Rumors have it that this new piece of optional equipment for the 2018 MINI Cooper was introduced after the company’s CEO spent an entire night in a 24/7 supermarket parking lot unable to get in his car.
After a long day at work, the MINI chairman wanted to make a quick stop to get some groceries for home. He reversed his MINI Copper S into an open spot right next to another car, but since it was parked to the edge of its space, he had to get very close to the other vehicle so he wouldn’t perpetuate this.
Twenty minutes later and with a bag full of stuff, he came back to his car only to find it boxed in by a second vehicle that had parked on the other side. With the tailgate pressed firmly against the parking lot’s wall, there was no way for him to get inside. He waited for one of the other drivers to show up, but it was all in vain. In the end, he had to give up and call a taxi.
But that was just a fight he lost, not the entire war. The next day, he called a meeting with the company’s designers and engineers and, not very long after, they started working on a revolutionary new feature for the 2018 MINI Cooper. After what happened, the CEO decided that no MINI owner would ever carry their groceries home in a taxi, because the future MINIs will have scissor doors.
Yup, the stuff previously reserved only for Lamborghinis and other similar exotic supercars will make its way on the tiny MINI. Only the three-door versions will get it at first (MINI, MINI Paceman and MINI Convertible), but the rest will follow shortly (MINI 5-door, MINI Clubman and MINI Countryman).
The team managed to reduce the width needed to open the doors on both sides by 30 percent, dropping from 2,681 millimeters to just 1,930 millimeters. That essentially means that the new MINI will be able to squeeze into any parking lot and, once it gets there, it will also allow its driver to gain access to the car no matter how close to the car others will park.
Furthermore, the scissor doors aren’t just spectacular to watch, they’re also full of technological features. “The doors can be opened and closed as standard via remote control,” explains Dalf Rietmann, Head of Special Equipment Management with MINI. “In conjunction with Comfort Access, which is subject to an additional charge, the MINI can be opened and closed by means of a button on the door handle without having to use the remote control. It is sufficient for the ignition key to be in the user’s trouser pocket, for example. In the future the idea is to enable opening and closing of the car via smartphone using the MINI Excitement App.”
The safety aspect has obviously not been ignored, so not only are they very resistant to side impacts but they also feature a pyrotechnical emergency opening system called PEE – Pyrotechnic Emergency Exit. It’s safe to say that MINI thought about everything when it came up with this system, but the funny part is that it all started because of a melted ice cream and some spoiled fish that couldn’t make it home in time due to a space issue.