New MINI Clubman concept revealed
More practical version of new MINI will go on display at the Geneva Motor Show
The central console of the new MINI Clubman concept will allow operation of the car's satellite-navigation, heating, the music player and other functions and gets a big update over the current car. It now features three ‘intelligent’ toggles on a touch-screen interface. Specific functions can be assigned to these switches – allowing the driver to operate them without taking their eyes off the road.
Anders Warming, head of MINI design, said: "With the MINI Clubman concept we are presenting a car with space, flair and style in a segment where the focus is mainly on function and utility. With clever ideas, emotional design and a cool blend of colours and materials, it offers an overall experience which remains unique in this segment to date."
It’s not all about fancy gadgets in the MINI Clubman concept car, though. A longer, stockier frame has given the otherwise small car a larger, more athletic appearance. Vents at the side and the front of the car make the MINI Clubman Concept more aerodynamic, too, while 19-inch alloy wheels and a spoiler at the back of the roof both add to this bold look. It's uncertain whether these will be available on the production model.
Not everything’s changed, though. The same circular headlamps and an attractive front radiator grille are just a few of the details carried over from the new MINI hatchback. MINI designers have purposely included these to prevent the MINI Clubman concept car losing the distinctive personality created throughout the company’s history.
On more conventional cars, you access the boot by lifting one door, but the MINI Clubman is covered by two vertically split rear doors that open like those at the back of a van. This makes accessing the MINI Clubman Concept’s boot and loading items incredibly easy, while extra storage spaces in these doors and a boot floor that can be lifted for extra storage, aim to make this a very practical car indeed.
Exterior changes have made the new MINI Clubman's five-seat interior very spacious and the company has given it a striking design, too. Parts of the inside feature Sky Blue, Berry Red and black leather – and this concept version even gets Union Jack's stitched on the seats and on the dashboard.
Adrian van Hooydonk, head of BMW Group Design, said: "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.”
The MINI Clubman concept is likely to use the same petrol and diesel engines from the new MINI hatchback. That means a pair of 1.5-litre, three-cylinder petrol and diesel engines for the MINI Cooper Clubman and Cooper D Clubman, as well as a more powerful 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine for the new MINI Cooper S Clubman.
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