Mini Rocketman concept comes back to Earth, is the project back on?

Mini Rocketman CloseBMW and Mini may have revived plans to build the previously cancelled Mini Rocketman concept car, as a second version has been revealed, and will be put on display during the London Olympics.

First shown at the Geneva Motor Show last year, reports in January claimed BMW had canned plans to put the car into production due to problems with stability, and getting it to meet crash regulations.

Now though, it’s back, and according to the press release, it’s a “new edition of the concept car” that will be a “showcase for the company during the Games.” Why would BMW roll out an old design that wasn’t going anywhere to promote itself? It doesn’t make much sense, and could indicate the project isn’t quite as dead as was reported.

Despite being called a new design, the Olympic Rocketman doesn’t look all that different to the old model, but there are plenty of stylistic differences in honor of the Olympics.

The patriotic color scheme recalls the Union Jack, which is also featured on the glass roof — a nod to the original Mini — where optical fibers are used to highlight the white braces. This theme continues inside, where red, white and blue is used extensively on all the surfaces.

Mini Rocketman Interior

Printed on the dash and the door inserts is a list of all the previous Olympic cities and the year in which they hosted the Games, plus down in the center console, there’s a recreation of a basketball game with tiny figures. Why? Who knows, but it’s quirky enough to be cool.

Otherwise the car looks very similar to the last version, with those funky hooped rear lights, 18-inch rims, exposed carbon fiber, the split trunk with its slide-out drawer and the double-hinged doors. Inside it’s the same two-plus-one seating arrangement. The powertrain isn’t mentioned, although it was previously linked with a hybrid motor capable of returning 100 miles-per-gallon.

There’s no denying the Mini Rocketman looks fantastic, and unlike BMW’s distinctly not-mini Minis, it appears to be quite compact. The figures provided with the first Rocketman concept reveal it to be wider with a longer wheelbase than a standard Mini though. Of course it’s a bit shorter, and even manages to beat the VW Up! and the Fiat 500 in this respect, but only by 10cm/4-inches or so.

It seems strange, then, given it’s dimensionally about the same as two cars that are already in production, that BMW has struggled with the Rocketman. Perhaps it has now overcome the issues and that 2016 release date could be back on. Here’s hoping.

Mini Rocketman Rear
Gaming

These shoes let me stroll through ‘Skyrim,’ and I desperately want to go back

After being funded in just two hours on Kickstarter back in October 2018, Cybershoes has earned itself a place among the coolest VR walking and running tech. At CES 2019, we got to try them out and they live up to the hype.
Smart Home

GHSP makes a (back)splash with its touchscreen concept kitchen

One of the coolest concept kitchens from CES 2019 came from GHSP. It created a backsplash entirely made of touchscreens. That means the control panel for your kitchen is accessible no matter where you are.
Mobile

It’s back! Here’s how to switch to Twitter’s reverse chronological feed

Twitter has finally brought back the reverse chronological feed, allowing you to see your feed based on the newest tweets, rather than using Twitter's algorithm that shows what it thinks you want to see. It's easy to switch.
Cars

Fast and Furious fans get revved up: Toyota’s Supra sports car is back

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.
Cars

China’s GAC Motor cruises into Detroit with all-electric Entranze concept

Chinese automaker GAC Motor brought its all-electric Entranze concept to the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. This is the third straight year that GAC has appeared in Detroit, and the company has established a design center in California.
Cars

2020 Ford Explorer branches out with sporty ST, efficiency-focused hybrid models

The 2020 Ford Explorer gets two variants never before seen on Ford's stalwart family hauler. The ST focuses on performance, while the hybrid aims for decent gas mileage. Both models will debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.
Cars

Some of Volkswagen’s electric models will wear a ‘Made in the USA’ label

Confirming earlier rumors, Volkswagen has announced it will build electric cars in its Chattanooga, Tennessee, factory. The facility currently produces the Passat and the Atlas. Production will start in 2023, Digital Trends can reveal.
Cars

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti will unveil the QX Inspiration concept at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language that may point to a future production model.
Cars

Hyundai’s Veloster N hot hatchback will prove its mettle on the track

The Hyundai Veloster N will go racing to prove the credibility of Hyundai's new N performance division. Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Veloster N race car will compete in a class with other small cars.
Cars

Nissan IMs concept teases a future long-range, autonomous electric car

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Nissan IMs is an electric car with a 380-mile range, autonomous-driving capability, and a backseat designed for being chauffeured. Too bad it's just a concept car.
Cars

The 2020 Lexus RC F goes on a diet to run faster and hit harder

The Lexus RC F has been one of the heavier cars in its competitive set since its introduction. The Japanese firm's engineers set out to shed weight as they gave the model a mid-cycle update.
Cars

Lexus LC convertible concept teases a new open-air flagship

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Lexus LC convertible concept adds open-air motoring to the sleek LC's resume. But Lexus won't commit to a production version of the car just yet.
Cars

Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.
Cars

Big tech, bigger grille: BMW updates its 7 Series flagship for 2020

The BMW 7 Series will enter the 2020 model year with a host of updates inside, outside, and under the sheet metal. The new-look nose with a jumbo grille hides updated engines, while passengers benefit from smart tech features.