New MINI: interior design

Production Cars 15 Oct 2006
New MINI: interior design

Details from the design process of the new Mini interiors, based on the combination of circular elements and horizontal lines, including skecthes and pictures of the MINI design team at work.


From the official Press release:

New Mini - Interior design sketchThe interior of the new MINI is the result of a genuine revolution in design covering all areas and features within the car.

And this result is truly impressive: more features and an even wider range of equipment, optimised ergonomics, more space, even more sophisticated and stylish materials, and quality
of finish reflecting the premium character of the new MINI all the way to the smallest detail.

“Focusing on the interior, we decided to revolutionise the
car’s design in order to really highlight the sporting and masculine character and technical progress of the new MINI”
, states MINI’s Chief Designer
Gert Hildebrand.

The high shoulder line of the body creates a sporting cockpit ambience
within the interior of the new MINI, concentrating the overall look and impression of the car on just a handful of distinctive highlights which again serve to emphasise the new and even more striking character of the interior.

New Mini - Interior design sketch One example is that a smaller number of instruments now offer a wider range of functions. And a significant improvement is the experience of space and roominess within the new MINI, even though the car’s exterior dimensions have grown by only about 60 millimetres or 2.4´´.

“Enhancing and upgrading the design of the car, we sought from the start to offer maximum interior space within minimum dimensions”, states MINI’s Interior Designer Marc Girard.

And indeed, the slender centre console provides additional legroom for the driver and front passenger, the horizontal arrangement of the instrument panel, in turn, emphasising the sheer generosity of the interior.

Round air vents moved far to the outside serve furthermore to accentuate the greater width of the dashboard, emphasising the horizontal orientation of
the cockpit and at the same time acting as a transition leading over smoothly and harmoniously to the door linings.

Ergonomics and controls

New Mini - Colour and trim designFocusing on the arrangement of the instruments within the cockpit, the car’s developers attached utmost importance to simple and ergonomic control
by the driver. Hence, all control elements are in strict hierarchic arrangement as a function of their frequency of use and need for operation.

The principal highlight is of course the round Center Speedo thoroughly
re-interpreted from the ground up: The Center Speedo is now even larger than before, incorporates the audio controls as well as the optional entertainment and navigation functions and stands out even more distinctly and underlines the cockpit ambience on board the new MINI.

Certainly the most distinctive feature, however, is the speed indicator as such surrounding all other functions like a 360° ring.

And with the entire unit being placed
high up within the instrument panel, all function buttons allow optimum ergonomic control, with the Display positioned right in the middle of the central instrument.

New Mini - Design New Mini - Design
Tape drawing by Interior Designer Bruno Amatino Gert Hilderbrand (Director MINI Design, right) and Marc Girard (MINI interior designer, left)

The horizontally oriented structure of the cockpit is also reflected by the arrangement of the controls and instruments housed within the Center Stack right beneath the Center Speedo. And other features typical of MINI are
the vertical arrangement of the rotary air ventilation knobs, the two cupholders integrated in the base section of the centre console, as well as the
toggle switches carried over from motorsport. Serving inter alia to activate the window lifts and central locking, these toggle switches are larger than
before on the new MINI.

New Mini - Interior sketchAnd for the first time they are now matched by toggle switches in the roof lining, operation of the sliding roof again reflecting that typical style and class so characteristic of MINI.

The design language of “circular elements” combined with horizontal structures also comes out particularly clearly in the door panels and linings,
the elliptical main element on the door lining now extending all the way
back to the rear. This elliptical frame encompasses the light-looking armrest,
a door pocket, and the round door openers all in one.

Like in motorsport, the rev counter is directly behind the steering wheel exactly in the driver’s line of vision. Additional clarity and information at very first
sight is added by a supplementary digital speedometer within the rev counter as well as the on-board computer.

The conventional ignition key is replaced in the new MINI by a round, electronic signal transmitter also in typical MINI style. Once inserted into the shaft next to the steering wheel, this signal transmitter enables the driver
to start the engine easily and with utmost convenience simply by pressing the start/stop button. And with optional Comfort Access, the driver is even
able to leave the signal transmitter in his pocket, the only requirement being that the transmitter is on his body or within the car in order to open the
doors and start the engine.

Materials and Trim

New Mini - Design
Annette Baumeister (left) and Claudia Geidobler

(MINI Colour and Trim Design)

“The touch effect, the impression you get when feeling a material, is extremely important”, states MINI’s Materials and Colour Designer Annette Baumeister.

Particularly sophisticated materials, clear structures, and fine surface grain highlight the car’s supreme quality in every respect. The individual panels and trim surfaces have intentionally been kept small, the rings and surrounds particularly filigree in design in order to emphasise the great attention given to every detail and the sheer value of the materials used.

The wide range of colours for the interior offers the customer a choice of Carbon Black, Gotham Grey, Tuscan Beige, and Redwood Red, either
in harmony with the body colour and trim chosen or kept apart intentionally
as an exciting contrast.

The dashboard in the new MINI is made up of two horizontally separated sections with a trim division in between. The plastic surfaces, in turn,
come in particularly fine grain highlighting the supreme value, class and style of the material.

Different seat upholstery also serves to distinguish between the MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S, effect yarn seams enhancing the lifestyle ambience
within the MINI Cooper on the consciously purist “basic” upholstery.

New Mini - Design
Gert Hilderbrand (Director MINI Design, right)
and Bruno Amatino (MINI interior designer, left)

The seat covers on the MINI Cooper S, in turn, come in chequered design reminiscent of the chessboard pattern of the chequered flag in motorsport and serving as a particularly outstanding graphic element.

The chequered cloth used for this purpose emphasises the sporting touch of the MINI Cooper S, and may be replaced by classic pinstripe design combining an elegant and fine woven look with leather available in four colour variants on the side panels of the seats. Clearly, this particularly sophisticated and stylish material follows the example of a classic pinstripe suit.

The wide range of cloth materials, leather, interior colours, panels and trim options offers each and every aficionado of the MINI exactly the right option to personalise his or her car according to his individual taste. The ambience
thus created within the car ranges from high-class elegance through outright sportiness all the way to superb extravagance. And quite regardless of the customer’s individual choice, premium quality and love for every detail naturally come out most distinctly in every new MINI.

The optional Colour Line enables even the most discerning customer to individualise the cockpit according to his or her personal taste, colour highlights in the lower sections of the dashboard continuing into the door linings and providing a particularly effective and attractive combination
with the trim materials. Colour Line is available in the five colours Dark Grey, Cream White, Pacific Blue, Rooster Red, and Mellow Yellow, with trim
coming not only in its standard versions on the MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S, but also in four exclusive, very special variants: glossy black piano paint,
dark brown grained oakwood, brushed aluminium, and a fine glossy surface inspired by the structure of liquid metal.

A further expression of the authentic premium character of the new MINI is the use of natural wood and massive aluminium, while a fully closed glove compartment or a CD changer may be integrated in the trim surface on the front passenger’s side.

(Source: Mini)

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