One of the many things that make video games so great is the opportunity to play make believe, using the ones and zeroes of the virtual world to generate some truly inspired creations. It’s essentially a blank slate where designers can have things their way, completely circumventing the joy-killers of accountants and regulatory bodies. It’s a medium where an idea can go straight from the brain to the simulated environment, pristine and untainted.

Gran Turismo has been a champion of this for years, and through its Gran Turismo 6 Vision project, the game has offered the chance for several major auto manufacturers to present an idealized concept of the perfect performance machine.

Mini is the latest to do so with its Clubman Vision. Given the Mini’s long racing history and associations, it’s little surprise: “The image of a go-kart on the road has recurring appeal," says Anders Warming, Head of Mini Design, in a press release.

I’ve often lambasted Mini for producing cars that get fatter with each successive year. Finally, it looks like those criticisms have been met (albeit virtually).

Continue reading to learn more about the Mini Clubman Vision Gran Turismo.

  • 2015 Mini Clubman Vision Gran Turismo
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • 0-60 time:
    6 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    100000 (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2015 Mini Clubman Vision Gran Turismo High Resolution Exterior
- image 618941

For the past decade and a half, the Mini has been about cuteness. It’s been less a machine and more of a complement for a handbag and toy dog. With the Clubman Vision, that changes. Instead of making a fashion statement, this is a Mini for clipping apexes and pushing 10 10ths. 

Let’s start at the nose. Combining large inlets, louvers and a massive splitter, it’s obvious from the get-go that this super-hatch aims to punch a big hole through the atmosphere. It’s low and mean, sucking in the road surface below. The underbody is made from a flat sheet of carbon fiber, lowering both drag and weight.

Mini says the aero can regulate airflow into the engine bay and brakes to keep things cool. The fenders are more than flared – they extend the body to make the Clubman Vision enormously wide, promising high levels of grip. 

Those familiar oval Mini headlights are still in place, but come with a large black X across their surface. This is a nod to the old-school racers that would tape their lights so any broken glass from an impact wouldn’t litter the track. The modernized headlamps now use four separate LED elements to provide illumination, one within each section of the X. The front grille is elongated to take advantage of the extra width, and is sheathed in a black chrome surround. The design makes additional allusions to the Mini’s rally heritage with upright windscreen wipers, twin fog lamps in the grille, and the obligatory racing stripes stretching along the length of the car. Snap fasteners keep the lightweight hood firmly pinned down during competition. 

Moving to the side, we see a broad, sweeping profile, accentuated by an extended roofline and a single, continuous tinted window that appears to include the pillars as it wraps its way from front to back. Mini says the new lines endow the car with a stretched-out appearance, and I agree. The doors are also elongated. Bookending these features are two bulbous sets of fenders, which somehow swallow up the huge 22-inch bi-color wheels both fore and aft. We also see a small ventilation window and a quick-release filler cap, both standard motorsport appointments. 

In back, the Clubman Vision is puffed out even more, filling in space left by the wide wheel arches. The double spoilers that ride on the rear roof lip mirror the split doors in the hatch. The taillights are wider to match the body, and feature LEDs set in a self-contained band encircling a central graphic. A robust diffuser finishes the flat carbon underbody, while twin exhaust pipes are integrated into the beefed-up bumper.

Players can choose from five paint finishes. The basis is a hue called Cyber Silver, which incorporates a dab of mint green to offer a “modern interpretation of the classic British racing tradition.” This is contrasted by racing stripes and accentuation stripes along the hood and roof, with the standard version coming in Reflector Blue, with accentuation stripes in Radiant Orange and Curry. Roof color also comes in Mirage Black and Space Green. Finally, additional stripe colors include Radiant Yellow, Radiant Green, and Radiant Orange.

Drivetrain

2015 Mini Clubman Vision Gran Turismo High Resolution Exterior
- image 618943

Pumping the muscle into this Mini is a 395-horsepower engine (probably an inline-four cylinder gasoline unit with a honking turbo), which feeds into a sequential six-speed transmission. This is all routed to a permanent AWD layout (probably some race-bred derivative of Mini’s ALL4 system) for a 0-to-62 mph time of 3.5 seconds. It’s also capable of prodigious four-wheeled burnouts (whoever said AWD was just for traction?). Top speed is maxed out at 180 mph, but varies thanks to an adjustable final drive that can be tuned for any given track. Longer straights equal taller gears and more top end, while tighter twists equal shorter gears and greater acceleration.

The suspension includes fully adjustable dampers front to back for optimum grip and handling characteristics. These will need a good deal of attention from tuners to maximize the AWD system’s capabilities. Finding the right balance can be tricky, especially when going for that slingshot effect off a corner.

