Mini crosses over into new sector

  • 24-Sep-2008 05:03 EDT
The Mini Crossover concept to be shown at the 2008 Paris Motor Show explores many door concepts.

BMW's Mini brand is set to expand its range. At the Paris Motor Show, the all-wheel drive Crossover Concept was revealed, signaling a production version expected to slot into the company's MY2010 model plan.

The four-seat Crossover has four doors and an overall length of 4074 mm (160.4 in) on a 2606-mm (102.6-in) wheelbase, which stretches the basic Mini ethic beyond ultra-compact dimensions. The car is 1830 mm (72.0 in) wide and 1598 mm (62.9 in) tall.

With major visual cues reflecting the established Clubman, the concept is likely to be aesthetically very close to a production version. As always with Mini, the Crossover is likely to have a range of personalization choices.

Although the concept features many typical Mini characteristics, the door configuration is highly unusual. It has two conventional doors on the front passenger and driver sides, but the door for the rear passenger on the driver's side slides. It is designed to improve passenger access and for more convenient loading. But there is no indication by Mini that such complex closures would make it to production.

The Paris concept's tailgate has a frameless, retractable window. When open, the door swivels to one side. A "transport case" can be fitted externally to the tailgate to provide added load capacity. A long, folding roof is fitted to the concept.

With its larger overall dimensions, the Mini Crossover (the name may be shortened for the production car) has more stowage space than any other model in the range.

Four individual seats are fitted. The rear pair can be adjusted longitudinally through 130 mm (5.1 in) for added legroom or more packaging versatility.

The front and rear seats are linked visually by a center rail, an aluminum center console that extends through the middle of the car to the rear. It incorporates a fastening system for the attachment of cupholders, storage units, and entertainment consoles that can be passed between the front and rear passengers.

The concept’s Center Globe features a display and control console that incorporates all major entertainment, telecommunication and navigation functions. It can be personalized independently by both driver and passenger as the display is shown in two hemispheres; for example, it allows the passenger to surf the Net while the driver follows the navigation. Operated by a touch-sensitive surface and using laser projection technology, it can also be programmed by a trackball situated on the steering wheel, by buttons or slide controls in the lower section of the globe, or by a keyboard that extends from the dashboard on the passenger’s side.

Engine choice is likely to be similar to other Mini models and will include a stop-start function. The production crossover will probably be available with a choice of two- or four-wheel drive.

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