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by Tim Beissmann

The Mini Rocketman concept has made a surprise comeback, reborn with a vibrant British theme to celebrate the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The new-look concept is based on the BMW-owned British manufacturer’s original Rocketman concept from the 2011 Geneva motor show, which was designed to preview the brand’s future component and design ideas and test the waters for a ‘mini Mini’.

Despite acknowledging that it would sell instantly, Mini brand manager Kay Segler told CarAdvice earlier this year it was difficult to develop a business case for the smaller model and suggested a production version of the Rocketman was not currently a priority.

The latest concept hasn’t been accompanied by any production promises, with Mini suggesting the updated Rocketman has simply been designed to welcome the athletes to London ahead of the Games and showcase Mini’s vision of future urban mobility.

At just over three metres long, the ‘3+1 seater’ Rocketman concept – Mini says the fourth seat is best for short trips only – is close to the classic Mini in terms of its dimensions.

The new concept abounds with the colours of the Union Jack, with red and white accents contrasting the dominant dark blue inside and out.

Among the highlights is the glass roof bracing, which runs horizontally, lengthways and diagonally and can be illuminated at night by optical fibres to recreate the appearance of the Union Jack flag.

Exposed carbon elements are visible throughout in a subtle reminder of car’s lightweight carbonfibre-reinforced plastic space frame construction.

The minimalistic instrument panel comprises only a tiny transparent plastic arch with a simple illuminated speed display, while the intricate lettering listing every host city of the modern-day Olympics across the door and dashboard inserts is a clever nod to the past.

The new Mini Rocketman concept will be displayed at the BMW Group pavilion near the Olympic and Paralympic Village throughout the Games, which kicks off on July 27 with the opening ceremony.




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