Mini Aceman Concept Previews the Shape of EVs to Come
This compact crossover concept debuts the new styling language Mini will use for its all-electric future.
Steven EwingFormer managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
The Mini Aceman -- not to be confused with the Mini Paceman -- is more than just a concept. Making its debut Tuesday, the small crossover not only previews a new model for the Mini lineup, but shows the brand's future design direction, as well.
Mini's current lineup is somewhat crowded, with the 4-Door Hardtop,
all kind of overlapping with the same basic form factor. Yet Mini still seems room for expansion here, and the Aceman previews a crossover that will squeeze in between the Hardtop and Countryman. The Aceman is roughly 10 inches shorter in length than the larger Countryman SUV, but the two vehicles are nearly identical in width and height. And with flourishes like a roof rack, chunky valances and 20-inch wheels, the Aceman looks like the butchest Mini yet.
"Charismatic Simplicity" is how Mini brands its new design language, which debuts on the Aceman. The main things to note are the sculpted wheel arches, wide rear hips and vertical taillights. Also be sure to peep the illuminated octagonal outline on the front fascia, which sort of signifies where a grille would be. This last bit is particularly important, since the Aceman is electric, and all future Minis will be, too.
The Aceman has a five-passenger interior layout with a center console that stretches into the back. The seats are pretty wild, and are made up of a mixture of fabrics, with an "over-dimensional houndstooth pattern," according to Mini, and embroidered X and O lettering. There's no chrome brightwork inside the Aceman, and all of the surfaces are made from sustainable textiles. No leather? No problem.
Mini's classic circular central display remains, though it's not housed in a busy cluster. The software inside is Mini's new Android-powered infotainment system, and the company says the center screen has "moving image projections [that] can transfer the control system content to the entire dashboard, creating a unique digital experience extending right into the door panels." Total concept car stuff, of course.
We don't have any details about the platform or electric powertrain that underpins the Aceman, but rest assured, those details are coming soon. Mini is expected to go fully electric by 2030, but exactly when the Aceman -- or the next-generation Hardtop -- will debut is unclear.