10 September 2008

Not-so-Mini

Mini shows off 4x4 concept. This one's going to be built. Definitely

Mini Crossover Concept

Rumours of a Mini SUV have been knocking around for, ooh, years now. It may be anathema to some, but if you had any doubt that a 4x4 Mini was in the pipeline, here's proof - the Mini Crossover Concept set to debut in Paris early next month.

Before we take a look around the standard concept trickery, here's the big news: This is going to reach production. Definitely.

OK, some of the glitzier bits might not make it, but - like it or not - a four-door, four-wheel drive Mini is happening.

'Mini', however, is a bit of an ambitious claim. At over four metres in length - more Focus size than Fiesta - and 1.6 metres high, the Crossover Concept ain't small.

Despite the size, though, it's a strict four-seater - the two rear chairs are separated by a centre rail to which, Mini asserts, you can attach 'cupholders, storage units and entertainment consoles'.

Or, bizarrely, a bespoke set of dishes and cups, created by German potters Porzellan Manufaktur exclusively for the Concept Crossover. We predict breakage issues.

Equally strange is the Crossover's door arrangement, which puts the mildly odd single suicide approach from the Clubman to shame.

Three of the doors open in the normal fashion, but the rear drivers-side door is a Peugeot 1007-style sliding effort.

There's also a side-hinged boot featuring a retractable window, and a folding roof which extends the length of the car. Simple, eh?

Unusually, there's no mention of what powertrain the Crossover will use, or how the four-wheel drive system might work. Efficient diesels would seem likely, but given Mini's penchant for the wacky (sorry, the 'wacky') it could well be fuelled by whimsy and bonhomie.

No doubt all will become clear in Paris.

 

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