THE world’s first six-door station wagon is set to surface in Australia late this year or early in 2016, just weeks after its international unveiling at the Frankfurt motor show in September.
Based on the same transverse-engine, front-wheel-drive architecture that also underpins the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer and the latest-generation Mini hatchbacks, the Mini Clubman eschews its predecessor’s 2+1 clap-hand door arrangement for four conventional side doors.
As before, a pair of barn doors take the place of a tailgate.
Mini’s aim is to greatly broaden the Clubman’s appeal to families, something the outgoing version’s gimmicky set-up hindered, particularly in right-hand-drive vehicles, which necessitated rear-seat access via the road side of the car.
As our rendering highlights, the showroom model will closely mirror that of the Clubman Concept from the 2014 Geneva Motor Show (barring the oversized alloys and useless door handles), complete with Mini-first horizontal tail-lights.
Aiding practicality as well as access will be a useful leap in size, the concept car being about 250mm longer and 170mm wider than the old Clubman.
With BMW focussing hard on improving Mini’s value-for-money (prices of the latest model are up to $5000 cheaper), a similar strategy would see the next Clubman priced below $30,000 for the base 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol Cooper, stretching to more than $50,000 for the 2.0-litre turbo JCW.
The top model may also get Mini’s All4-branded all-wheel-drive system, taking the price close to $60K on the road.
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