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Mini Vision 100 reconciles a highly personalized, yet shareable car

With its Vision 100 concept car, Mini foresees shared mobility in its future, yet retains individuality through digital personalization.

Mini Vision 100
Wayne Cunningham/Roadshow

A smartphone doesn't feel like it's really yours until it holds all of your personal information. Mini envisions a similar idea for its future cars, each one a tabula rasa until it recognizes you, emblazoning its body panels and interior with your personal, digital profile.

Mini demonstrated this idea with its Vision 100 concept car, a design exercise into the next 100 years of Mini, part of brand-owner BMW's centennial anniversary. The Mini Vision 100 follows the BMW Vision 100, and was introduced alongside the Rolls-Royce Vision 100. Each concept car demonstrates its brand's take on the future.

The Mini Vision 100 shows unmistakeable Mini design cues, such as the separate roof and wheels pushed out to the corners of the car. However, the sides reveal an unadorned plainness, and the transparent front end extends down from the windscreen to the lower edge.

A brass bar extends across the front of the cabin, where a dashboard would traditionally go, and a circular pod, looking like something from Captain Nemo's Nautilus, echoes Mini's traditional circular speedometer in the center dashboard.

With this future mobility concept, urban dwellers don't own a car, but subscribe to a mobility service. Summon a Mini Vision 100, and it uses its sensors to recognize your body and face as you approach the car. It then loads your digital profile, displaying graphics on its formerly blank sides and roof, while configuring its instruments and controls to your preference.

Anders Warming, Mini's Head of Design, said the car has six display surfaces, including the roof, door skins and the Cooperizer, the large, circular pod in the cabin. Warming pointed out that the shareable aspect of the car could promote community, helping people get to know each other, similar to AirBnB or other sharing services today.

The Mini Vision 100 would likely be electric, although the company did not specify a drivetrain. It would certainly have autonomous capability. The design calls for a steering wheel and pedals that could be moved to either side, for right-hand or left-hand drive, or stowed away in the center for when you want to let the car do the driving.

As a concept car, it embodies many of the themes, including shared mobility and autonomy, being discussed today, while maintaining a uniquely Mini look.