New Concept Car: Mini Rocketman

Mini’s stand at the 2011 Geneva auto show is the launchpad for its slick little Rocketman, a concept car that evokes the spirit and packaging of the original Mini even more faithfully than the current Cooper. For one thing, at 11 feet, 3 inches long, the Rocketman is barely longer than its eensy forefather. Its width is closer to that of the new car than the old, but this is about as mini as a car can get while making room for four occupants.

Yes, four. Mini claims that the Rocketman’s reconfigurable cabin can be set up for two or three seats, or a 3+1 arrangement with, in Mini’s words, “an exceptionally efficient division of space” (read: everybody’s gonna hurt). That sounds like a challenge to us: second only to driving it, the most fun you could have in an original Mini—or contemporary Beetle or Fiat 500—was seeing how many friends you could stuff inside. Now we know that the Rocketman’s starting point is four.

Getting everybody in and out shouldn’t be too much of a challenge, however, thanks to double-hinged doors that move forward as they swing out. Once inside, those whose faces aren’t smashed against the windows might be able to see the central speedo, which incorporates 3D graphics. Rather than the tiny console-mounted joystick that controls the infotainment system in today’s Minis, a trackball on the steering wheel handles those functions in the Rocketman. Connectivity is facilitated by a removable control unit that can be hooked up to a home computer to program destination and contact information, as well as to manage music files. (And here we thought that cars were going to do that wirelessly. Hmm.)

Thanks to: Car and Driver


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