At the 2011 Geneva Motor Show MINI will unveil the Rocketman Concept, a compact urban car that combines the brand’s design language with a carbon-fiber spaceframe and a 3+1 seating layout.
With its latest innovations, MINI practically convinced us that the name of the brand is less and less consistent with its products: the models are inexorably growing in size. But the Rocketman concept will be presented at the Geneva Motor Show, the length of which is only 3419 mm (for comparison, the classic MINI was 3050 mm long).
The comparison with the legendary car of the work of Sir Alec Issigonis is not accidental. After all, Rocketman was built practically according to the precepts of the ancestors who founded MINI: maximum space in the cabin with minimal external dimensions. The proportions of the car fully correspond to the first models of the company.
The serial car built on the basis of this concept will be the smallest and most economical in the MINI line. The three-door hatchback will be able to accommodate up to three people at once: two will be located in front and one in the back. Moreover, the rear seat can be moved across the car, so that the passenger chooses how he wants to sit: in the middle of the cabin, behind the driver or behind the front passenger (if the driver is too tall).
True, in contrast to the minimalism of the classic MINI, the concept is generously enhanced with modern technologies: diode headlights, carbon body parts, a large area of glazing, including a glass roof. It is not yet clear what this magnificence will make it to the serial version.
The design of the hatchback, despite constant references to the fact that this car is a reincarnation of the very first MINI, fits perfectly into the corporate style of all new models of the company.
In connection with the struggle for the weight of the Rocketman (hence the carbon-plastic body elements), 18-inch wheels deserve a separate mention. Despite their solid size, they are made using a special technology that allows you to significantly reduce the weight of the wheels. At the same time, the carbon contour of the disc allows to improve aerodynamics, and the aluminum finish makes the design of the wheels extremely attractive.
The main “feature” of the MINI Rocketman, however, lies in the friend. Car doors are two-section. Thanks to this, it will be easier to get into the car. When the door is open, it seems to move slightly to the side, which practically eliminates the risk, for example, of getting dirty by touching it. In addition, it can be very useful in tight parking spaces: the innovative door opening system allows you to change the opening angle. And finally, unusual door hinges are a memorable element of the car’s exterior.
Another interesting touch is the roof. Power and glass elements form the flag of the United Kingdom.
MINI designers and engineers showed no less creativity when working on the luggage compartment of the car. The third door is also two-section. It consists of the upper part, which opens very high, and the lower part, which in the unfolded state adds another 350 mm to the length of the car.
The interior of the novelty does not lag behind the exterior. Here is everything you expect from a modern car. Moreover, for better interaction with on-board systems, MINI invented a special trackball. It is located above the steering wheel and with its help you can quickly and easily control the navigation, phone, and multimedia system. The company believes that it is much more convenient and safer than the joystick that is installed on MINI now. Thanks to the trackball, the driver can hold the steering wheel with both hands at all times and at the same time control absolutely all systems of the car.
As for power units, there is no information about them yet. It is only known that the car will consume no more than 3 liters of fuel per 100 km in mixed driving mode. So, apparently, the hatchback will be equipped with a hybrid power plant.