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Sitting room with a steering wheel: BMW unveils new electric Mini concept

Mini Vision Urbanaut (BMW Group)
Mini Vision Urbanaut (BMW Group)

BMW Group unveiled Tuesday a new electric vehicle concept for its Mini brand, dubbed Mini Vision Urbanaut, tha seeks to bring a living-room like feel to the interior.

During its #NEXTGen 2020 digital showcase held online, the German-based automaker revealed the new “digital vision vehicle” that uses a purely electric drive system.

“In the MINI Vision Urbanaut, we extend private space far into the public realm, creating completely new and enriching experiences,“ Adrian van Hooydonk, the head of BMW Group Design said.

The automaker said the designers created the spacious interior experience before developing the exterior, using floor plans, pieces of furniture and wooden scale models to provide an indication of size.

Mini Vision Urbanaut (BMW Group)
Mini Vision Urbanaut (BMW Group)

The four-seat layout has been made to be extremely flexible, with the two front seats designed to rotate, while the rear backrests can be folded or turned around, the dashboard lowered and the windshield opened upward.

A cutting-edge “slide and swivel” mechanism has been applied to the car’s only door.

The flexibility of space offers three new driving and riding experiences, according to the automaker -- “Chill,” “Wanderlust” and “Vibe” that encompasses all possible usage scenarios.

The Chill mode creates a relaxing environment for the passengers, while Wanderlust mode is a moment when the vehicle uses automated driving functions. while Vibe focuses on social experiences while driving.

For the exterior design, the Mini Vision Urbanaut embraces an entirely different face, with new headlights that are only visible when turned on, and an enclosed, octagonal grille, the company said.

“Since the MINI Vision Urbanaut does not have a combustion engine requiring cooling air, the grille assumes a new function: it now serves as an intelligence panel for automated driving,” Mini said.

The new Mini Vision Urbanaut provides an interior space that can allows a whole new ease of movement inside, transforming into “a living room,” with taller than usual frame, but with 4.46 meters in length, the automaker said.

BMW Group said its new vehicle promotes maximum space within a small footprint and the all-electric drive system, committed a responsible approach to materials.

By Jo He-rim (