HomeCar CultureMini takes Urbanaut concept from digital to physical

Mini takes Urbanaut concept from digital to physical

Vehicle needs to be experienced in person, company explains, not just seen on screen


Last fall, Mini shared a digital concept vehicle called the Vision Urbanaut. But in the past few days, the automaker has shown a physical model of the vehicle so audiences can “engage more extensively with the spatial concept and sustainable materials” showcased in the concept. 

The model had its world premiere July 1 at the DLD Summer conference in Munich.

Mini called the concept “an all-new interpretation of mobility through an innovative vision of space.”

Mini, Mini takes Urbanaut concept from digital to physical, ClassicCars.com Journal

“At Mini we see it as our responsibility to preserve and develop the unique characteristics of our brand over the upcoming years and those further ahead,” Bernd Körber, head of the brand, is quoted.“With our eyes fixed on the future, we have developed an idea, with the Mini Vision Urbanaut, of how we can take the Mini attributes – as here, with the focus on the ‘Clever Use of Space’ – into the future of mobility and interpret them in a typically Mini way. 

“It brings the user’s personal space into the car and opens up various possibilities for them, from creating an urban oasis to experiencing freedom in the ‘Wanderlust’ moment. The Mini Vision Urbanaut represents our image of how Mini’s ‘Clever Use of Space’ could provide an answer to the needs of future cities and lifestyles.”

Added Oliver Heilmer, head of Mini Design, “We believe that the best way to understand the overall concept behind the Mini Vision Urbanaut is to experience it. The feeling of space and the innovative materials are just asking to be explored. That is why it was very important for us from the outset to also make a physical model.”

In its news release, Mini said the car was created in part as “an enabler of and companion for unforgettable times, what we’re calling ‘Mini moments’.”

Mini, Mini takes Urbanaut concept from digital to physical, ClassicCars.com Journal

Such moments — characterized as Chill, Wanderlust and Vibe — may occur while traveling, or while not in motion. 

“Fragrance, sound and ambient lighting continue to enrich the baseline mood initiated by the chosen Mini moment,” the company explained. “The transformation of the vehicle through the different moments can now also be experienced in stunning reality.”

Sustainability also is a feature of the concept, in part by offering maximum space on a small footprint and reducing components and unnecessary use of materials. Many of the materials used are renewable or recycled.

Dual-functionality is another aspect of conserving materials. For example, the dashboard can serve as a daybed.

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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