It’s been almost 15 years since MINI introduced an all new model making the Aceman a big deal for the brand. But Can this small crossover live up to the huge expectations? And when (if ever) will we see it in North America? Read on for answers.

The electric MINI Aceman might be the brand’s most successful car for this generation of MINIs. That’s what the company’s executives have been saying quietly to the press over the last year. They believe it will be the sweet spot in the range for many people due to its size, price performance and design. But can the Aceman really live up to the hype? And when (if ever) will it come to the US?

The MINI Aceman Is the Most MINI-Like Crossover Yet

The MINI Aceman might just be the best modern embodiment of Mini creator Alec Issigonis’ philosophy that started it all; maximum utilization of space with a minimum footprint. It may not be the smallest MINI in the line-up (that title naturally goes to the Cooper) but it’s not far off all while providing more interior volume than the original R60 MINI Countryman.

Aceman is 192mm (7.6?) longer, 130mm (5.1?) taller but only 23mm (1?) wider than the than the new J01 Cooper.

The Aceman crossover (or CUV as the industry call it) effectively replaced the Clubman in the MINI line-up. But it’s really not a replacement t all as it’s both smaller and designed as a crossover rather than a wagon. Instead think of it as a product that fills the void left when the Countryman grew in size from the original R60 model to the recent F60 model in 2015.

ModelsJ05 AcemanF55 Cooper 5 Door
(’14-’24)
R60 Countryman (’10-’16) F60 Countryman (’17-’23)U25 Countryman (’24-’32)
Length4079 mm / 161 in3982 mm / 156.8 in4097 mm / 161.3 in4298 mm / 169.2 in4429 mm / 174.37 in
Height1514 mm / 59.6 in142.5 mm / 56.1 in 1562 mm / 61.5 in1557 mm / 61.3 in1613 mm / 63.5 in
Wheelbase2526 mm / 99.44 in2567 mm / 101 in2596 mm / 102.2 in2670 mm / 105.1 in2670 mm / 105.11 in
The J05 Aceman is very close to the original R60 Countryman in size.

While the Aceman is .2′” shorter than the R60 Countryman it has more room inside. The original R60 Countryman’s legroom measured 1025mm / 40.4″ while the Aceman delivers more with 1045 mm / 41.1″ – all in a smaller package. Similarly the original R60 Countryman’s front shoulder width is 1341mm / 52.8 which the Aceman betters with a width of 1370mm / 53.9″.

So it’s similar to the R60 in size. But there’s another important and more modern analogy that’s worth mentioning. The more you look at the Aceman and its’ stats the more you realize it’s a stretched J01 Cooper with extra doors squeezed in. It’s a formula that MINI has tried before with the F55 five door Cooper. Like the F55 MINI Cooper four door (itself a stretched version of the F56), the J05 is a longer, more spacious J01.

The MINI Aceman – Size & Specifications

Because of this close relationship with the J01 both the battery and the electric motor output are identical. This gives MINI great economies of scale but it also means the J05 has to use power units and batteries designed for a smaller car. But it turns out that doesn’t mean it has less range. In fact the opposite is true. But we’ll have more on that in a moment.

MINI Aceman Full Specifications

J01 Cooper EJ01 Cooper SEJ05 Aceman EJ05 Aceman SE
Length (mm/inches)3858 mm / 151.8 in3858 mm / 151.8 in4079 mm / 161 in4079 mm / 161 in
Width w/o Mirros (mm/inches)1756 mm / 69 in1756 mm / 69 in1754 mm / 69 in1754 mm / 69 in
Height (mm)1460 mm / 57 in1460 mm / 57 in1754 mm / 69 in1514 mm / 59.6 in
Wheelbase (mm)2526 mm / 99 in2526 mm / 99 in2606 mm / 102.6 in2606 mm / 102.6 in
Curb weight (kg/lbs)1540 kg / 3,395 lbs1605 kg / 3,538 lbs1710 kg / 3,770 lbs1710 kg / 3,770 lbs
Weight distribution (Front/Rear)F58% / R 42%F 57% / R 43%F 57% / R 43%F 55.8% / R 44.2%
Front Overhang746 mm / 29.3 in746 mm / 29.3 in756 mm / 29.8 in756 mm / 29.8 in
Rear Overhang586 mm / 23 in586 mm / 23 in717 mm / 28.2 in717 mm / 28.2 in
Luggage capacity (seats up/seats down300 / 1005 L300 / 1005 L450 / 1450 L450 / 1450 L
* We’ve taken both the low and the high WLTP numbers and averaged them. However note that WLTP numbers are historically a bit optimistic compared to real world figures.

Weight is interesting here as we see just how MINI has mitigated the heavy battery. While a 3,600 lbs car can’t be considered light, it is for a four door electric crossover. The other number that jumps out is just how close the wheelbase is to the Countryman. This shows MINI has pushed the wheels to the corners as much as possible.

