The BMW group has revealed a new MINI concept as part of its centenary celebrations.
The ‘MINI Vision Next 100’ underlines the BMW group’s look to future orientation and adaptability, and is described as the ‘perfect premium compact car for the modern city’. With digitalisation and connectivity increasingly changing the way we get around on a daily basis – BMW says this change is taking place most rapidly and noticeably in urban areas. With that in mind, the MINI Vision Next 100 aims to answer key questions on urban mobility over the years to come.
The German brand says the core philosophy behind the MINI concept was the motto “Every MINI is my MINI”. This describes a particular take on car-sharing. In the future, fans of the brand will be able to call a MINI tailored to their personal requirements where ever they are, day or night. The MINI of the future will be ‘available 24/7, able to pick its driver up from their desired location in a fully automated way and will adapt itself to the driver’s individual tastes, interests and preferences’.
The MINI Vision Next 100 is wrapped in a silver skin, like a blank canvas - how that is used varies according to the individual user, their mood and the situations they encounter. Even the colour of the roof and the lighting mood in the interior respond in kind. The MINI uses projections adapted to the driver in terms of colour, graphics and content to create a personalised experience and customised package of on-board information.
MINI has also developed a ‘Cooperizer’ - the centrally-positioned circular instrument that has become such a signature feature of MINI cockpits. In the concept it illuminates like a kaleidoscope. The colours and patterns it generates symbolise the car’s multi-faceted digital intelligence, which allows it to select a personalised setting for each driver, encompassing entertainment, communications and autonomous-driving options. On the move, the driver can influence the Cooperizer’s decision-making, as the rotary controls allow adjustments to the interior ambience and driving mode. So the car can be adapted to give a perfectly personalised driving experience, whether driven conventionally or autonomously.
Pressing an ‘Inspire Me’ button is another special Cooperizer feature. Once pressed the MINI checks downloaded user data to select information of interest to the driver and provide them with potential sources of inspiration. For example it might configure the car for an artist the driver admires and whose exhibition they have recently visited, or it could recommend a challenging, twisting route to the outskirts of town and switch to John Cooper Works performance mode.
Various aspects of the concept will take the go-kart feeling to another new level, says the German brand. Cleared of many controls and screens, the interior has a pure, uncluttered look. And the glass front end opens up a dynamic view of the road. Here, augmented reality displays the route or ideal driving line, heightening the driving sensation. On the outside, the wheels rotation generates an “Ombro Cinema” effect - this involves the outer surface of the wheel not moving and only tyres behind turning with the idea, according to BMW, of making each wheel look like a piece of a mechanical jewellery.
The efficiently-packaged, zero-emission drive system and the reduced need for crash zones in the future results in a ‘compactness of body’ not so far removed from the first MINI back in 1959. The generous feeling of cabin space is enhanced by a full-width bench seat and pedals that slide with the steering wheel to adjust their position. The steering wheel is always there, but the option remains, to ask the car to drive itself.
Autonomous driving plays an important role in the MINI concept - allowing it to travel occupant-free to a charging station, cleaning service, parking space or the next user. To switch from driving themselves to autonomous driving, the driver simply moves the steering wheel into the central area between themselves and the front passenger. In the process, those on board enjoy greater freedom of movement and getting in and out of the car in busy city centres is that much easier.