- MINI Clubman concept points way for productoion model due by 2015
- Longer, wider and with a pair of rear doors its more practical than before
- Interior quality is improved with new materials and technology offered
It may only be a concept for now, but it’s clear the new MINI Clubman concept will soon be coming to our roads. This more practical – it has rear doors on both sides and is 260mm longer than previous – version of the stylish sports estate that came before is now targeting premium family hatchbacks like the Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3.
There’s no official word about an on-sale date, but with the new hatchback already released you can expect this lifestyle estate to follow by the start of 2015.
The biggest news is those doors, the previous car being criticised for only having one rear door on the driver’s side here in the UK, which then opened straight out into traffic when parked at the side of the road. Now with an opening on either side, and what will become a three-seat bench on the production car, the Clubman is far more practical.
Not every opening has changed though, and the boot is still accessed by a pair of vertically split doors which swing open to reveal a large (but more lifestyle than load-lugger) load space.
Up front the typical MINI design detailing remains, with bold oversized headlamps flanking the familiar hexagonal grille. There’s also a new one-piece continuous air inlet which forms the front AirCurtains which improve the front end’s aerodynamics and improve both economy and emissions.
Otherwise it’s fairly standard MINI fare with a bold, strong shoulder line, wrap-around glass house and floating roof. The latter gives way to an elaborate double roof spoiler which sits above the horizontally orientated rear light clusters.
Inside there’s been a leap forward in quality, with new materials, controls and instruments available – including tweed, wood and leather all given a modern twist. The central display no longer functions as a speedometer but will display a variety of information at the driver’s request, including satellite navigation functions.
As yet there’s no official word on engines or gearboxes, but it’s fair to say that the Clubman will follow on from the hatch in this department and offer a range of petrol and diesel engines with the option of manual or automatic gearboxes.