Mini Countryman too big now? Take a look at the new SA-bound Aceman compact SUV

Published Apr 25, 2024


After seeing the new maxi-sized Mini Countryman you might have expected the brand’s next move would be a version of the BMW X7.

But with the new Aceman, revealed to the world on Thursday, Mini is at least moving closer to its roots with a new compact SUV slotting beneath the Countryman.

Measuring just over four metres in length the new baby ute is similar in size to the Jeep Avenger, and offers seating for five as well as 300 litres of boot space.

You can expect to see it in South Africa by the end of 2024, BMW SA tells us, although the local line-up and pricing has yet to be finalised.

Not only does it usher in a new design language for the British brand, but it’s also the first Mini product to be offered solely with electric power.

It’s available in two variants, with the Aceman E offering outputs of 135kW and 290Nm and the Aceman SE upping the ante to 160kW and 330Nm. Acceleration to 100km/h takes 7.9 seconds in the E and 7.1 seconds in the SE, according to Mini.

The two have different battery sizes with the E featuring a 42.5 kWh unit offering a claimed WLTP range of 310km, and the SE sporting a 54.2 kWh power source said to achieve 406km between charges. Both can be charged with direct current, allowing a 10% to 80% fast charge in less than 30 minutes.

The cabin takes inspiration from Alec Issigonis’ original Mini of 1959, but brings it into the modern age with a central OLED display and remodelled version of the hallmark toggle bar.

Mini also promises an “immersive” digital experience through Mini Experience Modes that use a pair of projector units to beam special illuminated graphics onto the dashboard with unique patterns and colours. These also tie in with the Mini (fake) Drive Sounds.

Drivers can choose from eight modes, including a Personal Mode that allows for unique customisation of the cockpit. Modes like Go-Kart, Vivid and Trail are also part of the mix.

On the outside, Mini’s design head Oliver Heilmer aimed for a kind of “Charismatic Simplicity” that avoids unnecessary details and embellishments.

“It’s about strong characters and about each family member having their own individual place within the Mini family. For example, the Mini Aceman has a unique design language when viewed from the side, and a unique graphic for the wheel arch trims. It is compact, agile and exudes a determination to forge ahead,” Heilmer said.

“That is what highlights this charismatic aspect. At the same time, we have consciously kept away from superfluous stylistic elements. Our challenge was to define a distinctive character with as few design elements as possible.”

IOL Motoring

Related Topics:

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