Interview: Oliver Heilmer on the MINI Aceman


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The next generation of models from MINI will form the brand’s most comprehensive and wide-ranging line-up ever.

Due in 2024, an important new member of the Mini line-up has been previewed with a new concept: the Aceman.

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The name sounds similar to the short-lived Paceman three-door small SUV, axed in 2016. However, MINI’s head of design, Oliver Heilmer, told Automotive Daily that the moniker isn’t a nod to the past but a clean break, as the new car will be the “ace in the pack.”

Q&A, Oliver Heilmer, Head of Design, MINI

Q: Is there as much space inside as there is in the current Countryman?

A: That I don’t know! But there is much more room than in a current-generation Clubman. I don’t know the clear figures, we know that there is much, much more space inside compared with a normal combustion-engined platform. Especially in the second seating row.

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Q: How does this car align with the Countryman and how different are the customers?

A: The next-generation Countryman will have more space – that is needed. We have plug-in hybrid today in the Countryman and obviously we will think of different drivetrains for the Countryman as well. It’s not a question of which drivetrain do I choose, it’s what offer do I have.

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Q: Could you tell us about the colours? Will we see such similar colours to the Aceman concept on the production car?

A: Our team is much younger than I am! Something is coming back. This generation wasn’t experiencing that time [the nineties], this kind of freshness, those ideas are coming back. It’s happening everywhere – in fashion, architecture and furniture. No one is doing this on purpose…you see those little structural changes within the knit, it’s a houndstooth but it’s 3D, there’s no colour change. This is something that will remain. In production you will have choices of several different types [of material] and colours.

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Q: Will this car become the default MINI Hatch five door?

A: The electric hatch is three-door, if you want to have an electric five-door it’s this.

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