LONDON – Mini unveils a futuristic electric-powered, self-driving concept car to celebrate the 100th anniversary of parent BMW.

Called the Vision Next 100, the compact 4-seater showcases a new design lineage for the brand that eschews the retro look of today’s Mini models for a more contemporary appearance with modern proportions. It was developed as a response to what the British automaker describes as an ever-more digitalized and interconnected world.

The new concept also highlights plans for autonomous driving and digital intelligence technology Mini says will ensure an improved personal mobility experience by offering greater personalization and additional services.

The Vision Next 100 has been conceived to pick up its driver from a desired location in fully automated fashion and adapt itself to pre-programmed personalized preferences before it arrives.

“Our latest concept looks to offer bespoke personal mobility. In the future you might not actually have to own a vehicle to enjoy the benefits,” BMW design boss Adrian von Hooydonk says, hinting at a broadening of the automaker’s short-term rental activities through the Drive Now program.

Mini says autonomous-driving technology will allow future models previewed by the Vision Next 100 to travel occupant-free to a charging station, car wash, garage or the next user.

The new Mini concept adopts a 1-box silhouette without a defined hood, but with an elongated windshield. The stubby front end is distinguished by Mini’s classic hexagonal grille and round headlamp treatment.

Further design elements include thin LED lamps positioned on the leading edge of the front fenders and across the full width of a subtle rear spoiler, plus prominent wheel houses, a high beltline and floating roof. Wide tracks and minimal overhangs accent the car’s aggressive wheels.

Despite a focus on digital virtues, von Hooydonk says analog qualities will become increasingly important in providing cars with a premium look in the future.

To this end, the concept incorporates 2-piece wheels in which the outer surface remains static and a disc behind it rotates with the tire. The idea, von Hooydonk says, is to make each wheel look like a piece of mechanical jewelry.

The Vision Next 100 holds true to the time-honored Mini maxim of providing the maximum possible space within the smallest possible footprint, though the design team provides the car with a body described as “not so far removed from the first Mini back in 1959” in terms of overall size.

At 142.5 ins. (3,620 mm), it is 22.0 ins. (560 mm) longer than the original Mini but 10.6 ins. (270 mm) shorter than the current Mini hatchback.

The length is significant, as it once again previews plans for a smaller Mini model positioned beneath the existing hatchback, following the earlier Rocketman concept.

The compact dimensions are a result of a reduced need for crash-zone deformation in future models owing to the adoption of a zero-emission drive system mounted at the rear, eliminating the bulky mechanical components of a conventional engine sitting up front.