Next Generation Clubman To Be Countryman Based

UK auto magazine Autocar is reporting that MINI is very seriously considering several variants on the MINI Countryman. Old news to MotoringFile readers but there are a few interesting tidbits. Most notably that an upcoming Moke (aka Beachcomber) variant would include a pair of rear-hinged “suicide” doors similar to the Honda Element. While the Moke would likely follow the Beachcomber’s higher stance and off road persona, real that back in for a road car and what have you got? Autocar seems to believe you’ve got the next Clubman.

Company sources say two versions of the Beachcomber are on the drawing board at the Mini design studios in Munich.

One is close to the concept and known internally as the Moke. The other is a shorter, three-door version dubbed the Canyon Coupé. The two cars are being considered alongside the sporting Countryman coupé, revealed by Autocar on 1 September. The starting point for the new Moke is a pillarless version of the new Countryman platform, which is also intended to underpin the next-generation Mini Clubman.

The pillarless design will enable the fitting of rear-hinged rear doors on both sides of the car, addressing criticisms (from right-hand drive countries such as the UK and Japan) of the current single-rear-doored Clubman.

Although the raised sill on the Beachcomber concept was, apparently, sufficient to meet most side impact regulations, the production Moke proposal has four proper doors, with the rear doors rear-hinged.

Is it fact or rumor? We’ll loop you in as we learn more. What do you think? Is the sky falling if the Clubman departs from its current hatch foundation? How do you current Clubman owners feel about two club doors? Sound off in the comments.

  • Hmmm! Clubman is a Clubman that’s fact… So a next generation clubman based on a Countryman, will most likely be a crossover. And I like my Clubman/08 as it is, however, I look forward to a diesel engine there is more powerful than it is today.

  • hardingsan

    i would love a second suicide door, but only if it’s the same height off the ground as the current clubman. personally, i have plenty of space so i wouldn’t need it to grow in any manner (besides hp)…

  • Brian

    That is a great render.

  • alpinamike

    I think the render looks more Sub. outback.

    Beachcomber would be more open door after the proto.

  • Goat

    The Clubbie is my favourite of the currently sold cars. I do like the r60 for the AWD variant though… If the next were to adopt the r60 platform but ditch its towering ride height for something more sporting, that would be ideal.

  • So a next generation clubman based on a Countryman, will most likely be a crossover.

    I wouldn’t bet on that.

  • Rakey

    When I questioned the future for Clubman earlier in the year at the Countryman preview I was told that it would continue in its present guise until we see new hatchback, and until then it was planned that numbers would as the niche car that it is.

    Then the future, well that Clubman update would be with two suicide doors so as not to make it country specific. There was no mention of it being based upon the Countryman chassis, it was talked about more as a follow on in its current positioning so as not to detract from the Countryman.

    But I could guess that things always change in planning of product development, and if they foresee capacity issues or different customer targeting it could possibly move to Countryman base and Austria.

  • Well it may never happen, but I like that photoshopped version a lot.

  • Phil

    hummm…the Clubman is based on the “regular” cooper and should continue to do that. It has always been an extended cooper so to speak. Basing it on a wider platform makes little sense since the whole front half would then not be shared with the next gen regular cooper… The countryman will likely host the beachcomber and/or mini-van if any. That’s my 2cents.

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  • What do you think? Is the sky falling if the Clubman departs from its current hatch foundation? How do you current Clubman owners feel about two club doors? Sound off in the comments.

    I would hope the next generation of Clubman will be with only 1 club door. Mostly because there is wind noise from it, and that is something I would want to have in my side (left side)

    I will say -One club door and a bigger diesel engine in the next gen./mkII

  • Chilly

    I would so love to see a vehicle built that looks like the image above, to me it’s much nicer looking than either the Countryman or Clubman.

  • Captain

    Love our ’08 Club. We travel with 2 kids in the back and 2 large dogs in the boot. We would prefer 4 doors and no other significant changes from the existing hatch foundation.

    If the choice was 3 doors on the hatch foundation or 4 doors on the R60 foundation, I would choose to stick with the 3 doors. Of course, 2 club doors on the existing platform would be ideal.

  • Nick Dawson

    Nathaniel – the photograph in your report is of the proposed Countryman Coupe which is still in an early stage in the design process. Autocar commissioned a professional car designer to imagine how a typical Mini design studio proposal would look. One of the options for the new coupe – which if it gets the green light will arrive in late 2013 – is to have a four door layout with rear suicide doors on both sides of the car and no B-pillars. The next generation Clubman – which BMW is said to be committed to – is expected to use the same format, so the engineering work needed to eliminate the B-pillars from the Countryman platform could be shared between the two cars. According to Autocar sources, a decision on giving the green light to either the Moke or Cayman Coupe is expected by the start of next year, partly to allow bosses to guage the initial sales of the Countryman. A decision on the Countryman Coupe is said to further away.

    • Nick, you’re correct. That is not a next-gen Clubman rendering. The Autocar story is about possible MINI variants based on the R60, including the Clubman. We don’t have a rendering of that car, so we grabbed this image – only because it’s a rendering of a possible Countryman variant. Though it is indeed a stab at the Countryman coupe, it doesn’t take much imagination to make the leap to what the Clubman could one day be like. We’re not trying to pull a fast one on you guys or anything, we’re just working with the imagery we’ve got.

