First Look: Mini Rocketman Concept

Mini calls the interior a fresh perspective on its traditional design language. The Rocketman's dash looks exceptionally futuristic but is still recognizably Mini. The center mounted speedometer, toggle switches, and oval-shaped trim pieces on the doors look like a Cooper S interior, after 20 years of evolution. The seats and dash are covered in suede, while non-touch surfaces use metallic and high-gloss finishes. Further trim pieces were pressed out of paper and backlit. The dash and instrument panel is adjustable along with the front seats to further increase useable space inside the car when carrying a backseat passenger or two.

The infotainment system in the Rocketman is again futuristic, yet derivative of current Mini technology. The interface uses three-dimensional graphics in the center display, which is controlled by either a steering-wheel mounted trackball or console-mounted joystick. Mini touts full phone integration, Internet connectivity, and a configurable display as more advanced technology, but most of it is already available in Mini showrooms, just without as slick an interface.

Mini calls the Rocketman Concept a vision of urban mobility of tomorrow. While it may look completely futuristic, it doesn't seem all that different from what the brand's been doing for the past 50. Small car enthusiasts groan at the thought of needing a larger car, but sometimes it's unavoidable. A car that expands only when needed is a dream come true for those people. It may not make sense for everyone, but in urban areas where space is always at a premium, this is a much more realistic solution than cars with growing wheelbases or interchangeable bodies.

The majority of Mini's concepts make it into production in very similar forms to its one-off show cars. This may be its first concept that is a little too advanced, but we're sure some of the ideas will carry over in the near future. Most of the interior design elements could easily be adapted into current models, and the infotainment isn't far off. But the carbon-fiber space frame? We think it's gonna be a long, long time.

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