MINI Concept Tokyo – in Detail
MINI Concept Tokyo.
Go British at the Beginning of the 21st Century.
Sophisticated Ambience and Innovative Style in All Walks of Life.
Unusual, nimble, clever right from the start, Mini was the ideal companion for the genuine trendsetter. And then, in the early ’60s, a special model emphasising outdoor activities, sportsmanship, the opportunity to travel to the country with your friends, and the quest for travelling afar joined that sophisticated British lifestyle: The Mini Traveller with its extended wheelbase, a slightly raised roofline, and practical doors at the rear was exactly the right companion for all these requirements. A car combining the unique chic of Mini with extra space. And so the Mini Traveller always took you to your destination in genuine style.
Forty-five years after the debut of the Mini Traveller in September 1960, MINI, taking up the motto of this year’s Tokyo Motor Show Driving Tomorrow is launching a design study with numerous innovative ideas: MINI Concept Tokyo interprets the basic philosophy of the ‘travelling’ Englishman in new and very emotional style at the beginning of the 21st century, at the same time creating a powerful link to the original Mini and that unique British heritage.
Indeed, many features are somehow well-acquainted, but everything is new: The unique overall appearance of the car, its front and side view, as well as numerous design details which have long become genuine icons are typical of MINI. Various innovations both inside and outside are also characteristic of the brand, including wide opening doors with intelligent parallelogram kinematics as well as the coupe-like look of the car without a B-pillar.
Yet a further highlight of the Concept Car is its new silver metallic paintwork complete with exquisite materials within the interior. After all, MINI Concept Tokyo bears reference to its fore-father inter alia through the car’s elegant estate design, a symmetrically split double door at the rear, and split side windows for the passengers sitting at the back.
Perhaps the most outstanding highlight of MINI Concept Tokyo is that all the car’s functions are highly practical and serve a defined purpose, just as all design features have been refined to the last detail. Indeed, the name alone has an important meaning, MINI boasting its roots in an urban world, with each issue of the MINI International Magazine being dedicated to an exciting city which is precisely why the Magazine proudly presented Tokyo back in spring 2002.
MINI Concept Tokyo also pays homage to the venue of this great Motor Show and to MINI fans throughout Japan: Worldwide, the Land of the Rising Sun is among the six most important MINI markets, with the Tokyo Motor Show being held for the first time in 1954 now entering its second 50 years.
Go British: Small Luxury for Great Style. New Surfaces and Materials in MINI Concept Tokyo.
Satellite Silver serving as the interchanging silver and grey multi-layer paint-work, white and green leather with constantly changing surfaces and a different feel ranging from rough leather all the way to the seat bottoms and backrests in Chesterfield pattern, innovative glass-fibre tissue and a carbon look on the inner door panels as well as metallic glass-fibre optics in the footwells all this clearly shows what travelling in genuine British style means to MINI at the beginning of the 21st century. Indeed, the very name ‘MINI Concept Tokyo’ stands for an exceptional ambience and the clever use of space.
Like the original Mini Traveller, the MINI Concept Car for the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show is designed to give up to four passengers everything they need for every kind of adventure. This is based on new ideas in using the car’s space and storage areas, ranging from the Cargo Box in the luggage compartment all the way to the freely hovering driver and front passenger seats.
Typical in Design, but Every Inch is New.
MINI Concept Tokyo Exterior. Unmistakable: MINI All the Way.
All you need is just one look: MINI Concept Tokyo, just like the ‘regular’ MINI, is as small as possible and as big as necessary. Precisely this was the particular challenge facing the MINI Design Team, with MINI Concept Tokyo being a completely unique car all the way from its characteristic hexagon grille to the highly emotional rear doors.
At the same time MINI Concept Tokyo proudly boasts features which have made MINI design a genuine icon over the years and decades. This includes straight shoulder and roof lines, with the shoulder line rising up slightly to the rear, creating the exciting wedge shape of a genuine MINI further accentuated by the greater length of the car.The wheels moved all the way to the outside, the driver’s and front passenger’s doors very long relative to the overall length of the car (more than 160 cm or 63”), as well as the characteristic joints and seams around the side direction indicators all bear testimony to the enhanced and even more progressive design language of MINI Concept Tokyo.
