When it debuted at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, the
original MINI Rocketman Concept
was quickly embraced for its very MINI mini-ness. It was also speculated to be on its way to production--a rumor that was quickly shot down by BMW, MINI's parent brand. But a MkII version of the concept revealed ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games has rekindled hope that the Rocketman may yet be built.
With a 3+1 seating layout, very compact exterior dimensions (about 10 feet long overall) and characteristically MINI-cute design, the Rocketman MkII updates the original's design with a Union Jack color scheme inside and out, new 18-inch alloy wheels, a revised grille made of MINI logos, and a full-surface glass roof with illuminated braces designed to resemble the Union Jack flag.
The explicitly British theme is predictable given its London Olympics promotional purpose, but at the same time, emphasizes the MINI brand's heritage, despite now being owned by a German company.
Built for urban environments, the small dimensions of the Rocketman MkII are complemented by extensive use of lightweight materials, including carbon fiber, to improve gas mileage and emissions. Materials and engineering knowledge developed for the upcoming BMW i3
could be used to build the Rocketman should it reach production.
As for what motivates the Rocketman, that's still an unknown. Should the Rocketman reach production, a small three-cylinder engine
(with possible turbocharged upgrade options) would be the most likely bet.
The question is whether BMW and MINI are using the 2012 London Olympic Games as a platform to trot out an old concept for promotional value, or if this revised Rocketman is an indication that the project is back on the table with the members of the board. That question, unfortunately, will only be answered in time. For now, the MINI Rocketman MkII Concept will be used to welcome athletes to the Games.