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Mini Clubman concept revealed ahead of Geneva motor show

Wed, 26 Feb 2014

Mini previewed its upcoming new Clubman with a lightly veiled concept of the larger, reconfigured five-seater. It makes its public premiere at next week's Geneva motor show. While the Mini design team took some design license, the new car's exterior closely resembles the 2015 North American production model.

A new high-strength steel platform, shared with parent company BMW's 2-series Active Tourer, underpins the third-generation Clubman. Hoping for more versatility and thus a sales increase, the new Clubman loses its predecessor's single quirky left-side rear hinged coach door for more-conventional four front-hinge frameless doors. The traditional rear barn-style rear doors remain.

Further changes center around size; the car grows considerably. At 166.3 inches long, the latest Clubman is 10.2 inches longer than the model it replaces. Meanwhile, at 72.6 inches wide and 57.1 inches high, it is also 6.7 inches wider and an inch higher than before. Mini hasn't confirmed the wheelbase and track widths, but they are similar to the BMW 2-series Active Tourer for more interior room and luggage capacity.

The exterior styling closely relates to the smaller Mini hatchback's, revealed at the Los Angeles auto show last November. The concept has traditional Mini design elements like a chrome hexagonal grille, oval-shaped headlamps, clamshell hood, rounded front fenders, blackened pillars, floating roof, largely unadorned flanks, black cladding in the wheel arches and those side-hinged rear doors.

Recessed headlamps feature daytime running lamps forming a ring in the housing, while so-called air curtains in the tailing edge of the front-wheel arches resemble those BMW uses lately. Nineteen-inch wheels and tires, and exterior mirror housings mounted on chromed arms and tail lamps turned 90 degrees from their position on the production car give the rear end more horizontal emphasis.

Inside, the clean modern dash points to future models' design direction. Material quality is better, including several different colored leathers, various wood trims and chromed controls, all for a more-upmarket feel.

By Greg Kable