One area where there’s a material difference is luggage capacity. As you can see above the Aceman has more than double the capacity with there seats up. That difference decreases slight when the seats are down but it’s still a respectable 1450 liters. How does that compare to the dimensionally similar R60 Countryman? It’s identical with the seats up at 450 liters but the Aceman actually has 280 liters more space with the seats down. Comparing that to the more recent F60 Countryman the Aceman still holds it’s down with an identical luggage figure with the seats up but surprisingly 60 more liters when the seats are folded down. Getting more space out of a smaller footprint is a huge advantage of skateboard chassis EV vehicles as the Aceman proves.

The MINI Aceman Range, Performance & Why There’s No All Wheel Drive

The electric MINI Aceman’s range is one of the more surprising aspects of this new car. On paper we’ve assumed the MINI Aceman would have less range than the mechanically identical J01 MINI Cooper because it’s larger and heavier. Yet MINI’s official numbers tell a very different story. The Aceman in fact has a slightly more efficient, generating a few more miles of range in both E and SE models.

J05 Aceman EJ05 Aceman SEJ01 Cooper EJ01 Cooper SE
Power184 bhp218 hp184 hp218 hp
Torque214 lb-ft243 lb-ft214 lb-ft243 lb-ft
0-62 mph (0-100 kph)7.9 seconds7.1 seconds7.3 seconds6.7 seconds
Top Speed160 km/h / 99 mph170 km/h / 106 mph160 km/h / 99 mph170 km/h / 106 mph
Battery Size42.5 kWh 54.2 kWh 42.5 kWh 54.2 kWh 
Battery Usable Size38.5 kWh 49.2 kWh 38.5 kWh 49.2 kWh 
WLTP Range294 – 310 km /
183 – 193 miles
382 – 407 km /
237 – 253 miles
295 – 305 km /
177 – 190 miles
388 – 394 km /
234 – 250 miles
WLTP Range (Averaged)302 km / 188 miles394.5 km / 245 miles296 km / 184 miles390 km / 242 miles

Naturally range will vary depending on the temperature you’re operating the Aceman in. Just like the electric Countryman SE we detailed last month, expect a noticeable drop in range when temperatures dip below 40F.

Looking at the Countryman SE data (which should be directionally similar) the best case scenario for range are moderate temperatures and urban driving. That would mean the worst case scenario is driving the on the highway in -14°F temperatures. What we found was that the the Countryman SE could see as much as a 50% drop from its 332 mile range in extreme cold and driven on highways. This is why it’s hard to make efficiency a single number data point.

Why the MINI Aceman is Front Wheel Drive Only

In what might be a major oversight by MINI, the forthcoming electric MINI Aceman Crossover will not be offered with all wheel drive even as an option. Never mind that BMW’s advanced traction control (pioneered in the BMW i3) makes all wheel drive less required even in snow, it’s a comfort factor for potential customers.

Why? It all starts with the J01 electric MINI Cooper that the Aceman is based on. The J01 chassis was never designed to offer a two engine layout that would allow for which all wheel drive in an electric vehicles. This engineering choice unfortunately means the Aceman as little if no off-road credentials other than well groomed trails.

But this decision may be a strategic one by MINI.

MINI has been very keen to differentiate the Aceman from the Countryman in terms of price and equipment. What better way to clearly mark out the difference between the two by making the smaller, cheaper model not available with AWD. The thought is likely that, if a buyers wants AWD, they’ll likely be ok with spending more on a larger car to get it.

Another is likely cost. Keeping the Aceman front wheel drive immediately keeps prices lower even in high-spec models. That’s important because MINI wants the Aceman to be an entry point for consumer into the brand that need more room than the new electric Cooper. In effect it’s taking the place of the four door Cooper in the electric line-up and not the larger Clubman.

Finally there’s efficiency. MINI Countryman C for instance has better range than the all wheel drive SE and we can imagine the same would happen with an all wheel drive Aceman. While the Countryman’s higher range can accommodate a slight decrease, the Aceman is offered exclusively with the smaller and lighter J01 Cooper’s drivetrain configurations. While the range isn’t bad, it’s not a strong suit of the Aceman. Adding all wheel drive would likely bring that range figure down even figure making it a tough sell.

The Aceman Creates a Twist on the New MINI Design Language

The Aceman has taken a bit of a twist on the “Charismatic Simplicity” design language that MINI has developed for its new range. The look is more angular and dare we say it, aggressive than the new J01 or F66 Coopers. Comparing it to the Countryman, the Aceman has much more blunt face and shorter overhangs which gives it a more MINI-like appearance. You could even say it’s stylistically more aligned with the R50 and the R56 design linage than the more recent F56 MINI Cooper.

