Okay, lemme guess… it’s a MINI?
What gave it away? It is indeed a MINI, and while the company may be branding it as a concept for its Geneva Motor Show debut next week, you’re essentially looking at the next-generation MINI Clubman.
More or less everything, even if it’s very distinctly a MINI. The new Clubman will be based on the brand new MINI hatchback going on sale this year. If that’s not new enough for you, then the differences to the old Clubman should be easy enough to spot.
There’s an extra door, for a start. Just the one, since the old Clubman had an asymmetrical layout with an extra half-door on the driver’s side. Now it gets a pair of proper rear doors that should make the Clubman a whole lot more practical – though the rear side-hinged “club doors” remain, giving the car its name.
Practicality is the name of the game. It’s 26 cm longer than the old Clubman and a not-insubstantial 17 cm wider, both of which will have liberated some much-needed rear legroom and boot space.
What’s under the bonnet?
This being a concept, there’s no official word yet. Though it doesn’t take a genius to assume it’ll carry the same lineup of powerplants as the MINI hatchback.
For a quick refresher, that means two three-cylinder, 1.5-litre units – a petrol and a diesel – and a four-cylinder in the Cooper S. All are turbocharged, though non-turbo versions could appear in lower-end models. We’ll have to wait and see what the production Clubman brings.
Anything else I need to know?
MINI has shot for an upmarket image with the Clubman Concept, with Berry Red exterior paintwork, a silver roof, plenty of chrome (including chrome finishing on the 19-inch alloys) and unusually for a MINI, recessed pop-out door handles on all the doors.
Inside is where the Concept differs most from the eventual production car – widespread use of leather, including neat sky blue nubuck leather details on several surfaces, gives the interior a real lift. As do the high-tech graphics on the central display and instrument panel – both of which will be toned down if the production MINI hatch is anything to go by.
Giving the Clubman proper doors to the rear seats actually drops it into quite a wide market, as does the increase in size. Pretty much any B- or C-segment hatchback could be considered a rival, from Fiestas to Focus and everything in between. Given MINI’s funky image we’d suggest slightly posher rivals – Audi A1 and A3 Sportbacks perhaps, depending on the Clubman’s eventual price point.
In a line:
Don’t be fooled by the concept tag – this is basically the next Clubman.