The diagonal seam between the side direction indicators and side door is an icon which has grown over the years, dating back to the welding seam on the original Mini. The roof, in turn, appears to be hovering in space thanks to the windows extending all round and the omission of a B-pillar, marking one of the unmistakable styling highlights of the Concept Car together with the door handles so typical of MINI.
Firm, Sporting, Masculine.
Many features appear familiar but in reality everything is different: The overall look of the car is firm and smooth, with features such as the wheel arches, the shoulder line and the powerdome receiving particular treatment.
MINI Concept Tokyo is therefore a clear statement it is a car with class and character, a car both muscular and elegant in appearance, a car with an extra-high roof adding functional benefits to its unique look. All this is further accentuated by the headlights integrated into the body of the car and blending perfectly with the engine compartment lid, as well as the hexagonal grille made in one single piece. Clearly, these features give MINI Concept Tokyo a particularly alert and performance-minded, but at the same time a likeable and charming impression.
Engine Compartment Lid Hinging at the Front.
The sporting look of MINI Concept Tokyo is further enhanced by the engine compartment lid hinged at the front, the wheel arches and radiator grille forming one homogeneous component free of seams or joints together with the engine compartment lid.
Like on a classic sports car, this entire unit swivels to the front and upwards when opened, the headlights remaining in position. Access to the engine compartment with the lid open is therefore perfect, allowing the beholder to admire sophisticated design and high-quality materials also within the engine compartment. The wheel arches and the entire area around the engine ?are painted consistently in Satellite Silver, with the power unit being presented almost the same way as in a display cabinet.
Travelling should not only be an experience in style, but also an enjoyable amenity in life. So to ensure perfect harmony of the car’s look and its drive power, MINI Concept Tokyo comes with the engine of the MINI Cooper S also clearly characterised by the additional air intake on the engine compartment lid and the twin tailpipes. Obviously, this gives the driver everything he needs for that go-kart feeling so typical of MINI with its long wheelbase, wide track, short overhangs, and muscular engine.
Side and Rear Doors Opening with Parallelogram Kinematics.
More space inside the car obviously calls for better access from outside. So an important aspect in designing MINI Concept Tokyo was to make the process of entering and loading the car as easy and convenient as possible. Precisely for this reason, focusing on both the driver’s and front passenger’s doors, as well as the two rear doors, MINI is introducing a new philosophy significantly improving the process of entering and exiting the car as well as loading and unloading in confined space: All four doors come on intelligent suspension units with parallelogram kinematics, the doors swivelling only slightly to the side, but as far front as possible in one single movement. This minimises the space required around the car for opening the doors, while nevertheless giving the user generous access to the interior.
Coupe-Like Design for Optimum Access. Long Side Doors, no B-Pillar, Split Side Windows at the Rear.
Parallelogram kinematics thus turns the sometimes confined opening angle of long coupe doors into an advantage ensured by the very special philosophy of MINI Concept Tokyo, particularly as the side doors on the Concept Car are more than 160 centimetres or 63 inches long. And a further important point is that the side windows, like on all MINIs, are frameless.
This cosmopolitan athlete also takes on various other features of a two-door coupe, again making entering and loading the car as easy as possible. The omission of the B-pillar, for example, creates an optical highlight once again accentuating the dynamic overall look of MINI Concept Tokyo. The two side windows at the rear, in turn, come in split sections merging smoothly into the front side windows. To open the rear side windows, all you do is press a button and the front section will disappear under electric power beneath the rear section. This principle of split side windows at the rear, incidentally, has been carried over from the classic Traveller and is now re-interpreted on MINI Concept Tokyo.
Without a B-pillar and with the windows opening completely both front and rear, MINI Concept Tokyo creates a particularly generous impression you will otherwise only experience in a coupe and convertible. And omission of the B-pillar also improves access to the rear seats.
Larger Wheelbase for More Interior Space. The Cargo Box Your Butler within the Luggage Compartment.