What does the new MINI design language “Charismatic Simplicity” stand for and how is this reflected in the new MINI Aceman?

It’s about strong characters and about each family member taking their individual position within the MINI family. If you look at the side, for example, the MINI Aceman has a very unique design language and unique graphics for the wheel arch covers. It is compact, appears agile and has a certain urge to move forward. That’s what makes this character, this charismatic. At the same time, we avoid unnecessary style elements. The exercise was to describe your own character using as few resources as possible.

Oliver Heilmer,
Head of MINI Design

Of course this being a vehicle based on a skateboard chassis, MINI could have gone much more radical. Instead designers have thoughtfully pushed the MINI design DNA to create a distinctive new character within the brand. Where the J01 has done away with the black cladding for instance, the Aceman not only embraces it but takes it to a level beyond what we’ve seen from MINI. But MINI hasn’t just made the cladding bigger. Designers have been much more expressive in the way the metal is formed in the fenders and lower part of the doors. It’s how the plastic fenders and sill integrate with these dimensional areas of the car that is new and (to our eyes) really interesting.

Similar to all new MINIs, the JCW Trim (or sport trim in the UK) will feature gloss black trim in place of MINI’s traditional unpainted textured plastic.

Taut is not a work that typically comes to mind with MINI’s surface design but on the Aceman is completely makes sense. The body surfaces almost feel stretched over elements under the skin creating the feel of a honed and athletic vehicle.

While there’s more happening within the surface detail of the Aceman as compared to the new Cooper or Countryman, it’s still relatively minimal compared to previous MINI generations. There are no faux vents or scoops and the ornamentation is kept to a minimum.

Around back we see this layout with a simple form that’s defined by the hatch itself. The license plate, like the Countryman is below the hatch and part of the upper portion of the bumper.

The lighting both front and back is unique and features MINI’s now well known lighting signatures that we’ve seen on the J01, F66 and U25. That allows owners to change the day-time running light graphic subtly changed the character of the car.

MINI Aceman Trim Options

The MINI Aceman is available in four different trims. An oblong-shaped badge in the design of the respective equipment variant is attached to the front area of the side sill. The Essential Trim is the most minimal highlighting certain functional parts in the new Vibrant Silver (think champaign) finish. The Classic Trim features contrasting roof and exterior mirrors in black or white. The front grille is finished in high-gloss black, while the inner surface of the grille and the bumper are finished in body color.

The Favoured Trim offers the most expressive options including a Multitone Roof, combined with white mirror caps and a grille frame in Vibrant Silver.

The JCW Trim (sport in the UK) has its very own distinctive front and rear design that sources tell us is directly based on the forthcoming full JCW model coming later. The front grille features a frame and the variant-specific JCW logo in high-gloss black, while contrasting roof in Chili Red and red bonnet stripes are exclusive options. You’ll also get gloss black trim, unique rear spoiler and defuser along with two JCW specific wheels.

The MINI Aceman Interior and MINI OS9

If this looks mostly familiar that’s because it is. Inside the J05 Aceman will be leverage the J01 Cooper’s interior layout with a couple of important exceptions. That means we’ll see the seats and exact center stack design from the J01 and not the larger center stack from the Countryman. This will include the J01’s seat mounted armrest, slimmer center console and more horizontal smartphone charging area.

However there are some interesting changes. Top of the list is what appears to be a functional dash strap placed in front of the driver. On the J01 MINI Cooper this strap was intended to be functional but was safety concerns derailed those plans. When we spoke with head of MINI Design Oliver Heilmer you could clear see his disappointment that they couldn’t seen the original intended concept through to production. However it would appear MINI Design has done just that by placing the strap behind the steering wheel getting around any safety concerns. We have yet to know what it’s made of and its intended usage and we could be wrong about it being functional. But the amount of images taken of it from official MINI sources and the visual clues certainly look promising.

The other change in the front of the Aceman over the J01 Cooper are the door cards which angle downward into the grab handle.

Like all new MINIs the Aceman’s interior is made entirely of vegan materials. This means we’ll see fabric on the dash and doors and a synthetic leather called Vescin on the seats. If you missed our deep dive into Vescin here’s the top-line. It’s a surprisingly supple material that feels better than the standard MINI leather but not quite as nice as the optional Lounge Leather. But given it’s free, 100% recyclable and (according to MINI) will last much longer than leather it seems relatively promising.

Also new are the seats which again are based on the J01. Like the J01 we’ll see heating and massaging options on the Aceman. The massaging function (only on the driver’s seat) gently moves the spinal column of the person sitting in the driver’s seat to reduce muscular tension and fatigue and prevent lower back pain. The massaging function is tied to a couple of the experience modes and can also be turned on independently with varying intensity. 

