Mini Aceman is brand's first electric-only car

3 months, 2 weeks ago - 7 January 2024, autocar
Mini Aceman is brand's first electric-only car
Chinese-built aero-optimised electric crossover sits between next-generation Cooper and Countryman

Mini will soon reveal its first dedicated electric car, the Aceman, upon which it has pinned the success of its revamped, next-generation line-up.

Predicted to be the brand's best-seller, the “does everything” crossover is the BMW-owned brand’s first new model name in 10 years.

Spotted testing on roads in Germany with camouflage regressed enough to reveal its new design and large, bulbous headlights, it will arrive in 2025 to fill the gap between the flagship Mini Cooper and Mini Countryman SUV.

It is clear that aerodynamic efficiency will play a key role in defining Mini’s design language as it moves towards EVs, with the Aceman clearly adopting a rounded, clean front end and less upright stance than the concept - although the silhouette has been broadly carried over.

The five-door crossover is otherwise said to be barely differentiated from the concept shown in 2022, though the futuristic LED roof, wing mirrors and parts of the interior will be adapted for production.

Company CEO Stefanie Wurst said it is the car that “ticks all the boxes" and is being prepared as an indirect replacement for the estate-shaped Mini Clubman. It is the brand's first new nameplate since the Mini Paceman in 2012.

“The Cooper is the car that comes in lots of shapes [and guises]. The Aceman is like the standard: it only comes in five doors, only electric, only crossover. It ticks all the boxes,” said Wurst, who added that it is an “important” car for the brand, especially for the UK.

Positioned to rival the Jeep Avenger, it will be built in China and use a stretched version of the electric Cooper’s Spotlight architecture.

It will also employ the Cooper's battery and power offerings (181bhp S, 215bhp SE), but given the car is bigger and heavier than its supermini sibling, the range of the entry-level 40kWh E is expected to be down on the Cooper’s 240 miles. Only two-wheel drive will be offered. 

A hot JCW version, using the same 54kWh battery as the SE, will arrive in 2026 - around a year after the standard car, with a focus on power over range.

As with the Cooper, Mini has developed a soundtrack to accompany acceleration, but Wurst said it won't be like the operatic tune BMW offers in models such as the BMW iX.

Elsewhere inside, the Aceman gets a near-identical interior to the Cooper, albeit with even ‘funkier’ styling on the cards. A knitted dashboard has been mooted. 

Its interior will largely shun chrome and leather and adopt a clean, one-screen central display for control of most key functions. 

In parting with tradition, its interior is dominated by a large central screen and a set of five toggle switches. Aside from these, buttons are almost entirely absent from the sustainable textile or leatherette-clad dashboard fascia.

The car is predicted to have the broadest target market of any Mini because, Wurst said, “you can buy it for your first car, or have it as your only car”. Wurst expects it to sell well in Asia. “I think this car has the biggest potential. It is the one with the hottest ‘newness’ aspect.”

It measures 1590mm tall, 4050mm long and 1990mm wide, and spy photos show how it has evolved from the radical concept, and how Mini’s design language will change as it moves onto its revamped line-up.

The original Aceman concept and minimalistic Strip concept showcased just how far the brand will go in its pursuit of enhanced sustainability for its cars.

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