What Is It?
Mini Clubman Concept
What's New About This Model?
The Mini Clubman revealed at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show may be a concept, but it paints a clear picture of the next-generation model almost assuredly heading for production. First and foremost, it is bigger and will feature two rear doors instead of the single, passenger-side rear door of the current Clubman. This will allow it to compete better with other four-door hatchbacks.
In total, there would be more differentiating a future Clubman from the regular Cooper than there is presently.
Is It Mini in Size as Well as in Name?
The Clubman Concept is more than 10 inches longer than the current Clubman and a whopping 15.5 inches longer than the recently introduced, next-generation 2014 Mini Cooper. It would be 4.5 inches wider than both. In other words, it clearly isn't just a Cooper with some extra doors.
In fact, this Clubman Concept is 5 inches longer and 2 inches wider than the Mini Countryman, although the quasi-SUV is 4.5 inches taller. The concept is even an inch longer than the VW Golf, so no, this new Mini wouldn't be that mini.
How Is It Similar to the Current Clubman?
The current Clubman's distinctive double barn-style cargo doors carry over to the concept, albeit with the taillights integrated into the doors. Previously, they were built into the car and the doors had cutouts for them.
What's the Interior Like?
The Clubman Concept's cabin is pure fantasy and not a gussied-up variant of a production version. Beyond the more minimalist design and bold blue-and-red color scheme, an interesting prototype for a future electronics interface resides on the center console. Three Mini-style toggles control the central circular screen, with assigned functions that change depending on the currently selected infotainment choice (audio, navigation, etc.) or driver preference.
We wouldn't expect to see anything like that in a production version, and although some semblance of the concept's broader design may survive, something more akin to the 2014 Cooper is likely.
When Does It Go on Sale?
This is still a concept. We'd expect a production Clubman to arrive in dealerships no sooner than a year from now.
What Models Will It Compete Against?
Ford Focus ST: Ford's own hot hatchback is certainly in the mix as well, bridging the gap somewhat between the rather staid GTI and more flamboyant Mini.
Mini Countryman: It's hard not to think of the potential for a future Clubman to step on the current Countryman's toes — and perhaps vice versa. The Clubman Concept is bigger in most dimensions except height and (presumably) weight, meaning it would likely handle better.
Volkswagen GTI: The Clubman Concept is similar in size to Volkswagen's Golf, and given Mini's emphasis on performance and handling (regardless of engine choice), it seems like the GTI would be the prime competitor.
Should You Wait for It?
If you're considering a Mini Cooper but are worried that it won't be big enough to serve as your daily driver, the production version of the Clubman Concept could be your answer. Just be prepared to wait a while, however, as it's at least one year away. If you can't wait, the existing Countryman serves a similar purpose.