Mini plans a bigger Cooper for 2008
Unveiled at the 2006 North American International Auto Show, the Mini Concept Detroit is based on the Mini Traveller Concept that made its worldwide debut at the Tokyo and Frankfurt auto shows last fall. This new version of the Mini Concept is equipped with a “Go Sports!” theme, and was designed specifically for its North American premiere at the Detroit Auto Show. Mini’s parent company, BMW AG, announced that a new production model based on the Concept Detroit will come to market in the U.S. within three years. When it arrives, Mini’s 21st-century redesign of the Traveller will boast sporting engine performance and design flair.
While the Mini Concept Detroit’s exterior is sleek and smooth like the existing MINI Cooper, special emphasis has been placed on its muscular wheel arches, pronounced shoulder line and power dome hood. For show car duty, the Mini Concept Detroit is detailed in Satellite Silver Metallic paint and neoprene contours engineered with special highlights in red and blue.
The Mini Concept Detroit drops its B-pillar to make it look more like a coupe than the small wagon it is. Although it’s entirely new, the Mini Concept Detroit reinterprets the basic idea of the 1960 Mini Traveller, a roomier version of the venerable Cooper.
Crafted with a “winter sports” theme – appropriate for a debut in Michigan – the Mini Concept Detroit experiments with storage space for leisure-oriented activities. Features include an innovative roof carrier that, in this case, accommodates skis.
Looking at this view of the Mini Concept Detroit, you’ll notice that its left rear window slides open electronically, along with the rear section of the roof. The Concept Detroit’s extended wheelbase allows for additional passenger and cargo space.
The Mini Concept Detroit has hovering seats for the driver and front passenger. The free-hovering, revolving dashboard includes a center-mounted speedometer just like the current Mini Cooper.
The Mini Concept Detroit honors the inventor of the original Mini, Alexander Issigonis (knighted “Sir Alec” by the Queen of England in 1969), by celebrating the 100th birthday of the one of the most successful automotive designers and engineers in Great Britain.
A unique Sport Utility Box adds additional storage to the Mini Concept Detroit’s interior, slotting into position behind the open rear side windows. Flaps on either side provide flexibility to load and unload from inside the cockpit or from the outside of the car.
With room for four passengers and their sports gear, the Mini Concept Detroit is designed for those with a busy, urban lifestyle. The interior sports soft white leather with blue nylon inserts, and an aluminum-coated glass fiber structure highlights the door panels and cockpit.
Multi-functional wheel rims make it possible to personalize the Mini Concept Detroit’s appearance, without having to change the entire wheel. Thanks to its lightweight carrier wheel design, with many bolting points and connection flanges to add personalized styling elements, the Mini Concept Detroit can reflect any city’s character.
Photos courtesy of Mini USA