  • lasersailor

    Gabe, I don’t think I saw this addressed in MF’s Countryman intro articles: how would you compare the manual tranny 2011 Clubman S and the FWD Countryman S? Acceleration, cornering, utility, fun-to-drive, got-to-have factor? What things would make a prospective buyer choose one over another? Thanks.

  • Greg W

    Where do the designers get their ideas? From a bar downtown? This look like the new little Range Rover that Posh Spice is promoting. For all those in left hand markets – Please put the clubdoor on the left hand side so us in RHD markets can safely exit on the sidewalk.

  • Kevin D Hudson

    The styling on that looks a lot better than the countryman, as long as they get rid of that integrated hood scoop thing that looks so awful. Also, Gabe, where is the full review for the 2011 MCS refresh? Just ordered one, and would like to hear what you think of them.

  • SFRedMCc

    I was surprised to see “SW” (station wagon?) on the CA registration for my 2008 Clubman. Does anyone know how states determine their “body type” classifications? All these new “variants” are really going to confuse them.

    The current height and size my Clubman is perfect for me. Another Club-door on the driver’s side would be a plus, but didn’t they nix that idea early on because of extra engineering costs? Also I think they said that adding a 4th door would require all new crash testing.

  • The single rear-hinged door makes no sense in right-hand-drive markets – it helps the rear passengers get out into the traffic! So 2 clubdoors makes good sense. Leveraging the engineering of a pillarless “sports” model for those doors is brilliant!

  • grueinthebox

    Base it on the hatch – don’t bloat it up or make it any heavier than necessary. Build it in Oxford – MINIs being built in Austria is just wrong.

  • how would you compare the manual tranny 2011 Clubman S and the FWD Countryman S? Acceleration, cornering, utility, fun-to-drive, got-to-have factor? What things would make a prospective buyer choose one over another? Thanks.

    What… and ruin a future comparison? 🙂

    The Clubman is faster and more fun in every way. The Countryman has the best steering feel of any MINI. The Countryman has more usable space. The Clubman has almost the same space that isn’t as usable.

  • Hoover

    @grueninthebox: From the build quality reports, it sounds like building this in Austria is just right.

    If the R60 platform allows for 4 side doors, I’m all for it. A little more interior and cargo room, on a slightly longer wheelbase (smoother ride)–fine by me. Would I prefer a wagon with 4 proper doors and a hatch? Definitely. But I don’t think that is going to happen. The club doors and barn doors differentiate this model. I’m guessing they would carry them over, but who knows? I’m not a BMW bean counter. I am sure they have figured out what makes the most financial sense to their global market. Perhaps that includes my dream wagon down the road, but I’m not holding my breath.

  • Jonas

    Yeah… Clubman needs at least a 150hp 2.0L engine from BMW or even more (the 184hp from the new 20d would be amazing). The 110hp that it has currently are good but you get tired of them quickly.

  • MINIme

    If MINI doesn’t produce something very similar to the Beachcomber concept (removable doors, more aggressive stance), I won’t be buying. The Countryman is a possibility if/when a bench seat is available. I am hoping there will be some aftermarket companies that will provide parts for raising the stance to fit some real truck tires. I realize this goes completely against what most MINI purists desire for the brand, but isn’t individuality one of the characteristics that is common to most of us MINI enthusiasts?

  • Greg W

    Spot the difference between the above rendering and the Range Rover Evoque – was this the same designer?

  • grueinthebox

    @Hoover: A little more interior and cargo room, 4 proper doors and a hatch? Sounds like you don’t want a Clubman anyway – you want a Countryman!

    I’m sure there are a lot of folks like yourself that don’t care where the cars are built… I’m equally sure there are others like me who are happy with the build quality of their British-built MINIs and would like to see them continue to be built in the UK to at least maintain that link with their roots, even if the company is German-owned.

  • Hoover

    @grueninthebox: No, I really want a wagon. The problem is, I don’t care for the design of the Clubman, and I think that is the closest thing that we are going to get to my ideal vision of a MINI wagon. If I had to choose today, I would opt for a Countryman over the Clubman. Just a matter of taste. But we’ll see what the future brings to the Clubman. Of course, I speak as though I have any say in the matter. The choice will be up to my wife as I continue to happily motor along in my bare bones (British-built) R56 Cooper. I’d bet that she’d choose the Countryman, along with most of the US population.

  • Andy

    This is awesome! Yes, it is like a an Subaru Outback, but that is a good thing. Now people that love MINI and the outdoors have the perfect car to unite their passions!

  • TurboDave

    I posted this earlier on here somewhere but now can’t remember where. Just saw the Mini Clubman in person for the first time (in an unexpected way: at a stoplight by Giants Park it crossed the intersection WITH A CLASSIC MINI ATTACHED TO THE ROOF. Uuuuhhhh … WT?!). And I must say it is pretty sharp. Big but not too big, still looks like a Mini.