The MINI Vision Urbanaut is the company's 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. It's not exactly ‘MINI' in the true sense of the term because at 4,460mm long, there's a lot of room and yes according to the company, the Urbanaut provides an interior space that can be used in many different ways and offers a whole new ease of movement inside the car. Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design said, "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,"
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 optimised.
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 darker environs of the cabin's rear section provide a quieter space – the Cosy Corner. This area invites passengers to enjoy some time to themselves. A textile-covered “Loop” extends over the seat bench and features the option of LED backlighting. Between Cosy Corner and the driver's area is the open and airy central section of the car, which offers quick access to all seating areas. With the door open, it is even possible to sit on the floor. On the side of the car opposite the entry door, a small integrated table with a plant adds a finishing touch to the interior fittings. The table signifies the car's new centre point – the place where passengers meet, face and engage with one another.
Oliver Heilmer, Head of MINI Design said, “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 MINI Urbanaut was conceived from the outset as an electrically powered vehicle with automated driving functions but the company has not yet provided details on the powertrain.
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 aluminium structure with slotted openings, the headlights are only visible when switched on. Thanks to their multi-colour dynamic matrix design they can display different multi-coloured graphics, which creates a new form of communication between the car and the outside world to suit each moment. The lights on the MINI Vision Urbanaut complement the front “grille” with the attractive look distinctive to every MINI. The enclosed grille itself is now octagonal in shape, representing an evolution of the traditional hexagonal form. Since the MINI Vision Urbanaut does not have a combustion engine requiring cooling air, the grille assumes a new function: it now serves as an intelligence panel for automated driving.
As with the headlights, mulitcolour dynamic matrix rear lights behind milled Aluminium covers deliver a fresh aesthetic and present different looks in the various driving modes and MINI moments. On closer inspection, the distinctive, convex surfaces also pay homage to previous MINIs and the classic MINI. One small detail – the contour of the rear windows – references the form of the front grille and underscores the car's stylistic consistency.
The clear form of the exterior supplies the car's colours, materials and details with the perfect stage. The matte exterior shade Zero Gravity transitions from a metallic green with blue flip effect to a subtly toned grey. The windows show a pattern in body colour, fading in a gradient from bottom to top. This creates a harmonious transition from the vehicle body to the windows and roof. The pattern also provides a certain amount of privacy without having to darken the windows; the interior remains bright.
The concept behind the MINI Vision Urbanaut includes services designed to make using the car an enriching and seamless experience. For example, the MINI Vision Urbanaut can be opened using smart devices – so, in keeping with its status as a mobility option of the future, it can be accessed by anyone within a defined circle of family and friends. Playlists, audio books or podcasts to suit the route and the moment can be explored while travelling. A personal journey planner displays tips and points of interest (POI) tailored to the individual, as well as recommendations from the MINI Community. These can be proposed and selected as desired.