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Geneva show: Mini Clubman to get six doors

Doors all round: Mini’s new-generation Clubman looks set to get six doors – two on either side and two at the back.

Mini swaps quirkiness for maxi practicality as it turns Clubman into proper wagon

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Mini logo26 Feb 2014

By RON HAMMERTON

MINI’S new-generation model roll-out continues apace with the planned unveiling next week at Geneva of a new Mini Clubman, this time with a stretched body and six doors that turn the vehicle into a proper compact five-seat wagon.

Although the Geneva car is billed as a concept, it looks close to production ready – give or take a few fanciful flourishes – and probably for sale in Europe later this year.

BMW Group Australia general manager corporate communications Lenore Fletcher described the concept as looking sensational, but said she had no word on any production plans for it.

“If it were to go into production, we would definitely put our hand up for it,” she said.

The Clubman concept retains the split-opening “barn” doors at the back, but dispenses with the quirky side door design of the current model that has one passenger-side door and two on the driver’s side – a full-sized door and a little rear-hinged door for rear-seat access.

The new Clubman looks set to get two conventional doors on both sides for greater convenience, making it easer to enter the vehicle while also putting an end to the problem in right-hand-drive markets of rear-seat passengers having to enter the car from the traffic side, instead of the kerb.

At 4223mm long, the stretched Mini is a whopping 402mm longer than the new three-door Mini Cooper that is due in Australia soon, potentially making it the biggest Mini ever built.

It is also 260mm longer than the previous Clubman, as well as 170mm wider (1844mm) and 25mm taller (1450mm). These dimensions promise considerably more space for occupants, as well as a larger cargo area.

Releasing images of the new car ahead of the show, Mini design head Anders Warming said the Clubman concept would have space, flair and style in a segment where the focus was 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," he said.

Like the new Cooper which was jointly unveiled at the Los Angeles and Tokyo motor shows last November, the Clubman is set to get a high-quality interior.

Also like the Cooper, the Clubman will sit on BMW’s new compact UKL small-car platform that will spawn a range of other vehicles across the group, including the 2 Series Active Tourer that will also make its debut in Geneva.

The Clubman concept gets a roof-mounted rear spoiler that, because the back barn doors open from the middle, is split in two. Down below, a black rear diffuser houses twin exhaust pipe tips.

The dash has rounded binnacles for both the instruments and centre management screen, like the Cooper, although some of the details can be taken with a grain of salt. Expect the conventional trim and detail of the new Cooper.

No powertrain details have been provided, but again, expect the same engine and transmission line-up of the three-door version, with a choice of four-cylinder turbo petrol and new turbo-charged three cylinder petrol and diesel units, hooked up to six-speed automatic and manual transmissions.

The turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine pushes out 100kW of power at 4500rpm – up 10kW – and 220Nm of torque from 1250rpm – up a substantial 60Nm over the previous Peugeot-sourced unit.

The new 1.5-litre three-cylinder diesel produces 85kW – up 3kW on the current 1.6-litre four-cylinder diesel – while retaining the same 270Nm of torque.

The Cooper S gets BMW’s TwinPower direct-injection 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with 141kW at 4700rpm and 280Nm from 1250rpm (300Nm with turbo overboost).

The Clubman concept follows hard on the heels of the Mini Cooper JCW that made its debut in January’s Detroit motor show.

Still to come are the expected Mini Cabrio and Roadster.

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