Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mini MINI revealed

MINI Rocketman exclusively revealed to Auto Express, to star at Geneva and offers bold look in smaller package

Mini MINI revealed front
Get ready for a MINI launch party! The British firm has announced a daring new concept called the Rocketman – and it’s ready 
to blast off at the Geneva 
Motor Show next week.

Boasting seats for four in 
a package not much bigger 
than the original Sixties model, 
it’s the mini MINI we’ve all been waiting for
Boasting seats for four in 
a package not much bigger 
than the original Sixties model, 
it’s the mini MINI we’ve all been waiting for – and Auto Express 
was granted exclusive access to the newcomer before the expo.

At 3,419mm long and 1,907mm wide, the baby MINI is about 40cm longer and 50cm wider than the original.

The Rocketman borrows 
technology from owner BMW’s forthcoming Megacity electric 
car, which uses 
a carbon fibre spaceframe to reduce weight – and rather than hide it, MINI has left it exposed around the grille and front apron.

At the rear, the hexagonal 
lines mirror the nose, and MINI’s famous ‘Coke-can’ exhaust pipe
 gets a central position in the bumper. The quirky, handle-
style tail-lights project on to 
the bodywork, rather than face straight out, and incorporate 
the brake and indicator lamps.

The trademark Union Jack 
roof makes a return as a full-length glass panel, using the car’s structural beams to create the diagonal and horizontal lines.

Getting in to the Rocketman isn’t as difficult as you might 
think thanks to the double-hinged doors which allow for a wide opening.

Despite the cabin’s small dimensions, MINI claims it is spacious enough for four adults, and the seats can be arranged into three different layouts. As 
a two-seater, the front chairs move as far back as needed, while the instrument cluster 
can also be moved.

Then there's a fourth chair in the rear, which is a temporary device that folds down out of 
a backpack attached 
to the rear seat. It’s a 
similar configuration to that 
in Toyota’s innovative iQ.
There's a 
clever boot too. It consists of two parts, with the upper section 
a traditional roof-hinged hatch and the bottom part a drawer.

There’s no official word 
on what sits under the bonnet 
of the newcomer, but it’s likely that any production model 

will be powered by BMW’s 
forthcoming three-cylinder 
petrol and diesel engines. All MINI has said is that the Rocketman will be capable of 94mpg.

The best news of all is that 
the firm is committed to making sure each of its concept cars goes into production – with the exception of the Beachcomber, which was unable to meet safety 
regulations. So, the MINI we’ve all been waiting for is almost certain to reach showrooms in around 2015.

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