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Home Spotlight Mini Vision Urbanaut designed to meet many moods

Mini Vision Urbanaut designed to meet many moods

Digital concept vehicle displays a ‘vision of space’ on a Mini-sized platform

The BMW Group has unveiled the latest of its #NEXTGen vehicles, the Mini Vision Urbanaut, “an all-new interpretation of a vision of space,” according to its news release about the vehicle. 

“This digital vision vehicle offers more interior space and versatility than ever before, but still on a minimal footprint,” the company added.

“The Mini brand has always stood for ‘Clever Use of Space,’” explained Adrian van Hooydonk, head of BMW Group Design. “In the Mini Vision Urbanaut, we extend private space far into the public realm, creating completely new and enriching experiences.”

Mini sees its future self primarily as an enabler of and companion for unforgettable times – what we might call ‘Mini moments,’” he added. “The Mini Vision Urbanaut uses three curated Mini moments – ‘Chill,’ ‘Wanderlust,’ and ‘Vibe’ — to present a wide range of possible usage scenarios.”

According to BMW, the Chill moment invites you to catch a breath and pause in the here and now. The car becomes a kind of retreat, a haven, where you can relax – or work with full concentration – during a journey. 

Wanderlust occurs when the electric-powered vehicle is being driven or is driving with automated driving functions. 

Vibe occurs when the vehicle is occupied by a group of people. 

Oliver Heilmer, head of Mini Design, notes that the Mini Vision Urbanaut’s exterior and interior change to reflect the Mini moment taking place.

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For example, “Having arrived at the chosen destination, (the interior) can transform into a living room in just a few simple steps,” BMW explains. “Occupants enter the innovative cabin through a large sliding door in the side of the car. The cutting-edge slide and swivel mechanism is the ideal design for urban driving conditions where space is at a premium. There are no other doors on the driver’s side or front passenger side.”

“An extremely flexible four-seat layout provides the basis for the bright interior. The two front seats are designed to rotate, while the backrests for the generously sized seat surface in the rear can be folded manually (left rear seat) and turned around (right rear seat). When the car is stationary, the dashboard lowers and the driver’s area becomes a comfortable seating corner – the “daybed.” 

“Added to which, the windscreen can be opened upwards when stationary to create a kind of Street Balcony. This enhances interaction with the car’s surroundings and creates an even more generous spatial experience.”

Meanwhile, “The darker environs of the cabin’s rear section provide a quieter space – the Cozy Corner. This area invites passengers to enjoy some time to themselves.”

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Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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