Chris Mooney24 February 2011

Geneva 2011: New Mini concept is actually mini

Behold the Rocketman: bringing small proportions back to the original tiny motor

Geneva 2011: New Mini concept is actually mini

The BMW Mini. Modern, popular, great to drive. But it's not very small, is it?

The Rocketman, debuting at next week's Geneva motor show, should address that most familiar complaint from fans of the original.

The first BMW Minis were 12ft 2in long, more than two feet longer than the dinky originals. And this year's Countryman came in at 13ft 5in. This concept is just 11ft 3in long and 4ft 7in high. That's small.

Complex hinge technology means the 3+1 set-up will also - in theory - still seat three people and in the familiar euphemism for a human the size of a baby chimpanzee, 'a fourth adult for short journeys'.  

See more pics of the Mini Rocketman

The sliding seat system gives you the option to slide the driver and passenger seat back for a 'full-blooded driving experience', slide the passenger seat forward to reveal an individual rear seat, or slide the entire front section forward to accommodate the aforementioned 'short journey adult'.

The two-part boot has a lower sliding section that allows luggage to be stored in a drawer, which can be locked in various positions to increase interior space.

There are other cool touches: the hooped brake lights don't illuminate, but project the brake and indicators onto the bodywork using high-output LEDs. The electronics are accessed from a trackball on the steering wheel, and in keeping with the Italian Job nostalgia, there's also a Union Jack etched into the panoramic glass roof.

No news of engine plans, only that the Rocketman will be designed to offer 'enhanced sprinting ability' with average fuel consumption of 94mpg. Which is all very easy to say at this stage, of course.

"We will assess reaction to the Rocketman before deciding on whether there is a case for it to be a production car," said marketing director Ian Robertson. "Mini has a great past, but the best is yet to come." 

We're rather taken with this one, TopGear.commers. Thoughts?

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