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Looking to return to its roots in a high-tech way, the brand famous for thinking small has unveiled a new more-mini MINI at the Geneva Auto Show.
Called the Rocketman concept, this isn’t a production car and it’s easy to see why, with a state-of-the-art carbon fiber spaceframe that allows it to be incredibly light – although oddly enough, MINI didn’t listing any figures relating to its weight.
There’s also no word on a powertrain, although MINI claims it’s capable of 94-mpg.
Size wise, it’s 11-feet 3-inches long, which is just over a foot shorter in length than the current Cooper hardtop. For added perspective, the Smart fortwo is nearly 9-feet in length.
Inside there’s seating for 3+1 (similar to Toyota’s iQ) with three seats for adults and an occasional use seat for a child. Getting into and out of the car is made easy thanks to innovative doors that have double hinges, allowing them to open extra wide when there’s room or to almost slide open when in tighter spots. Improved ease of access is also possible as when the doors open there is no sidesill to step over. Instead the bottom of the car moves with the door, as the carbon frame means rocker panels no longer have to be structural elements.
In terms of styling, it’s always hard to tell how close a MINI concept is to production. Most automakers get pretty wild with their concepts, but MINI’s designers are too concerned with crafting the car to look like a MINI to be overly creative. There are, however, a few unique elements, like the 18-inch carbon fiber wheels designed with aerodynamics in mid. And let’s not forget the glass Union Jack roof.
Inside, it’s typical MINI too, with a large center speedo with a 3D display, and a futuristic look at MINI Connected with a joystick on the center console and steering wheel mounted controls to help you stay more connected.
MINI says the Rocketman concept is a look at a possible future model, taking into account the brand’s core values, which include premium trim, a creative use of space and a dynamic driving experience. Production-bound it may be, but that is likely only to be for the European market (at least at first) with MINI U.S.A. boss Jim McDowell recently commenting that more mini-MINIs are not in the plans for North America.