Among other features found on this now floating center stack is the new Driving Experience Control which can shift the interior lighting from cool blue to sporty red. The floor itself adopts what Warming described as a "Mini Disco" ambience.
According to Mini, "Here, an expressive interplay of [colors], light and forms transforms the footwells as the MINI Vision appears to come vibrantly to life."
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With the Countryman, Mini tried coming up with a unique, central bar to which motorists could attach all sorts of lifestyle accessories, including cellphones and cup holders. The Mini Vision concept uses elastic door-panel straps that can hold phones, water bottles and pretty much any other small accessory.
Thin, light lounge seats complete the transformation of the interior.
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Precisely how much of this will remain in the production 2014 Mini hatchback remains to be seen, though some of the key design features of the Vision concept apparently will carry through.
The production car will be based on an all-new front-drive platform that Mini will now share with its parent BMW, the Germans using it for the next-generation 1-Series. The two makers have set their sights high, possibly aiming to sell close to a million of the various models to share the new platform.
The British version is expected to share the new BMW 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine that TheDetroitBureau.com tested some months back. But the larger Mini 2.0-liter turbo inline-four will also be available in some variants. Some reports have suggested a diesel—an option popular with European Mini fans—might finally make it to the U.S. market as well.
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There are a number of conflicting reports about where the new Mini hatchback will make its debut, incidentally. Some expect it to be in Frankfurt during the next motor show in September. But others suggest Mini might either wait for the L.A. Auto Show, in November, or even stage the launch at the Mini factory in Oxford, England, that month.
—By CNBC Contributor Paul A. Eisenstein. Follow him on Twitter
@DetroitBureau or at thedetroitbureau.com.
—Joe Szczesny contributed to this report.