Mini showcases three Getaway concept campersMon, 22 Jul 2013 00:00:00 -0700
Mini has released three concept camping cars based on Mini models, each offering a huge variety of outdoor gear. The Mini Clubvan Camper has been rebuilt into the world's smallest luxury camper van, while the Mini Cowley has been coupled with a caravan trailer for two people. The biggest Mini of the group is the Countryman ALL4 Camp, which features a folding sleeping tent on the roof.
The three concepts have been built with Mini's philosophy of creative space utilization in mind, and each car wrings the most utility out of the car's smallish interiors and exteriors.
These won't be going into production, but that doesn't mean you can't accessorize one of these yourself.
The Mini Clubvan camper uses the car's cargo compartment as a sleeping berth for one person, with an extendible camping kitchenette attached. Perhaps the most impressive feature is a built-in handheld shower, drawing water from a tank stored beneath the load floor.
The Cowley Caravan makes a nice addition, and is sized just right.
The Mini Cowley is also based on the Clubvan, but it tows a Cowley trailer with two sleeping berths and a variety of camping equipment, including a twin-burner gas stove and a water tank. The on-board battery in the caravan trailer is charged via a solar panel, and the caravan also offers electrical outlets for powering other gear.
The tent folds in seconds, and you're ready to go.
The "range-topping" Mini Countryman ALL4 Camp is perhaps our favorite of the trio, but not just due to its size making it the best suited adventure vehicle, or because it's the sole car of the three with all-wheel drive. The roof-mounted sleeping tent with room for two makes it ideal for spontaneous trips and just for camping out on the beach, and there's still plenty of room inside for storing all your gear and attaching a couple of mountain bikes to the back.
Unfortunately, none of the three Getaway cars are slated for release, but given the variety of camping gear available out there it's not too difficult to build something close to these yourself, especially using a Mini Countryman.
It is interesting to see BMW's smallest offerings being given the camper treatment, and not, say, the BMW X5 or X6. The Mini Countryman is essentially being positioned as a sporty adventure vehicle, while cars like the X6 and the 5-series GT seem to be confined to city-only duty. The choice of platform for the outdoor-oriented concepts speaks volumes about the different audiences for the off-road-capable BMWs and the rapidly growing Minis.
By Jay Ramey