“The MINI brand has always stood for ‘Clever Use of Space.’ In the MINI Vision Urbanaut, we extend private space far into the public realm, creating completely new and enriching experiences,” explains Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design.
The MINI brand is using #NEXTGen to present, in a world exclusive, the MINI Vision Urbanaut – an all-new interpretation of a vision of space. This digital vision vehicle offers more interior space and versatility than ever before, but still on a minimal footprint.
“MINI sees its future self primarily as an enabler of and companion for unforgettable times – what we might call ‘MINI moments’,” states Oliver Heilmer, Head of MINI Design.
“The MINI Vision Urbanaut uses three curated MINI moments – “Chill”, “Wanderlust” and “Vibe” – to present a wide range of possible usage scenarios.
The Chill moment invites you to catch a breath and pause in the here and now. The car becomes a kind of retreat, a haven where you can relax – or work with full concentration – during a journey.
Wanderlust is the only MINI moment where the MINI Vision Urbanaut is being driven or driving with automated driving functions. The moment Vibe puts time with other people at centre stage – in every way.”
The exterior and interior change to reflect the MINI moment at hand and give the experience the best possible stage. An all-encompassing user experience design, sustainable materials and a purely electric drive system are additional ingredients of the overall concept.
As an innovative space concept, the MINI Vision Urbanaut was designed from the inside out.
The designers created the spacious interior experience before developing the exterior, using floor plans, pieces of furniture plus wooden scale models to provide an indication of size.
Over the course of the project, augmented reality was employed to create a digital model, which was then systematically optimized.
Unusually tall for a MINI, but only 4.46 m in length, the MINI Vision Urbanaut provides an interior space that can be used in many different ways and offers a whole new ease of movement inside the car.
Having been conceived from the outset as an electrically powered vehicle with automated driving functions, the MINI Vision Urbanaut has afforded the designers a greater level of freedom when creating both the exterior and interior.
“In 1959, the very first Mini ushered in a small-scale revolution in vehicle construction with its transversely mounted engine,” recalls Oliver Heilmer, Head of MINI Design.
The interior of the MINI Vision Urbanaut provides the ideal environment in which to go on a journey, but is also the aim of the journey.
Having arrived at the chosen destination, it can transform into a living room in just a few simple steps.
Occupants enter the innovative cabin through a large sliding door in the side of the car.
The cutting-edge slide and swivel mechanism is the ideal design for urban driving conditions where space is at a premium. There are no other doors on the driver’s side or front passenger side.
The MINI Token is the centrepiece of the MINI Vision Urbanaut’s experience worlds.
It is roughly the same size as a worry stone and activates the three preconfigured MINI moments – Chill, Wanderlust and Vibe – when placed in purpose-designed slots in the table at the centre of the car.
Other MINI moments are conceivable, such as “My MINI moment”. Here, the MINI Token can be programmed to provide another kind of personalized experience, in which the user can configure their own preferred scenario of fragrance, ambient lighting, music, etc. and call it up directly at a later time.
The purist mono-volume design of the MINI Vision Urbanaut gives new meaning to the “Creative Use of Space” approach.
The flush, virtually seamless surface creates a modern baseline mood, with high-quality details adding carefully judged stylistic flourishes.
In signature MINI fashion, the wheels are positioned at the outer corners of the body, with short overhangs rounding off a compact and agile appearance.
The front end of the MINI Vision Urbanaut represents a clear evolution of two time honoured MINI design icons – the headlights and radiator grille. Positioned under a milled aluminum structure with slotted openings, the headlights are only visible when switched on.
The MINI Vision Urbanaut is characterised by the responsible use of resources.
As well as maximum space within a small footprint and the all-electric drive system, the MINI Vision Urbanaut is committed to a responsible approach to materials.
This is achieved not only by reducing the number of components in the exterior and interior design, but also by enabling dual functions such as the dashboard/daybed.
In addition to the use of recyclates, this also means ensuring that the design is free of chrome and leather.
Along with the use of recycled materials, this also means avoiding chrome and leather.
The dominant material in the interior is knitted textile, which combines cosiness and quality with softness and comfort.
The use of cork on the steering wheel and sections of the floor adds a special touch thanks to its natural feel, and ensures an authentically pleasant interior climate.
Project: MINI Vision Urbanaut
Designers: BMW Group Design
Manufacturer: BMW Mini