Competition

Infiniti Vision GT Supercar Concept

2015 Infiniti Vision GT Supercar Concept Computer Renderings and Photoshop
- image 599310

With looks to kill and the performance to back it, Infiniti didn’t mess around when crafting their own Visions concept. The body is swoopy and curvaceous, a voluptuous blend of functional downforce and bedroom poster. I say “functional” because Infiniti actually crunched some simulated numbers when designing the thing.

That very specific attention to detail is continued in the drivetrain, where a 4.5-liter V-8 is paired with a single electric motor for a front-midship layout feeding the rear wheels. Weight distribution is balanced at 45:55 front to back, while several young engineers were tasked with refining the handling characteristics through multiple virtual on-track test sessions.

While faster than the Mini in a straight line, at an estimated 2.8 seconds to 60 mph and a top speed of 200 mph, the Mini might have the Infiniti through the bends, with (presumably) lower weight and AWD traction. But given a long-enough straight, the Infiniti is sure to reel the Mini in, which should make for some interesting battles.

Chevrolet Chaparral 2X VGT Concept

2015 Chevrolet Chaparral 2X VGT Concept Exterior
- image 578808

When you talk about concepts that are as absurd as they are awesome, it’s hard not to mention the Chaparral 2X VGT. The first thing to hit you is the way this thing looks. You might think the car exists only as a fun exercise in virtual design, right up the point you learn Chevy actually built a rolling example. Composite materials are abundant, with each wheel self-contained in individual pods, including all the mechanical bits needed to make it stop and go. That makes for light weight, while aerodynamics are built right into the body (as opposed to protruding out from it). The driver lies in the cockpit headfirst like a skeleton bobsledder, with all necessary information projected onto his or her helmet visor.

Here comes the really crazy part. The drivetrain is apparently powered by a pack of lithium-ion batteries, but the juice doesn’t run to electric motors. Instead, a 671kW laser beam is used to create “shockwaves” equivalent to 900 horsepower. 0-to-60 happens in 1.5 seconds and top speed is 240 mph.

A wearable race car powered by lasers? Yeah, sounds about right.

Conclusion

2015 Mini Clubman Vision Gran Turismo Drawings
- image 618931

This is the kind of car I want to see from Mini, but it’ll probably never happen. In all likelihood, what we’ll get is more of the same: larger, more cumbersome models, specifically tailored for certain “lifestyles” (I’m looking at you, Countryman.)

But maybe, just maybe, Mini will see the error of its ways and instead focus on that “go-kart on the road” attitude that initially made the brand famous. A Mini used to be about punching above its weight and zipping around with handling characteristics that made it a real contender in the world of rally (please don’t mention the ALL4 Racing version that competes in Dakar. That’s as much a Mini as the Toyota in NASCAR is a Camry).

Is this new Vision a prophecy of the future? I certainly hope so. But for now, all you can do is hit download to load your favorite track.

  • Leave it
    • * Only polygons
    • * No laser beams

Press Release

Inspired by the brand’s legendary motor racing success, the MINI Design Team has created the essence of a MINI to enable maximum racing performance in the game Gran Turismo®6 for PlayStation®3. "MINI has many highly emotional achievements to its name in motor racing. The MINI Clubman Vision Grand Turismo literally puts these onto the virtual race track in Gran Turismo 6. The image of a go-kart on the road has recurring appeal," says Anders Warming, Head of MINI Design.

2015 Mini Clubman Vision Gran Turismo High Resolution Exterior
- image 618940

The 395 hp engine accelerates the MINI Clubman Vision Gran Turismo from 0 to 100km/h in just 3.5 seconds. A sequential 6-speed transmission directs engine power to the permanent all-wheel drive system, guaranteeing optimum power transmission at all times, while gear shifting is achieved using wheel-mounted paddles. Fully adjustable dampers at the front and rear ensure an optimum connection with the road. The maximum speed is up to 290 km/h, depending on the gearbox ratio (specific to each race track).

The evocative design of the MINI Clubman Vision Gran Turismo is geared uncompromisingly towards motor racing. "The MINI Clubman Vision Gran Turismo combines all the hallmark MINI design features presented in the sportiest and most exciting style. A MINI like this has never been seen before," says Christopher Weil, Head of MINI Exterior Design.

Pure motor racing flair in the front section.
The uncompromising orientation of the MINI Clubman Vision Gran Turismo from 0 to 100km/h to motor racing is apparent at first sight: enormous air inlets and precise air ducting surfaces dominate the low front perspective. The large central air inlet reaches down to just above the ground, almost merging the MINI Clubman Vision Gran Turismo visually with the virtual road surface. The front splitters regulate airflow to cool the high-performance engine and brakes. The wide track with broadly flared wheel arches promises agile handling when taking bends at speed. At the same time, the horizontal alignment of the air ducting elements makes the front section appear very low, with precise lines highlighting the wide track. As a technical highlight, the front apron and flat underbody are made entirely of carbon. This not only reduces air resistance, it also slims down overall weight in the chase for the best lap time.

