Mini Offers Sneak Peek at Clubman Concept

When is a Mini not so mini?

by on Feb.26, 2014

The Mini Clubman Concept grows 10 inches longer.

Mini isn’t wasting time rolling out new variants based on the all-new platform developed for its third-generation Hardtop.  Showgoers will get an idea of what it has in mind when the British maker pulls the cover off the new Mini Clubman Concept at the Geneva Motor Show next week.

Expected to give a good indication of what to expect when the next-generation Clubman goes into production, the Concept is longer, wider and a good bit more up-market in appearance than the current five door – six, if you count the split barn doors at the rear as two.

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“The Mini Clubman Concept shows how the Mini Clubman could be taken a step further: more interior space, a greater sense of high-end quality and yet still clever, bold and distinctive. In short: more car, more Mini,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design, explaining the approach to this model.

The interior of the Clubman Concept is decidedly more upscale than the current model.

(Check out the new Mini Hardtop JCW. Click Here.)

The question is whether a Mini can be a Mini if, well, it’s not quite so mini.  The maker’s latest Hardtop is a full 4.5 inches longer, 1.7 inches wider and 0.3 inches higher than the old hatchback.  And the 5-seat Clubman – at least in Concept form – gains even more, dimensionally, coming in about 10 inches longer and 6.5 inches wider than the current version.

As with the Hardtop, the Mini Clubman Concept undergoes a number of fundamental changes, both inside and out.  There’s the revised hexagonal grille, updated, elliptical headlamps and side indicators and larger, more stylish taillights.  Add chrome to create more bling, and improved aerodynamics that we expect to deliver better fuel efficiency despite the expanded vehicle footprint.

Inside, and again like the Hardtop, one of the key changes comes with the move of the speedometer from the center stack to the gauge cluster visible behind the steering wheel.  The Clubman Concept now gets a new center instrument display that, it says, “creates an event-controlled interaction space with touch operation.”

We anticipate that, like the U.S. version of the Hardtop, the Clubman Concept will use varying colors and intensities of light to show how you’re setting everything from the temperature and fan to the volume of its sound system.

The Mini Clubman Concept retains the current model's 6-door, 5-seat layout.

Moving beyond the techie features, the overall appearance of the interior is decidedly more  lavish and well-appointed than the fairly utilitarian Mini Clubman now on the market.

We’ll likely have to wait until Geneva to find out more about what’s powering the Mini Clubman Concept, though we’d expect the same mix of three- and four-cylinder gas and diesel powertrains now on tap for the Gen-3 Hardtop.  And, if so, improved fuel economy – as well as performance – can be anticipated.

The turbocharged three-cylinder, incidentally, was developed in cooperation with parent BMW – which will be using it on the new 2-Series Active Tourer, among other models.

(Click Here to check out the new BMW 2-Series Active Tourer.)

There are other places where we can see Mini tapping the BMW toolkit with the new Clubman Concept.  Among other things, it’s got AirCurtains up front to improve aero around the wheels, as well as being the first Mini fitted with the new AirBreather system.

We’ll certainly have more to reveal about the new Mini Clubman Concept as covers the Geneva Motor Show next week.

(Sales booming, Mini scrambles for capacity. Click Here for more.)

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One Response to “Mini Offers Sneak Peek at Clubman Concept”

  1. John Dodd says:

    The current Clubman is NOT a 4 door car, but a 2 1/2 door, with the half door on the passenger side for easier access to the rear seats…the Countryman is the 4 door model…FYI

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