MINI Concept Tokyo offers more space for spontaneous decisions, for example when travelling in style whenever you like. The long wheelbase, for example, helps to increase the space available at the rear. An important factor contributing to driving characteristics typical of MINI is the characteristic position of the wheels with one wheel at each corner of the car.
To maintain this particular philosophy of MINI, MINI Concept Tokyo has the same short body overhangs as all other MINIs. The two wide-opening rear doors hinged at the sides, in turn, make loading the car very easy and convenient. The completely retracting windows on the rear doors again without a frame not only supply additional fresh air, but also ensure easy access to the luggage compartment, without having to even open the doors.
Behind these rear doors, MINI Concept Tokyo offers lots of space for taking up cargo in the luggage compartment and in the Cargo Box integrated into the floor of the car. Indeed, the Cargo Box is a very helpful butler in handling luggage both small and large. To ensure easy loading, the Cargo Box moves out conveniently at an angle from the luggage compartment so that then you just place your shopping bags in the Box and let it move down again slowly into the rear section of the car.
A further useful amenity is the transparent cover on the Cargo Box swivelling up when required, and serving, first, as a partition between the passenger area and the loading compartment and, second, as a wind deflector with the rear door windows open. And last but not least, the entire cover on top of the Cargo Box opens by 180o when required, coming to rest on the rear-seat backrests folded down. Then the cover can be pulled to the rear from this horizontal position, extending out between the rear doors for easy and convenient loading.
Intelligent Cargo Roof for Consistent Use of Space.
MINI Concept Tokyo offers new options even on the roof for example to make sure you are perfectly prepared for, say, a spur-of-the-moment picnic while on the road. So whatever you happen to have in your picnic basket delicious sushi, a tea party, or salt’n vinegar crisps your table and two chairs are already on board, begging you to have a good time even before opening your bottle of champagne: All you do is pull out the rear section of the cargo roof in front of the rear window and remove the round table and two chairs integrated in the roof. To facilitate this process, the rear edge of the cargo roof is designed as a handle for easy operation.
The cargo roof takes up and reflects the particular design of the engine compartment lid with its elevated arches at the side and the centre section rising up to the rear.
Multifunctional Wheel Rims in Brass Look.
Wheels with many features: Introducing multifunctional wheel rims, MINI Concept Tokyo allows the driver to customise the design and look of the car without having to elaborately change the entire wheel.
MINI Concept Tokyo presented at the Tokyo Motor Show comes with wheels in 10-spoke design and particularly sophisticated brass looks, the spokes with their cylindrical contours curved to the outside bearing a clear resemblance to the sports rims of the ‘regular’ MINI Cooper S.
These multifunctional rims are made up of a lightweight carrier section complete with the basic rim and tyre. The carrier wheel features numerous bolting points and mounts allowing the driver to fit easily exchangeable, customised design elements.
The wheels are a major design feature on every car. And in the case of MINI these major components everything revolves around not only form the ‘cornerstones’ of the car in the true sense of the word, but also stand out particularly through their size and calibre.
The Sports Utility Box: Take Along Whatever You Want.
Whether playing cricket, going out for tennis, or enjoying a day at the sea you obviously need the right equipment to enjoy your time with friends and companions. And MINI Concept Tokyo makes all this very easy: Just hang the matching Sports Utility Box on to the rear side window when opened, put in anything you would like to take along, and that’s it!
The Sports Utility Box is a multifunctional, interchangeable storage compartment made of stamped leatherette. In its length and height it is a perfect fit for the rear side window when opened, making this exactly the right place for the Sports Utility Box.
To fit the Box in position, all you do is open the vertically split window (with the front section moving back electrically) and hang the lower section of the Sports Utility Box in the window opening. Flaps on both sides of the Sports Utility Box ensure easy and practical loading and unloading both from outside and from the passenger compartment, also making it easy to pass through all kinds of objects. The flat section of the box extends back outside the car all the way to the C-pillar.
MINI Concept Tokyo allows convenient use of several Sports Utility Boxes at the same time, being fitted and used individually, depending on the user’s requirements.
