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BMW confirmed the lamest excuse for a secret in the automotive world today when it officially approved the MINI Crossover Concept for production. As most MF readers will know, BMW has been working on the Crossover for years now with hand-built drivetrain prototypes starting tests way back in late 2007. In fact BMW currently has Munich built prototypes doing winter testing in Arctic circle.

Edmunds was on hand at the European Convertible launch and got this official statement from MINI:

>”After going over the large amount of feedback from experts and the public, we approved the Crossover for production just four weeks after it debuted at the Paris show,” says head of Mini brand management Wolfgang Armbrecht.

As we’ve reported for over a year, look for the Crossover to be offered as both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive and have four full sized doors (unlike the concept).

>Mini exterior design boss Marcus Syring says the production design will be revealed at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show in September, promising: “It will look very much like a Mini SUV needs to look.”

>Armbrecht said the Crossover will launch first as a front-wheel-drive urban mini SUV; an optional BMW-X-drive-derived four-wheel-drive system will go on sale later. Both are set to be built by Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria.

However the most interesting part of the news came when they started talking specifics about pricing and drivetrains:

>The Crossover in Cooper trim with front-wheel drive will start just above the base price for a Cooper S convertible: around $29,000. A Cooper S four-wheel-drive Crossover should be priced at or above $34,000. Since style and functionality are more the point than sportiness, there will be no John Cooper Works edition of the Crossover.

>Mini says the 1.6-liter engine could be twin-turbocharged at some point for a future top version beyond the Cooper S. Europe will get diesel engines capable of up to 45 mpg but, as usual, North America won’t. All markets will receive the four-wheel-drive version with a serious lower range of crawling gears.

The twin-turbocharged engine will likely not appear before the Crossover debuts in late 2009 and may not even surface until the next generation MINI starts production sometime around 2012.

+ Coming in 2011: Mini Crossover / Inside Line