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Mini previews its electric concept – the Aceman crossover

BMW Group has digitally unveiled a concept car that offers a glimpse of what the future Mini range will look like – the Mini Aceman.

Unlike 2020’s Mini Electric, which is an electric powertrain shoehorned into a body built for combustion engines, the Aceman has been fully designed as an EV.

The ‘close-to-production’ concept means most of the features will remain in and on the car when it is launched in 2024.

Outside, it’s instantly recognisable as a Mini, although its iconic round headlamps have gone – replaced by more angular LED lights that blend in with its front aspect.

The rest of the central grille – no longer needed for cooling a combustion engine – is given over to an LED light show that will ‘welcome’ the driver. To the rear, the concept has LED Union Jack tail lights.

Inside, the circular speedo has been retained – but now it’s an OLED touch screen powered by Android technology. And the dash is now an extension of the media centre, displaying ambient patterns when it’s not doing anything more useful.

Mini has also retained the signature switches underneath the infotainment screen in an otherwise digitised interior. The switches will toggle the parking brake, select gears, select driver mode, and adjust the audio volume.

As these functions are presumably controllable electronically it’s clear Mini has kept them for nostalgic reasons.

The interior has also done away with chrome and leather. The upholstery will be made of woven recycled polymers.

The designs on the concept are garish in an 80s way – time will tell if Mini offers a more sober interior and whether the velvet velour steering wheel cover makes it to final production.

The crossover SUV is 13ft long and 6.5ft wide – around the same dimensions as the current Mini Countryman. It’s likely to offer two powertrains at launch, with one offering more power and greater range than the other.

No news yet on pricing, or whether / when a smaller hatchback version of this SUV crossover concept will be available.

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