A Genuine Chameleon in Modern, Aesthetic Style and with the Highlights of British Heritage. Surfaces in MINI Concept Tokyo.
MINI Concept Tokyo is taking a new approach not only in technical and functional terms, but also in the design and finish of the car’s surfaces. So the MINI Design Team has been really imaginative, the exclusive combination of surfaces in white, green and brass look emanating a flair of modern elegance without ever appearing overdone rather, MINI concentrates on its key philosophy also in this respect.
Such reserved style in the car’s aesthetic looks typical of British understatement is enhanced in two important respects first, by the exceptional quality and innovative features of the materials used; second, by the exterior colour constantly changing as a function of the beholder’s angle of vision while at the same time reflecting the area around the car. So as a result, MINI Concept Tokyo is almost like a chameleon, the car being not only a player, but also the highlight and focal point of the action usually surrounding a MINI.
Satellite Silver Exterior Paintwork.
The exterior paintwork of the MINI Concept Car offers a brand-new rendition of aesthetic style, an exciting dualism of non-metallic and metallic paint: Satellite Silver offers a glistening silver look in the light, while all areas not directly illuminated from the beholder’s perspective come out in a distinguished grey colour. MINI achieves this effect by applying the Silver Metallic paintwork in two layers, the colours of both layers varying slightly from point to point.
Contours in Black Neoprene.
Normally surfers and sailors wear Neoprene suits to protect themselves from cold temperatures. MINI Concept Tokyo, in turn, uses Neoprene to give the exterior a new feel. Through its special features and material qualities alone, Neoprene offers exciting effects in several respects: The sophisticated, silken-matt surface contrasts with the glossy Satellite Silver of the car’s body, with similar distinctive contrasts between the hard surfaces of the doors and wheel arches and the soft foam structure of the Neoprene contours: After being touched, the Neoprene elements automatically take on their original shape again, thus offering a unique feeling never experienced before in the automotive world. Indeed, featuring this material clearly committed to active outdoor sports, MINI Concept Tokyo powerfully emphasises its sporting appeal.
British Green and Brass Look: The Tradition and Heritage of MINI Concept Tokyo.
Despite its clear focus on the future of travelling in style, MINI Concept Tokyo particularly through the materials and colours used marks a clear link to the 46-year-old tradition of the brand and its British heritage. Dark British Green, for example, is reminiscent of the British history of motorsport starring the Mini as a multiple winner of the Monte Carlo Rally. Indeed, to this very day the MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S proudly bear the name of one of the most ingenious minds in European motorsport in the ’50s and ’60s of the last century. A special brass look, in turn, conveys the traditional style and quality so typical of, say, a gentleman’s club in London.
Viewed from the front, MINI Concept Tokyo proudly boasts its typical, hexagonal grille in brass look the grille is finished with the hexagonal elements of a classic British sports car. The auxiliary headlights are yet a further reminiscence to the era of MINI’s first sporting activities.
The section around the side direction indicators with their diagonal joint and air intake is also a characteristic design feature typical of MINI, a piece of the Union Jack in brass look adding to the sophisticated style of MINI Concept Tokyo. And to provide the final touch, the spokes on the wheel rims also come in a special brass look for particular style.
The exterior around the cargo roof is accentuated by British Green. The central section of the roof, in turn, comprises an insert in British Green in front of the mount for the picnic set, thus contrasting with the overall finish of the roof in White.
Aluminium for a Touch of Lightness and Sophisticated Style.
Glossy and matt aluminium accentuate the exterior look of MINI Concept Tokyo, adding a very special additional message particularly where the car proudly bears design features carried over from the classic Traveller. The rear view of the C-pillars in striking aluminium look, for example, emphasises this powerful heritage. And the radiator grille, the front light surrounds as well as the exhaust tailpipes are also made of aluminium, emanating a blend of high performance and luxury.
?MINI Concept Tokyo Interior.
MINI All the Day and for Every Purpose. Floating Elements for Particular Interior Design.
Querying the conventional and finding unconventional answers proceeding from a high level of concept progress and emotional power, MINI Concept Tokyo fulfils this mission in perfection. This also applies to the interior design of the MINI Concept Study, a completely new feeling of space blending perfectly with clever solutions and new ideas for complete enjoyment together with MINI every day.
