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Mini Crossover Concept Preview

Mini Crossover Concept Preview

By Jeff Youngs, February 24, 2012

Critical Knowledge:

  • Six inches wider and taller than the MINI Clubman
  • New sliding side door and rear hatch
  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Innovative globe-like navigation system
  • Expected to see production for 2010

Introduction
Launched in 2001, BMW's MINI brand reinvented the classic "Mini-Minor" style of the late 1950s with updated chassis technology and modern safety advances while retaining the popular small-car formula. Now in its second generation, the original 3-door hatchback was followed by a convertible version in 2005 and a 5-door "Clubman" in 2008. The stretched Clubman platform added interior room and improved versatility to the compact front-wheel-drive MINI lineup. Following on the popularity of the Clubman, BMW will preview the all-new MINI Crossover Concept at the 2008 Paris Motor Show.

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Exterior Design
Differentiating itself from the MINI Cooper 3-door, convertible, and Clubman, the MINI Crossover Concept has grown by 6 inches in width and the same in height. Sitting noticeably taller than the standard models, and with a more aggressive wheel and tire package, there is no mistaking the "sport utility" objectives of this crossover concept when compared to its siblings. A muscular metallic grille adds a strong presence in the front while the roof of the concept features a large folding cloth panel for open-air driving if the weather permits. The Clubman's innovative 5-door configuration has been redesigned with conventional front doors, a sliding rear side door (in minivan style) behind the driver, and a single standard-sized hinged door on the passenger's side that replaces the small "suicide" door found on the Clubman. The dual rear cargo doors found on the Clubman have also been swapped out in favor of a single large swing-away door offering an unobstructed approach to the cargo area.

Interior Design
The interior of the MINI Crossover Concept presents a more radical styling treatment than the exterior. Four individual bucket-style seats are positioned to offer expansive room within the larger cabin. Bold contrasting colors accent the interior to give passengers a stylish atmosphere while retaining a very functional feel. With completely revised instrumentation, the center of the dashboard features a unique navigation system designed around a large, circular globe-like interface. The climate vents on each side of the cabin mirror the styling treatment of the centerpiece focal point.

Hardware
With the familiar MINI 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine choices (normally aspirated or turbocharged) under the hood, the suspension will likely be the same 4-wheel independent front MacPherson strut and multi-link rear suspension as found on the current models. Of course, the Crossover Concept will arrive with standard all-wheel drive, possibly a version of BMW's xDrive system. The MINI Crossover Concept is expected, with manufacturing changes, to make it into production for the 2010 model year.

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