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Cars Next-gen Mini Clubman could be reinvented as an SUV

02:27  16 december  2019
02:27  16 december  2019 Source:   autocar.co.uk

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Mini is considering an increase in the size of the Clubman for its next generation , turning it into an SUV , while at the same time working on ways to reduce the external bulkiness of its three-door Chief designer Oliver Heilmer hinted to Autocar that the next Clubman could move towards an SUV format.

A prototype for the next Mini Clubman was spotted testing in our own backyard of California. Seeing the niche Mini so close to our Sport Utility of the Year test route is interesting. It's possible the Clubman could be marketed as a lifted soft-road wagon, similar to the Audi A4 Allroad and Volvo

Mini is considering an increase in the size of the Clubman for its next generation, turning it into an SUV, while at the same time working on ways to reduce the external bulkiness of its three-door hatchback model.

In the US, Mini is losing sales because it has only one SUV – the Countryman – which many Americans perceive to be too small to justify its purchase price. The shift towards SUVs has triggered a steep decline in hatchback and saloon sales, necessitating a dealer retrenchment.

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Home » International News » Next - gen F60 MINI Countryman to be a “proper” SUV . With the MINI hatch now available in five-door form and the new Clubman taking a more wagon-like approach, there’s room for the brand to take an SUV approach for the new Countryman, with a more aggressive offroad

The first generation of the reimagined, BMW-backed Mini was a simple things, confined to two body styles – hatchback and four-seat convertible. The growth in the Mini line isn't just limited to body styles, but overall production capacity, adding a new contract manufacturer in the Netherlands, with

Chief designer Oliver Heilmer hinted to Autocar that the next Clubman could move towards an SUV format. Currently, the six-door estate is only slightly shorter (4.26m) and wider (1.82m) than its Countryman sibling, and both occupy the same market pricing level.

a car parked on the side of a road © Provided by Autocar

It’s unclear at this stage whether the Clubman will become substantially bigger to differentiate it from the Countryman, or whether the latter will grow to provide two SUVs of distinctly different sizes. Heilmer refused to comment on Autocar’s report on the return of the Traveller name as an electric MPV sharing parts with the BMW i3.

He did talk about the efforts being made to improve the space efficiency of Mini’s next three-door hatchback. Heilmer said: “For future architecture, we’re having weekly discussions to improve interior space and reduce the car’s footprint. But it’s not solved yet. Maybe next year.” He also noted that the “development cost is also an issue”.

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Prototype for upcoming next - gen Mini Clubman spotted testing with four conventional doors and a After revealing the new Mini hardtop in various guises, the next new model in the pipeline from the Please consider whitelisting Autoblog. We get it. Ads can be annoying. But ads are also how we keep

The new MINI Clubman is the largest car MINI has ever made, and the latest model has ditched the old car's odd door layout in favour of traditional doors. The barn doors at the back remain, and the MINI Clubman is best to be seen as a rival for traditional family hatchbacks instead of being a true

“It’s not necessarily the internal combustion engine that needs the space – even with an EV (which has a smaller motor) you still need a crash box,” Heilmer continued, referring to the progressively deformable and substantial structure around the powertrain. “Crash performance is the bigger issue.”

Another challenge is dealing with “an electric motor that might keep running”. This is a post-crash circumstance that does not usually affect cars with internal combustion engines.

a car parked in a parking lot © Provided by Autocar

Heilmer was able to provide a bit of detail on how the next hatchback’s space efficiency – and proportions – might improve, with the news that Mini is considering a new type of energy-absorbent foam between the front bumper skin and the crash bar that could potentially reduce the hatch’s much criticised and excessive front overhang.

That the foam is more expensive is an issue, but Heilmer said “everyone is pushing to improve space efficiency”. Of the five-door hatch, which is the bigger seller of the pair, he says that the design team is working to improve its aesthetics “quite a lot”.

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Mini is testing out its second-generation, barn-door-equipped Clubman on the roads of Germany, allowing us to As is the case with the current Clubman , the next - gen will likely share its engines and gearboxes with the Hardtop Please consider whitelisting Autoblog. We get it. Ads can be annoying.

MINI is working on bringing a new Clubman model to market based on the new 2015 MINI Cooper, and our spy photographers snapped some pictures of Out back, the two opposing rear doors will remain the same, and operate the same as the current Clubman . Thanks to the vehicles growth, it will offer

“The footprint is most crucial with the hatch,” he said. “Size is less of a problem with the other models.”

“I want each model to be the smallest in the segment, or visually the smallest. But small may not be helpful for sales,” he admitted – hence the possibility of a larger Clubman.

Heilmer said that the design team has also been reconsidering the Mini’s “iconic features”, adding: “The face recognition is very important, but the tail-lights may not stay iconic. We’ve got to be proactive, not reactive.”

The clamshell bonnet is not necessarily a must-have and, inside, the toggle switches are being re-evaluated. “They’re good on the hatch, less so on the others perhaps,” Heilmer said, suggesting that future larger models could ditch the retro cabin touches.

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