The concept of colours and materials continues the exterior message within the interior, focusing consistently on function, the practical use of space, and genuine value. This creates MINI, that small but fresh dose of luxury for the whole day offering that special something every day, hour, and minute.
Precisely this is why MINI Concept Tokyo reflects many features of the ‘regular’ MINI’s interior design ranging from the evolutionary development of the large central instrument via the paddle switches typical of MINI all the way to the much larger, characteristic door panels on the driver’s and front passenger’s doors in their elliptic shape. And in the process the Concept Car still focuses on details, adding new touches here and there such as the mobile phone integrated into the steering wheel as a third spoke.
Driver’s and Front Passenger’s Seats ‘Hovering’ in Space. Free-Standing Suspension and Integrated Belt System.
Opening the driver’s and front passenger’s door, you will immediately enjoy the elegant and open impression conveyed by MINI Concept Tokyo: The driver’s and front passenger’s seats would appear to ‘hover’ in space, being fitted at the inside directly on the front centre console by special load-bearing arms. This not only gives the rear passengers additional freedom for their feet, but also adds a particular touch of generosity to the floor area as a whole.
This impression is further enhanced by the slender structure of the seats reduced in principle to two bucket elements reminiscent of an open seashell. To give the rear-seat passengers convenient access to the seats at the back, the front seats come with a unique Easy Entry System, moving forward electrically and at the same time swinging to the outside. This turns away the driver’s/front passenger’s backrests (instead of folding them forward) and ensures convenient access to the second row. Then the seats move back automatically to their original position.
As a further feature, the drivers and front passengers seats come with a seat-integrated bolt system keeping the seat belts within perfect reach at all times and avoiding any obstruction when moving to the rear.
Room for Sitting and Loading in the Second Row.
The long wheelbase of the car offers adequate space for two in the second row of seats. The front-seat backrests fold down individually, forming a flat surface together with the floor of the luggage compartment. This facilitates loading conditions from all sides, whether through the rear doors or the driver”s/front passenger”s doors, enabling the driver and passengers to place bags and other objects conveniently where they belong.
The extra-large and flat loading area is also perfect for larger objects and bulky cargo, and the centre armrest positioned horizontally between the two seats is integrated in the flat surface, offering an additional storage compartment.
Opening up wide, the two rear doors allow convenient access to almost the entire cross-section of the interior, keeping the loading sill particularly low. As a result, the passengers benefit from loading capacity quite acceptable for a car of this size, even with both rear-seat backrests in upright position.
Cupholders: Everything Where it is Needed and at the Right Temperature.
Two things would obviously be inappropriate in MINI Concept Tokyo: luke-warm tea and luke-warm Coke. So showing its usual consistency, MINI Concept Tokyo offers special “on-board” service also to meet this challenge: The chrome rings around the air vents at the side fold down to form cupholders at exactly the right place inside the car. First, this keeps your drinks within easy reach at all times. Second, your Coke remains cool on hot days, with fresh air from the air conditioning flowing directly past the cupholders. And on cold winter days, warm air not only de-mists the side windows, but also keeps your tea at the right temperature.
The Interior ” Only the Best. Leather, Chrome, and Brass Look Dominating the Interior Finish.
Inside the car, white leather underlines the modern style of MINI Concept Tokyo and the generous space available, at the same time conveying a genuine touch of sophisticated class. Indeed, the colour white accentuates the clear lines of MINI Concept Tokyo all the way from front to rear of the interior.
High-quality leather is featured in various types of surface finish, the headrests as well as the interior panels on the side and rear doors coming in grained cowhide. This distinctly structured leather exudes a feeling of lasting, sporting quality and forms a clear contrast with the white leather on the seat backrests and the steering wheel.
The inserts in the seat bottoms and seat backrests on all four seats, in turn, convey a touch of discreet “Britishness” combined with an equally convincing feeling of “vintage” origin: The leather used at these points is finished in the same way as the leather on the armchairs in the typical British club, featuring diamond-shaped sections sewn in Chesterfield style and thickly upholstered, with an additional touch added by stylish buttons. And last but not least, the interior colour is also “very British”, varying from British Green to Bronze, depending on your angle of vision.
