Electric MINI Aceman crossover arriving in 2024
The new MINI Aceman electric crossover will share underpinnings with the next-generation MINI Cooper hatchback
After a quiet few years, MINI is gearing up to launch not one but three new models before the end of 2024 – including the Aceman electric crossover. Designed to sit between the new MINI Cooper hatchback and larger Countryman SUV, the Aceman will lift its battery and motor technology from elsewhere in the MINI lineup, meaning a range of up to 250 miles.
Previewed in 2022 by the Concept Aceman, we’ve since caught the car testing under heavy disguise. Even with the camouflage wrap, the new images confirm that much of the concept car’s design is being carried over to the production Aceman. That includes the chunky, squared-off proportions, giving the Aceman a more SUV-like appearance than the outgoing MINI Hatch. We can also see the car will feature hexagonal headlights, slim door mirrors, a small rear spoiler, and flush door handles, just like the concept.
The MINI Aceman will measure around four metres from end to end, meaning it’ll be smaller than the outgoing Countryman. It’ll also use the brand-new platform and battery technology from the next-generation MINI Cooper. This should mean a choice of 40kWh and 54kWh batteries, for a range of between 200 and 250 miles.
The base car, likely badged Aceman E, should get around 180bhp, while the Aceman SE is expected to bump that closer to 215bhp. MINI boss Stephanie Wurst has confirmed to DrivingElectric that hot versions of every MINI model are in the plan, meaning a fiery JCW is very much on the cards.
While speaking with Wurst, we were given a chance to have a quick poke around the new model. Space in the front and rear seats is generous, though the boot is on the small side, with a large lip to lift luggage over. We don’t have official boot space figures at this point.
The production version of the Aceman is unlikely to be revealed until mid-2024, before sales start early the following year. Rivals are expected to include the Smart #1 and Jeep Avenger, as well as the forthcoming glut of Volkswagen Group small cars, including the VW ID.2.
MINI Concept Aceman
If the Aceman name sounds vaguely familiar, that’s because MINI briefly sold a small three-door SUV called the Paceman. However, MINI’s head of design, Oliver Heilmer, told DrivingElectric that the Aceman moniker isn’t a nod to the past, but rather a clean break, as the new car will be the “ace in the pack”. He added that the Concept Aceman is more than 80% complete – a statement that rings true having seen various prototypes undergoing real-world evaluation.
Although similar in length to the soon-to-be-discontinued five-door MINI Hatchback, the Concept Aceman is wider and taller. MINI fans will also notice that the headlights are hexagonal, not round – a signature element of the brand’s iconic hatchback – while the grille outline is illuminated in turquoise.
Like all modern MINIs, there are a few union-flag motifs dotted around the Concept Aceman, from the LED light panels in the grille and tail-lights, to the black cladding and even the roof rack. Meanwhile, the 20-inch alloy wheels have been pushed right to corners of the car, creating extremely short overhangs at the front and rear, again to maximise cabin space.
Those vertical red elements on the front and rear bumpers aren’t lights, but in fact speakers. These provide an audio welcome for the driver as they approach the car, as well as highlighting the new sound design being created for the next-generation of MINI EVs. “We’re making every sound new. The driving sound, indicator, whatever – everything is composed specifically for the new MINI family,” Heilmer told us. “Even from its sound, it’ll be recognisable as one of the new MINIs.”
While the exterior of the Concept Aceman is certainly colourful, that’s nothing compared to the cabin, which features a wild array of different shades, patterns and textures. You won’t find any leather or chrome here, with MINI using materials like recycled polyester, iridescent-finish metals and even green velvet velour for the steering wheel to create an eye-catching look.
We expect most of these features to be left behind with the concept. However, a version of the ultra-thin, circular OLED display could make production, along with the small row of toggle switches for the gear selector, drive modes and volume. We know the concept uses near-production-spec hardware, though the projector system that casts images and maps onto the dashboard is much less likely to be carried over to the model you can buy.
As you’d expect from a MINI, the use of space inside the Concept Aceman is quite clever, so the relatively small car does feel quite big inside. MINI says there’s enough space to seat five, and we expect this will be the case for the production Aceman as well.
Rather than showing off the Concept Aceman at a motor show as you’d expect, MINI played off the car’s bold, colourful design and debuted it at Gamescom 2022: a gaming convention held in Cologne, Germany.
Future electric MINI models
MINI has confirmed that it'll transition to an electric-only brand by 2030, with plans to launch several EVs over the next few years. The most important is the next-generation MINI Cooper hatchback, which will make its official debut at the Munich Motor Show in September 2023, before its convertible counterpart hits the road by 2025.
The next-generation MINI Cooper hatchback will also be available as a five-door, though only fitted with a petrol engine. Heilmer told us the Aceman will fill this void: “The electric hatch is three-door; if you want to have an electric five-door, it’s this.”
The successor to the current MINI Countryman family SUV will also launch at the Munich show later this year, based on the same underpinnings as the latest BMW X1. Like the BMW, the new Countryman will be offered with both combustion and electric power, with the zero-emissions version expected to use the iX1’s 309bhp dual-motor and 64.7kWh battery for a range of just under 300 miles. It’ll also grow in size over the outgoing model, with the new Countryman predicted to measure around 4.5 metres long – roughly the same as a Kia Sportage.
Finally, as mentioned above, MINI has confirmed that it’s developing electrified John Cooper Works (JCW) versions of all its models, including the Aceman SUV. Former head of MINI Bernd Koerber previously hinted at this, and the brand released photos of a camouflaged fully electric MINI JCW testing at the Nurburgring circuit in Germany.
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