All the familiar MINI design icons in the front section also reveal a highly dynamic design. The elliptical headlamps feature a black "X" familiar from the long-distance races of bygone days. Back then the headlamps used to be masked so as to prevent the headlamp glass from splintering as a result of stone impact or collisions, thereby avoiding broken glass on the track. The MINI Clubman Vision Gran Turismo echoes this element, giving it a modern interpretation as four separate LED light elements separated by a black X inside the ellipse. The continuous, hexagonal radiator grille has a flat, sporty design to emphasise the car’s wide track and encased by a high-end black chrome surround. Further references back to the brand’s glorious rally achievements of yesteryear are the upright windscreen wipers, the small additional headlamps and the accentuation stripes on the bonnet, roof and rear.

2015 Mini Clubman Vision Gran Turismo High Resolution Exterior
- image 618941

Maximum sporty flair in the side view.
The side reveals a MINI styling that has been injected with a whole new dynamic power. The car “crouches” on the road with a flat and broad silhouette. The characteristic curves dominate the upper section, making the MINI Clubman Vision Gran Turismo instantly recognisable as a MINI. The elongated roof and the low, continuous windows appear to stretch the virtual MINI. In conjunction with the rising shoulder line they trace a slight wedge shape. The voluminous shaping below the narrow window graphic is an instantly striking feature. Almost reaching down to the ground, the powerful bodywork conveys optimised aerodynamics and perfect road-holding in visual terms. The elongated doors are embedded in muscular, tightly modelled surfaces. Precise lines emphasise the broadly flared wheel arches at front and rear - a reference to the permanent all-wheel drive. The dynamism and clarity of the lines increase in the direction of the road. This gives the surfaces a more athletic effect as well as highlighting the three-dimensional quality of the side sections. The conspicuous side sill catches a lot of light, visually reduces the height of the car and traces a line which emphasises the completely flat underbody. The wheels are placed well to the outside of the body, thereby facilitating the proverbial go-kart-style handling. 22" bicolour rims add an elegant touch of sporty flair, while racing details such as snap fasteners on the bonnet, a small sliding window and quick-release filler caps perfectly round off the car’s side appearance.

Broad shoulders and powerful rear wheel arches.
The perspective most likely to be admired by gamers and opponents is probably the rear. Expansive wheel arches and a marked shoulder section make for a self-assured posture. In between, a three-dimensional surface design enlivens the rear view. The striking split doors of the MINI Clubman Vision Gran Turismo are given clear graphic emphasis, while the double rear spoiler ensures downforce at high speeds. As is typical of MINI, the rear lights in LED technology are designed as self-contained elements. They feature an intricate filigree design in the form of a surrounding band with rib graphic, including integrated brake lights and driving lights. The horizontal alignment of the lights underscores the car’s broad posture as well as the dynamism of the rear section.

As at the front and side, the lower section of the car features a very precise and dynamic design. Aerodynamic openings break through the smoothly modelled surfaces, giving them character and vigour. Form follows function: air outlets and ducting surfaces in carbon are located precisely where they can take optimum effect. Lower down, the completely closed and flat underbody further enhances the car’s refined aerodynamics.

2015 Mini Clubman Vision Gran Turismo High Resolution Exterior
- image 618942

Power and character from the top view.
The top view is also frequently seen in game. An athletic silhouette reveals the power and racing heritage of the MINI Clubman Vision Gran Turismo. The front section faces up to the wind with a wide track and the filigree, finely detailed body almost merging in behind. The muscular expansion at the rear means it also gains width running back to the rear axle. This is set through with precise lines and bonnet stripes that create a cohesive overall image and a general impression of self-contained unity. The continuous base line of the body remains recognisable at all times within the surrounds.

Five paint finishes provide variety.
The MINI Clubman Vision Gran Turismo would not be a real MINI if it did not offer customisation options. With a total of five colour variants, players can adapt the MINI Clubman Vision Gran Turismo visually to their own personal preferences during the game. The MINI Design Team plays with contrasts here, boldly combining apparently incompatible colours which nonetheless interact to fascinating effect. The basis is always provided by Cyber Silver, a technically cool tone with a hint of mint green that offers a modern interpretation of the classic British racing tradition. This paint finish varies in appearance depending on the light angle, showing up the full depth of the car’s powerfully expressive surfaces. Contrasting with the body colour there are stripes running across the bonnet and roof, the roof itself and the accentuation stripes alongside the bonnet stripes, known as pin stripes. In the standard version, the roof makes a self-assured statement in Reflector Blue with accentuation stripes in Radiant Orange and Curry. In the other variants, the roof is available in Mirage Black or Space Green. Depending on the roof colour, the bonnet stripes and pin stripes then provide fascinating modern contrasts in Radiant Yellow, Radiant Green or Radiant Orange

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