As with the Countryman, the rear of the Aceman offers space for three passengers. And like the Countryman the 60:40 folding rear seat backrest, allows the luggage compartment to be extended from 300 litres to up to 1,005 litres as required.

When we first saw MINI’s radical circular display in spy shots we were blown away and excited to see the brand trying something unique. And now that we’ve used it across several cars and on the road we’re even more impressed.

While it may seem like unusual design given the rectangles we’re all used to, it feels very natural in person thanks to the way MINI has organized the information and the UI powering it. The UI is intuitive and entirely unique. While early builds of the software have had a touch of lag, we’re told that forthcoming updates will eliminate that issue entirely.

Which is great because the experience is nothing but amazing. With a diameter of 240 mm, the central instrument features an extremely flat design and a high-quality glass surface. OS9 enables all driving functions to be operated by touch or voice. And for the first time in a MINI, voice control works almost perfectly.

In our early experience with the system, the standout feature is MINI’s all new navigation system with optional augmented reality. The AR view overlays mapping graphics on a live video feed in the top of the circular display helping to literally paint directions on the road in front of you. On the bottom is a top-down map view which is perfectly synced with the video and gives you a full picture of where you are as you get clarity on when and where to turn. It worked flawlessly for us and felt like a game changer for urban environments.

The presentation of the vehicle-related data is minimalistic and all very intuitive. Speed is ever present and (like all new MINIs) a tap on it brings up a classic speedometer. The other widgets are shown in thumbnail view in the Home menu, to the left and right of the current menu function. These can be moved to the center and selected by means of a horizontal swiping movement. In the lower area of the OLED display, the menu items Navigation, Media, Telephone and Climate can be selected directly at any time.

Like all new MINIs the Aceman also offers Experience models. We won’t go into detail here as we’ve covered it exhaustively before. But if you missed our initial coverage, check out our full look here.

In brief, MINI Experience Modes enhance the interior with what MINI calls immersive user experiences. Like other new MINIs, the Aceman’s two projector units beam special illuminated graphics onto the dashboard with differing patterns and colors. Changes are made to the color scheme of the light patterns and to the ambient lighting in the entire interior depending on the Experience Mode selected. The newly created MINI Driving Sounds enhance the experience of all-electric driving in a way that will delight you At least it did that for us in our experience in the electric MINI Countryman SE with the same system. Together with specific graphic elements on the OLED display, Experience Modes create a nearly immersive experience intended to bring some joy to the drive.

Among the eight modes available for selection, Personal Mode offers innovative options for customising the cockpit. In this mode, a personally selected image can be uploaded from a smartphone via the MINI app and chosen as the display background. A digital colour picker then identifies the dominant colours of the photo for projection onto the textile dashboard surfaces. The ambient lighting under the dashboard and in the door mirror is also colour-coded to match these projections.

The other modes available for selection are Go-Kart Mode, Vivid Mode, Core Mode, Green Mode, Timeless Mode, Balance Mode and Trail Mode, each of which focusses the display on a “Mode App” to match the ambience.

Will the MINI Aceman Come to the United States and the rest of North America?

Designing and engineering cars for global markets is incredible expensive. Doing that for both an electric and internal combustion range is incredibly expensive. And for a small brand like MINI, it’s downright cost prohibitive. So BMW had to get creative in how it accomplished both. Enter Spotlight Motors – a joint venture between MINI and Great Wall Motors from China. The idea is simple – leverage the scale of GWM along with their expertise in building electric cars (China is now the definitive world leader in volume for EVs), while engineering and designing the new electric MINIs in Germany. If that sounds too good to be true, it was. A global trade war kicked off just as BMW signed on with GWM and suddenly countries like the US slapped 25-30% tariffs on Chinese cars (among other goods).

This all makes importing the MINI Aceman to the US and other countries particularly difficult from a profit standpoint. While MINI ha intended to eventually produce its new electric models in other parts of the world, this global trade ward accelerated those plans and both cars will now be produced in Oxford from 2026 onward.

The J05 Aceman being produced in the UK will serve Europe and likely the North American markets. This could allow for US imports to begin by 2026 – only two years away. The key word is “could” as sources tell us final decisions on where the Aceman will be sold are still being made. But things look promising according to our sources.

J05 MINI Aceman Release Info

The MINI Aceman will begin production this November with deliveries likely commencing in December. Both the E and SE will kick things off with the JCW variant scheduled for production early net year.

Look for pricing to be released regionally in the coming days.

Aceman ModelStart of Chinese ProductionStart of UK Production
J05 MINI Aceman E11/2024*03/2026
J05 MINI Aceman SE11/2024*03/2026
J05 MINI Aceman JCW01/2025*06/2026
* Based on our sources and not confirmed

MINI Aceman Photo Gallery