Mini has finally lifted the veil on its first electric crossover – and we can't decide whether the British carmaker is genius or just plain bonkers.
Officially dubbed the Aceman (not to be confused with the brand's three-door Paceman SUV), the close-to-production EV features several design quirks that both hark back to the brand's Sixties roots and symbolize Mini's push towards an all-electric future.
Among the eccentricities are a circular (yes, circular) OLED infotainment display – akin to the speedometer design in the original Mini – a velour-clad steering wheel, and a roof rack that, viewed from above, takes the shape of a Union flag.
It's worth noting that the Aceman remains a concept vehicle, so not every new design feature will make it to the production line in 2024 – the car's exterior speakers and utterly bizarre light projector system, for instance, may or may not make the final cut – but Mini executive Oliver Heilmer recently told Auto Express that the crossover is "80% complete".
The circular OLED display, though, is the real deal – "due to digitalization we are able to achieve [this classic design] again," Heilmer told Autoexpress – and the screen in question will sit above small bank of switches, likely home to the Aceman's power toggle, parking brake, gear selector, drive modes and volume control.
The crossover's exterior is suitably different, too. Rather than sticking with the rounded features we've come to expect from Minis gone by, the Aceman is a more angular beast, with head and tail lights not too dissimilar in shape to those found on modern EVs from the likes of Honda, Hyundai and Kia.
This futuristic aesthetic is, of course, entirely deliberate. "Since this [car] is the new family member, it was clear for us that [it] will have a modern approach, it will break out of typical form language," Mini design chief Heilmer told Auto Express in the aforementioned interview.
We don't yet know the Aceman's performance specifications, but being based on the same electric architecture as the brand's upcoming Hatch model, we expect to see two variants offered: one with a 40kWh battery pack boasting around 200 miles of range, and another with a 50kWh battery aiming for nearer 250 miles.
We do know, however, that the Aceman will be appearing in physical form at Gamescom 2022 this August in Cologne, before making its non-conceptual debut sometime next year. We'll share more details as soon as we have them.
For more on the latest electric vehicles, check out our breakdown of the all-electric DeLorean DMC, our analysis of the Mercedes EQXX's mind-boggling new range record and our thoughts on Hyundai's upcoming Ioniq 5 SUV.