MINI Insider

Photograph of the front of the MINI Clubman Untold Edition.

The Art of MINI Special Editions.

Creative ideas, exclusive materials plus lots of time, thought and care go into the development of MINI’s special editions. We pay a visit to the MINI design studio.
The delicate, light-blue seams contrast pleasingly with the grey-green leather of the seats. Evelin Hartmann runs her fingers over a seam, appraising the striking colour contrast. “It’s quite amazing how the new seat seam lends the interior design of the MINI Clubman Untold a totally new appeal,” says the 31-year-old colour and trim designer at the MINI design studio in Munich. The detail creates an unexpected, fresh, different mood – making it one of this special model’s many fantastic details. At the same time, this MINI is the quintessence of many years of original design.
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For MINI fans already accustomed to extra features, MINI’s special editions hold a raft of new attractions in store. Apart from exclusive colours and car materials, these vehicles often come with otherwise unavailable, model-specific features, such as exclusive wheel rim designs.

This year, MINI is rolling out three new editions: the MINI Clubman Untold, the MINI Countryman Untamed and the MINI Resolute Edition for the 3- and 5-door Hatch and the MINI Convertible. There’s a long tradition of special editions at MINI. The first one came out 45 years ago in the days of the classic Mini; it was the Mini 1000 Stripey LE, which featured striped fabric seat covers. For the 2002 launch of MINI, the carmaker presented its première edition, the Launch Edition MINI Cooper.

 

A design team of about 20 people has been developing one edition after another ever since, and over the years, some 30 different models have been produced. These include the MINI One Graphite in 2009, which sported the special metallic paint finish Dark Silver, the MINI Soho in 2011, developed as a homage to the famous district in London’s West End, and the MINI 60 Years in 2019. Available for a limited period only, the MINI 60 Years in British Racing Green with decorative racing stripes took its cue from the classic Mini of 1959. Otherwise, edition numbers vary with some editions consisting of very few vehicles, as well as some that have sold in great numbers despite only being available for a limited period.

Photo of Ralf Dietmann, Head of Product Management of the current MINI generation.
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“Special editions are an intrinsic part of MINI. We are well aware of the tradition and the expectations they arouse, which is why we put so much time and care into their design,” says Ralf Dietmann, 48, Head of Product Management for the current MINI generation. “It’s these small, but subtle differences that you notice only at second glance. They’re what make the limited editions special,” says Ralf Dietmann.

Photo of MINI Designers working at the MINI Design Studio.
It can take two to three years from the initial idea for a limited edition until the final production model is ready – and it's quite a lengthy process. How do the designers go about it? “To start with, we ask ourselves what types of people we could interest in a new edition, what theme would be particularly appealing,” says Evelin Hartmann, who is mainly concerned with developing colours and car materials. Once the ideas have been formulated, workshops follow in which decisions are made about the proposed edition’s special features. “With special edition models, we focus on refining the character and design of MINI even further,” says the designer. “We want to make them stand out more than the regular models so that they make a statement for the brand.” Since these models target a smaller clientele, she adds, they can be given a more progressive, bolder look.
Photo of designer Evelin Hartmann working at the MINI Design Studio. Close-up of different elements and tools used at the MINI Design Studio.

After initial discussions, the designers put together mood images and samples, and proceed with a kind of team ping-pong to gain a sense of the mood and a feeling for the new edition. “As designers, we keep a very close eye on what’s going on around us and on new and very different consumer products so that we can identify any design trends early on,” says Hartmann.

The main thing with a MINI special edition is not to chase trends, but to set your own. That’s why the designers are constantly testing out a wide variety of new collections of paint and leather samples, car fabrics and yarns, to see whether material and colour combinations harmonise well, whether they create an exciting contrast, perhaps – or actually don’t go well together at all. The challenge also lies in integrating the colour scheme and the new materials into the car production process later on.

“It can take up to three years to develop an entirely new paint colour,” says Bianca Maria Hoffmann, 48, Project Manager of Colour and Trim Design at MINI. For a MINI special edition, the creative team develops up to three different focus themes simultanously so as to be able to present a preliminary result to MINI’s Chief Designer Oliver Heilmer. Two of those car design concepts are then chosen for follow-up. Their details are refined, and after further fruitful discussions the design team presents a full-size prototype to Heilmer. Once a decision has been made on the final concept, its technical realisation for serial car production begins.

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“We are able to make these editions so exclusive because we expressly allow ourselves the freedom to experiment,” says Hoffmann, summing up. “It’s fine for these models to have a more outgoing style, to look different from what people expect. Taking our car design to its limits is a huge challenge, but it’s also great fun.” Even the tiniest details make a difference to the final design – like the light-blue seams in the green leather of the MINI Clubman Untold.

Hinweis (English disclaimers below):

Die offiziellen Angaben zu Kraftstoffverbrauch, CO2-Emissionen und Stromverbrauch wurden nach dem vorgeschriebenen Messverfahren VO (EU) 715/2007 in der jeweils geltenden Fassung ermittelt. Die Angaben berücksichtigen bei Spannbreiten Unterschiede in der gewählten Rad- und Reifengröße. Die Werte der Fahrzeuge basieren bereits auf der neuen WLTP-Verordnung und werden in NEFZ-Äquivalenzwerte zurückgerechnet, um den Vergleich zwischen den Fahrzeugen zu gewährleisten. Bei diesen Fahrzeugen können die CO2-Werte für fahrzeugbezogene Steuern oder andere Abgaben, die (zumindest unter anderem) auf CO2-Emissionen basieren, von den hier angegebenen Werten abweichen. Die CO2-Effizienz-Spezifikationen werden gemäß der Richtlinie 1999/94/EG und der Europäischen Verordnung in der jeweils gültigen Fassung festgelegt. Die angegebenen Werte basieren auf dem Kraftstoffverbrauch, den CO2-Werten und dem Energieverbrauch nach dem NEFZ-Zyklus für die Klassifizierung. Weitere Informationen über den offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und die spezifischen CO2-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem "Handbuch über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO2-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch neuer Personenkraftwagen" entnommen werden, das an allen Verkaufsstellen und unter https://www.dat.de/angebote/verlagsprodukte/leitfaden-kraftstoffverbrauch.html erhältlich ist.

Disclaimer:

The values of fuel consumptions, CO2 emissions and energy consumptions shown were determined according to the European Regulation (EC) 715/2007 in the version applicable at the time of type approval. The figures refer to a vehicle with basic configuration in Germany and the range shown considers optional equipment and the different size of wheels and tires available on the selected model. The values of the vehicles are already based on the new WLTP regulation and are translated back into NEDC-equivalent values in order to ensure the comparison between the vehicles. [With respect to these vehicles, for vehicle related taxes or other duties based (at least inter alia) on CO2-emissions the CO2 values may differ to the values stated here.] The CO2 efficiency specifications are determined according to Directive 1999/94/EC and the European Regulation in its current version applicable. The values shown are based on the fuel consumption, CO2 values and energy consumptions according to the NEDC cycle for the classification. For further information about the official fuel consumption and the specific CO2 emission of new passenger cars can be taken out of the „handbook of fuel consumption, the CO2 emission and power consumption of new passenger cars“, which is available at all selling points and at https://www.dat.de/angebote/verlagsprodukte/leitfaden-kraftstoffverbrauch.html