MINI Vision Urbanaut: BMW's new concept car that can turn into a living room
BMW MINI decided to completely break away from the brand's design philosophy and build something for the urban dwellers in future. MINI has recently showcased a concept van called Vision Urbanaut, a virtual prototype in the form of a minivan.
With its short overhangs, large glass surface and curved lines, this concept car represents the vision of shared mobility.
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There is not much information about the model yet, since it is an entirely virtual prototype. However, MINI wants to explore these kinds of ideas, also offering the possibility of transforming and personalising the interior in a few simple steps; in order to turn the car not only into transportation, but also a living space.
According to the manufacturer, the Vision Urbanaut will offer three MINI Moments inside, called Chill, Wanderlust and Vibe, each generating a different atmosphere. For this, the brand will configure the ambient lighting, music, fragrances and other aspects according to each occasion. In this way it wants to offer different experiences on the journeys.
A flexible four-seat layout provides the basis for the interior of the concept car. The front seats are designed to rotate, while the backrests for the rear seat can be folded manually and turned around. When the car is stationary, the dashboard lowers and the driver’s area becomes a comfortable seating corner. Added to which, the windscreen can be opened upwards when stationary to create a kind of street balcony. This enhances interaction with the car’s surroundings and creates an even more generous spatial experience.
The darker environs of the cabin’s rear section provide a quieter space. A textile-covered 'loop' extends over the seat bench and features the option of LED backlighting. Between the rear seats and the driver’s area is the open and airy central section of the car, which offers quick access to all seating areas. With the door open, it is even possible to sit on the floor. On the side of the car opposite the entry door, a small integrated table with a plant adds a finishing touch to the interior fittings. The table signifies the car’s new centre point – the place where passengers meet, face and engage with one another.
Even the front seats can rotate to face the rear, which is why it also equips autonomous driving functions . As you might expect, the entire powertrain is 100% electric and is expected to serve as a shared mobility platform , which can be accessed by multiple users via their mobile phones.
Having been conceived from the outset as an electrically powered vehicle with automated driving functions, the MINI Vision Urbanaut has afforded the designers a greater level of freedom when creating both the exterior and interior. “In 1959, the very first Mini ushered in a small-scale revolution in vehicle construction with its transversely mounted engine," recalls Oliver Heilmer, Head of MINI Design. “With the MINI Vision Urbanaut we have been able to rethink and increase the usable surface area inside the car even further in relation to its footprint."