Mini Rocketman concept (2011) at 2011 Geneva motor show

Published: 23 February 2011

The new Mini Rocketman is manna from heaven for critics who bemoan the new BMW Mini’s growth spurt from bijou city car to bloated supersized mini. The Rocketman, Mini’s 2011 Geneva motor show debutant, is a blueprint for a new kind of smaller Mini – and it’s within an inch or two of Alec Issignois’s 1959 original.

Don’t dismiss the Mini Rocketman as pie-in-the-sky concept. CAR has already reported how a mini Mini is coming around 2016, to join a newly expanded family of Minis which will grow to include the Mk3 hatchback in three- and five-door, a convertible, estate, Countryman, coupe, roadster and high-roof activity tourer.

Yep, Mini saturation is going to continue for a while yet.

How small is the new mini Mini?

The Rocketman is 3419mm long, trimming a good 304mm – or 12in – from today’s Mini hatch. In that space, there’s room for 3+1 seating in a shrunken three-door hatchback body style, whose double-hinged doors and split tailgate are designed to ease access to this munchkin Mini. The full stats are:

Length: 3419mm (current Mini hatch 3723mm)
Width: 1907mm (1683mm)
Height: 1398mm (1407mm)

We had to pick the photo of the Rocketman surrounded by strange, blurry people to give some context to its diminutive size. It’s clearly no great departure from the modern Mini norm, but there is a dash of comic detailing to make it stand out from the existing hordes of estate agents’ cars in the snobbier districts of London.

Mini Rocketman: the technical story

This Mini is pared back to the minimum. And before you get on the phone to your Mini dealership, remember this concept car has a very unfeasible carbonfibre spaceframe visible throughout the car’s footprint. And we somehow doubt the trick doors and 350mm-extending boot ‘drawer’ would survive into production.

That light weight contributes to a 94mpg economy figure, although BMW hasn’t yet spelled out the powertrain. That mpg figure would probably be less if the wheels weren’t 18in in diameter...

And that terrible Mini Rocketman name?

The less said about the name, the better. Let’s just say that the Germans have a long and terrible history of plucking inappropriate names from the arts world. Remember the Audi Steppenwolf?

Now they’re plundering the Elton John back catalogue.            


 

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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