MINI Unveils Vision Urbanaut Concept

By

Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

, Automotive Editor - November 18, 2020

By now, nearly every automaker has unveiled some kind of radical concept on what it believes cars in the future will look like. Mini’s been quiet on this front. Currently, the automaker’s tiny hatchbacks are some of the ultimate urban vehicles, but Mini’s finally dipping into the futuristic realm with the new Urbanaut concept. Like other Minis, the Urbanaut concept has a tiny footprint and a unique design, but this one’s autonomous and electric.

From the outside, the Urbanaut concept looks like an egg-shaped van that rides on illuminated wheels that are finished in a greenish-blue tint called Ocean Wave. The wheels also have an abstract Union Jack profile, undoubtedly a nod to Mini’s British heritage. The headlights are another oddity, as they’re only visible when switched on and can be used to display various multi-colored graphics to communicate with other cars on the road. The strangest part about the concept has to be its exterior paint job that transitions from a metallic green to gray.

As a concept that’s meant to peer into the future, the Urbanaut concept’s cabin utilizes recycled and natural materials. And since it’s a concept, Mini’s designers were able to go bonkers, penning a design that looks more like an upscale lounge than a regular car. There are three main interior settings that drastically change the layout and configuration of the cabin.

“Chill” turns the concept into a private retreat for relaxation with the round central control instrument folding away to become a table lamp. Ambient music, nature sounds, and the rear seats take on a forest canopy design.

Mini Vision Urbanaut

“Vibe” is all about allowing passengers to interact with one another. In this mode, a welcoming scene that transforms directly from the outside to the inside. The interior is transformed into a hub for meetings, while the central instrument becomes a media control center. An animation of graphic equalizers that are synced with music gets projected onto the front, rear, wheels, and above the rear seat bench.

Lastly, there’s “Wanderlust.” Despite its name, this setting turns the concept’s interior into the ideal place to drive the car or be driven around in. Animations of the current route, estimated arrival time, and information on near-by attractions are displayed throughout the vehicle. The Loop that’s located above the rear seats has a simulated mix of passing scenery in a blur.

While Mini’s extensive press release has all sorts of information on the Urbanaut concept, the automaker doesn’t provide any specifications on the electric powertrain or how the vehicle drives autonomously. The concept may have a steering wheel and pedals, but these retract and the driving display disappears from the dashboard when the vehicle isn't being driven.

The Urbanaut is a wild concept. There’s nothing here that can be used on an actual production model, as its sole purpose is to showcase what Mini can do if things like regulations didn’t exist. We could see a few design elements make it to production vehicles, but even that seems unlikely with how futuristic the concept is. We haven’t seen anything like this from Mini before. Usually, the automaker’s concepts are more grounded and realistic. This is one of the first times we’ve seen Mini come out with something truly radical.

Explore the current Mini lineup »

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

Privacy Policy|Do Not Sell My Personal Information|Terms of Use|Cookie Policy|Disclaimer|
COPYRIGHT 1999-2020 MH Sub I, LLC dba CarsDirect.com