A feature of particular interest in optical terms and in its surface feel is the “hovering” dashboard ” and another highlight is the use of particularly “velvety” leather on the armrests in the side doors offering a particularly fine and gentle touch. Through its white colour alone, this sophisticated leather accentuates the luxurious and imaginative flair emanated by the green armrests, providing a wonderful contrast of colours. And again last but certainly not least, the roof lining comes in extra soft Alcantara feeling almost like silk.
The soft, natural surfaces in pure white are supplemented by cool-looking metallic surfaces and further highlights in British Green. Just one example is the aluminium-coated glass-fibre structure covering the elliptical lining inside the doors, another example being the carbon-fibre look of the footwells. The inserts in the interior floor, in turn, are made of light-green woven nylon, an innovative material so far only used in the production of furniture.
Numerous other features within the interior are made of solid aluminium. The circular instruments and air vents, in turn, come with glossy chrome rings. And as the final highlight, the load-bearing arms on the seats are finished in a matt-brushed surface.
Rotating Centre Speedo with Digital Display.
The large central instrument on the MINI”s dashboard is acknowledged as an absolute cult item by aficionados of design icons thrilled by these nimble athletes from Great Britain. Precisely this is why the rotating Centre Speedo in MINI Concept Tokyo is particularly self-confident as a genuine “point of action” boasting displays both front and rear.
The digital side presents the MINI Cruise Mate complete with an info display for the navigation system and a tuner quite conceivable in future as the central instrument for controlling numerous functions within the car. Turned vertically by 180″, the Centre Speedo then presents an engraved world sphere on the back. And it presents both the road speed of the car as well as your current compass course in both positions.
Driving Tomorrow: Using the Key as a Multifunctional Man/MINI Interface.
The centre console “island” between the front seats forms what you might call the “backbone” of MINI Concept Tokyo: This central unit holds the driver”s and front passenger”s seats and boasts attractive elements in white china look, creating an unusual highlight also in visual terms.
This is also where all the “nerves” of the car come together, MINI Concept Tokyo possibly using a start/stop key unit with an integrated clock serving as a multifunctional interface between the user and the car. All you would then have to do is place the key on a control unit at the front of the centre console serving as a push button.
The MINI Design Team could well image using this little “genius” for all kinds of functions ranging from engine start/stop via individual adjustment functions in the car itself (seats, air conditioning, audio system) all the way to controlling the MP3 player.
Mini Traveller 1960.
Expression of a New, Mobile and Active Lifestyle.
The four-seater Mini Estate with its extra-large luggage compartment debuted in September 1960 as the Austin Seven Countryman and Morris Mini Traveller. With the Mini being referred to as a “Traveller”, this model was obviously aimed at a target group characterised at the time by a new, active lifestyle. Apart from the typical elements of Mini design and the two rear doors, another highlight of these special versions of the Mini we all remember to this day is the wooden panels clearly distinguishing the car to the rear of the B-pillar.
Starting in 1961, the Morris Mini Traveller was also available without this wooden finish outside of the British market, with the home market following this example in 1962. In 1969, the Mini Clubman Estate replaced the Traveller and Countryman, the various versions of the Mini Estate amounting to total sales between 1960 and 1982 of more than 400,000 units.
In technical terms the Mini Estate was based on the two-seater Mini Van introduced in January 1960. compared with the Mini Saloon (the original Mini), exterior length was up from 3,050 to 3,300″millimetres (120.0 to 129.9”) ?with wheelbase increasing by 110 millimetres to 2,140″millimetres (4.33 to 84.25”) and the roofline being raised by 10″millimetres or 0.39”.
Featuring a reinforced suspension and able to carry a heavier load, the Mini Estate met all the requirements made of an elegant transporter, go-kart-like driving characteristics making this by far the most agile and nimble small van of its kind. Proceeding from the same technical basis, a Mini Pick-Up was also available from 1961.
From MINI Press
Written By: MF Staff
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