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Cute, But Muscular: Mini Unveils ‘Aceman’ EV Crossover Concept

Mini Aceman Concept(Photo/Mini)
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Mini’s Aceman electric crossover is a look at the next generation of Mini design and funkiness.

If you’re Mini, you’re backed into a bit of a corner when it comes to styling. The brand is based around one car introduced in the 1950s. Sure it was a cool car, but there’s only so much you can do while keeping that economy car’s roofline, basic window shape and, most importantly, the grille.

Automotive stylists, on the other hand, are amazingly creative. They’re also used to working with some very strict guidelines. With that, say, “Hey friend,” to the Mini Aceman Concept, an electric crossover and a look at the next generation of Mini design.

Mini Calls It the Brand’s First Crossover

Mini Aceman Concept

It’s not what we’d call the first Mini crossover, even if Mini itself is giving it that name. We’d say that the Countryman took that honor, but there’s nothing to be gained by splitting hairs.

It is certainly the most rugged-looking Mini of the modern era. Angular surfacing and wheel arches give it a toughened look. So does the tall and upright grille. Or at least the electrified representation of a grille, the LED light ring that circles the nose of the Aceman. Plenty of cladding and a platform roof rack complete the crossover design checklist.

While Mini says this is an electric vehicle, the automaker is focusing on styling and tech and not powertrain. Part of that design comes from the move to electric power, because Mini has been able to push the wheels out to the corners just a little bit more. This makes the brand’s already short overhangs even shorter.

LEDs on Display Inside & Out

Mini Aceman Concept

New and angular headlights replace the traditional round Mini lights. They’re filled with LEDs that can — in combination with the upper half of the grille — show graphics. Mini showed off a Union Jack flag theme, but there will be welcome and goodbye showpieces as well.

The dashboard is the most minimal design since the original — maybe even more (or is that less) than that car, because the Aceman doesn’t need a long manual gearshift. The dash has a steering wheel, a large round OLED screen, and a single row of toggle switches under the screen.

It can become much more than that, though.

Graphics Projected on Dashboard

Mini Aceman Concept

Aceman’s Android-based operating system controls projectors in the cabin. The system can project important information like maps and directions onto the dash. Or it can just show you a curated digital experience like photos and graphics spanning from door to door and accompanied by matched sound sequences.

Moving images are possible, as Mini gives cloud formations as an example, or even a shimmering water-like look. A mode called Pop-Up will let you pick restaurants, events that are happening at the time, and other adventures suggested for you by Mini’s computers.

The base color for the Mini’s interior is khaki green. The cabin is completely hide-free. Instead, it uses knitted textiles for sustainability and a premium appearance, along with other similar materials including light gray recycled polyester.

Aceman’s seats get embroidered X and O graphics. The seat fabrics have a three-dimensional look that Mini gets from combining flat knit, velvet velour, and waffle weave textiles arrayed in an oversized houndstooth pattern.

Mini moved forward and reverse to the toggle switch bar, so it created a new flexible center console. It lets you move around storage compartments to suit your needs with cupholders, a wireless charging station, and other configurations.

On Display at Gamescom in Cologne

Mini Aceman Concept

The first public appearance for the Mini Aceman, outside of these photos, will not be at a usual auto show. Instead, it’ll go on display at Gamescom 2022 in Cologne.

Mini calls that event, held at the end of August, the largest gaming event in the world, giving us some insight into Mini’s intended market for the car — younger, tech-savvy buyers who want the interactive experience to follow them into the car.

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