements from the MINI Vision we’re expecting on the 2014 MINI Cooper and the various models it will spawn are the hexagonal radiator grille, auxiliary lights mounted in the grille, LED headlights (though perhaps as an option), ring-shaped daytime running lights integrated with the headlights, and the jewel-like tail-lights.
Of course, the concept also exhibits plenty of signature MINI elements such as separation of the roof, glasshouse and body; the chrome strip that wraps around the car’s waistline; and the black band framing the lower edge of the car.
As MINI tells us, higher level design concepts including the composition of the vehicle structure itself has also been interpreted in the concept. Using technology borrowed from the development of BMW’s new i range of cars, MINI has developed new lightweight construction techniques. One of these is called “organo metal” which is said to be extremely light and malleable but also very strong. It is produced by pressing various fibers into a composite.
There are also new aerodynamic techniques at play. The car’s body includes an aerodynamic air intake and outlet around each front wheel arch, airflow-optimized wheel rims and exterior mirrors, and an integral, air-channelling roof spoiler.
For the interior, MINI has gone for an open plan design, introducing a ‘floating’ center stack. Lounge seats featuring dynamic piping add the finishing touch to the unique interior ambience. It’s clear MINI is keeping its retro-inspired round gauges but all the vital info for the driver has been moved to the main instrument cluster located behind the steering wheel. The center display looks to serve as the main infotainment system.
MINI’s designers have also retained the brand's ‘click system’ but with some changes. Smartphone holders, a storage box, cup holder or small safe can be attached and removed in a single movement as and when required. One new feature MINI has described is a Driving Experience Control switch that allows the whole of the car’s interior to be transformed: two settings are expressed in different colors using calm, clear light or dynamic, energy-charged shades.
(c) 2013, High Gear Media.