The Definition of MINI’s Design Icons
Over the years we’ve brought you many articles on MINI design. From dissecting current and upcoming models to talking about MINI design historically, the design section of MF has a good deal of content for the design conscious. And now we can add to that a definition of MINI icons from MINI themselves. The following icons are the very basic structure of MINI’s design DNA that has been carried from the original and will be front and center in the 3rd generation new MINI (the F56).
Official Release: Over the years, the styling of MINI cars has produced a host of design icons which have become synonymous with the brand as a whole and, in some cases, signature features of individual models. Collectively, these iconic elements have helped shape the identity of the brand and its cars.
Dominated by the elliptical headlights set into its bonnet, the face of the MINI is extremely distinctive. The contemporary interpretation of the classic hexagonal radiator grille plays its part in defining the car’s eye-catching appearance. Other distinguishing features of the car’s face include a pair of “beauty spots” in the form of circular foglamps.
A shoulderline rising from front to rear and windows tapering towards the rear produce the hallmark MINI dynamic wedge shape.
Roof resting on top.
The design of the greenhouse – the glazed section of the passenger compartment – creates the impression of a band of glass wrapped around the car. The high-gloss black A, B and C-pillars are integrated into the glass surfaces. The contrast between the colour of the greenhouse and roof creates the impression of a “floating” roof resting on top of the greenhouse.
This design cue can trace its roots back to the very beginning; it follows the line of the welding seam sloping down the front side panel of the classic Mini.
Chromed door handles.
The chromed door handles of the classic Mini have since been revisited repeatedly, ensuring iconic status. Like a handshake, opening the door of a MINI represents the initial physical introduction between the car and its driver.
Vertically stacked rear lights.
The unmistakable, vertically stacked rear lights represent another nostalgic nod to the classic Mini. They are bordered by an elegant chrome surround sealed against the body without any direct connection to joins and seams.
Stance on the wheels.
The go-kart handling for which MINI is famed is the product of having its wheels mounted at each corner of the car – similarly to a go-kart. The mass-increasing “cascading” effect of the body as it heads down towards the wheels gives the car its essential roadholding.
The interior of the car also references the classic Mini to create its air of authenticity. The clear structure of the controls is a typically MINI feature. Elliptical forms transplanting the style of the circular exterior elements inside the car add further distinctive touches.
Controls like the distinctive toggle switches add an extra flourish to the centre stack and even the roof liner.
An array of chrome highlights and beautifully worked details are integrated like gems into the design of the car.
Written By: Gabe
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MINI Model Cheat Sheet
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
R53: MCS Hatch
2nd Gen MINI
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F55: Five Door Hatch
F60: MINI Crossover
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