New MINI Aceman spy shots confirm small SUV size
All-electric SUV will slot between the new Cooper and Countryman, due to be revealed this year
- Will use same platform as new MINI Cooper
- Range of 250 miles could be possible
- To be fully revealed this year
You can’t deny that MINI is diving headfirst into its electric future. We first saw the all-new Cooper and Countryman models last year, complete with their electric powertrains, and we now have a clearer view of the next EV to join its lineup – the MINI Aceman.
We’ve seen glimpses of the MINI Aceman before, but these latest spy shots provide a view of the small SUV from every angle, albeit in heavy camouflage. Not to be confused with the similarly-named, three-door MINI Paceman that ended production in 2016, the Aceman is an all-new model that will share its electric underpinnings with the new MINI Cooper.
What is the MINI Aceman?
Destined to hit UK roads later this year, the Aceman is a small SUV that will slot between the Cooper and Countryman in MINI’s lineup. As the Countryman has steadily grown in size, and the Cooper has shrunk to a three-door only, the Aceman aims to fill the gap with its five-door, small SUV body style. At around 4,000mm long, the Aceman will be roughly the same size as the original Countryman from 2010.
MINI revealed technical details for the new Cooper last year, and the brand has confirmed that the same battery and electric motor set-up will be used in the Aceman. This means buyers will have a choice between 40kWh and 50kWh batteries, both powering a front-mounted motor. The larger of the two batteries will provide up to 250 miles of range in the Cooper, so we expect a similar figure to be possible in the Aceman.
While the new Cooper and Countryman will be available with a choice of petrol and hybrid engines alongside pure-electric models, we understand that the Aceman will only be offered as an EV. Without the need to shoehorn a petrol engine under the bonnet, MINI has been able to push the wheels out to the furthest corners of the Aceman, a design choice often used to improve the interior space of EVs.
We sat in the back of a pre-production Aceman and space seemed generous enough, but the boot is on the small side, with a high sill to lift things over. No official boot space figures have been revealed yet.
We expect the MINI Aceman to follow the same naming strategy as the new Cooper, launching in both E and SE trims, the latter providing more power and a sportier driving experience. The base Aceman is likely to use the same 181bhp electric motor as the outgoing MINI Electric hatchback, alongside a 40kWh battery to provide a range of around 190-200 miles. The top-spec Aceman SE will use a more powerful 215bhp motor, alongside the aforementioned 50kWh battery pack for a maximum range in the region of 250 miles.
Other details for the Aceman remain under wraps, but MINI boss Stephanie Wurst confirmed hot versions of all MINI models are on the cards, suggesting a more powerful Aceman JCW is likely at a later date.
What will the MINI Aceman look like?
While the latest spy shots confirm the small SUV proportions of the Aceman, we can more clearly predict the new model’s design details by looking at the concept car revealed in 2022. Called the MINI Concept Aceman, this concept car features the brand’s signature retro styling, with a boxy shape and rounded headlights.
Chunky wheelarch cladding will add to the Aceman’s SUV looks, and details like the front ‘grille’ and rear lights will be similar to those found on the Cooper and Countryman.
The overall design of the production model’s cabin will be almost as minimalist as the concept car, although it won’t get the rather unusual, projected images on the dashboard.
What we do think will make it to the final car, however, is the circular OLED infotainment display, which calls back to the central speedometer of the first-generation BMW MINI hatchback. It can already be found in the new Cooper and Countryman, running MINI’s latest Android-based software – complete with suitably funky graphics – and will sit above a set of physical climate control dials.
In an interview with our sister publication, Auto Express, MINI’s head of design, Oliver Heilmer stated that customisation will be a big part of future models. He suggested that buyers “might be able to choose between two or three different [taillight] signatures”, hinting that the polarising Union Jack insignia may not be the only option available.
MINI has recently shifted its focus more towards sustainability, so we also expect that to play a key role in customisation, too. The Aceman Concept features a leather-free interior, so it’s likely that will be an option available to buyers when the production Aceman goes on sale. Of course, traditional leather upholstery will almost certainly also be offered.
What does this mean for car buyers?
A frequent complaint with modern MINIs is that they are rather large compared to the original Austin Mini from the 1960s. However, while the new MINI hatchback is set to return to its roots and shrink in size for its next generation, the British-German brand is well aware of the market’s current obsession with SUVs. The Aceman hopes to satisfy buyers in both camps, who want a car with trendy, SUV looks but without the added bulk of the Countryman.
We predict the new MINI Aceman will start from around £40,000 when it goes on sale – slightly more than the equivalent Kia Niro EV. While this sounds like a lot of money, MINIs typically demand a higher price than competitors due to their sporty drive and desirable badge. Regardless, unless the current SUV trend slows down, we expect the Aceman to sell well – going toe-to-toe with fashion-focused rivals like the Smart #1 and Volvo EX30.
Don’t want to wait for the Aceman? Check out our list of the top 10 best small electric cars available now…
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