MINI Rocketman touted for 2016

Small city-car version of MINI hatchback could be on its way

The MINI Rocketman concept car shown at the Geneva Motor Show in 2011 could go into full production as soon as 2016, as MINI looks to compete in the city-car market.

The images above show what the car, rendered in yellow, could look like when it eventually hits the road. MINI’s head of design Anders Warming has hinted that certain aspects of the original concept car (the grey car in the gallery) would be dropped for a production model. For example, the carbon-fibre construction, which included carbon-fibre double-hinged doors, would likely change to aluminium.

If it stays the same size as the concept, a production Rocketman would still be 500mm wider and 400mm longer than the original classic version, but it would be significantly more compact than the current MINI hatchback. A smaller version of the current MINI would go some way to appeasing fans of the original, who consider the modern versions to be too big.

Warming admitted that MINI doesn’t currently have ‘the right tech solutions’ to put a smaller MINI into production, and the company is likely to seek a technical partner, possibly Toyota, to help cut some of the costs of developing a new city car.

A production Rocketman would undoubtedly slot in at the premium end of the city-car market but is likely to feature a pared-back interior compared to larger MINIs. When discussing the car's interior, Warming said: “To have a great cabin, all you need is a great steering wheel, a seat and a great user interface. Driving in the city is stressful enough, so we need a reduction in the number of elements… true luxury is now simplicity.”

A production Rocketman won’t be in MINI showrooms until 2016 at the earliest and is likely to cost around £12,000 when it arrives. Carbuyer will bring you more details as they emerge, but for now Warming has said that MINI “won’t reveal anything more [to the world] until a [viable design] is ready.”

For more information on all models in the current MINI line-up, including the new MINI 5-door, head over to Carbuyer’s MINI reviews page.

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