MINI Rocketman concept makes Geneva debut

Andross Moonah - CAP staff
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One intriguing concept car at the recent Geneva motor show was the unique Mini Rocketman. While it resembles Mini models on sale today, the Rocketman concept takes a distinct, perhaps bizarre departure from the usual Mini design themes.

The Rocketman has the same compact dimensions as typical Mini models, including the same bug-eye headlights and big front grille. In fact, at just under three and a half metres, the Rocketman is just centimetres longer than the original Minis of 1959. The differences come in the form of the eccentrically styled "floating" taillights and mood lighting in the interior. Additionally, the concept features a glass roof that is outfitted with illuminated braces which light up to display, what else, the British Union Jack.

In terms of functional design, the car's doors are hinged just behind the front wheels to allow for easier entry and exit. The functional design theme continues with the car's carbon spaceframe construction and a split tailgate at the rear, which features a sliding drawer that extends 35 centimetres from the body. The Rocketman concept also features a central control unit which takes care of the car's navigation, music, and mobile communication functions. That central control unit can even be removed and hooked up to an external computer.

Mini says that through the use of weight-saving innovations such as a carbon fibre spaceframe, the car could achieve an average fuel consumption of only three litres per one hundred kilometres. There are no details about what type of powertrain would be used for the car, but since the Rocketman is a concept it's understandable that some figures are merely hypothetical.

Inside, the Rocketman features a three-plus-one seating arrangement. That means that the driver and front passenger can be joined by rear seat occupant who can only access the rear quarters once the front passenger seat is slid forward slightly. A fourth occupant could join along for admittedly short trips once the driver's seat and instrument cluster are both moved to what Mini call the standard position.

While just a concept car, the MINI Rocketman could be alluding to the future design trends at Mini. Though eccentricities like an illuminated glass roof and "floating" taillights may never make it to production, the concept's more practical features like carbon construction and unique passenger seating seem like common sense innovations for the near future.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Hatchback, Mini, 2011, Rocketman Concept, Subcompact,

Geographic location: Geneva

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