It likely won’t surprise you to know that the MINI Clubman concept that debuted in Geneva is really not a concept at all. But the similarity between the concept and the final production vehicle is perhaps closer than we originally thought.
Take away the 19″ wheels, inset door handles, trick side mirrors and a few other exterior pieces away and you’re looking at the 2016 MINI Clubman. Furthermore inside there’s less that is concept than you might expect.
What to Expect in 2016: The Exterior
While the entire car is wider (noticeably so) the nose from the bumper up should be almost a carbon copy of the F56. What we see in the concept’s bumper design is MINI’s first integration of BMW’s air curtain and air breather system. This has dictated a new look at one of the more controversial aspects of the F56’s design.
The side mirrors will be identical to the F56 but the side scuttles will offer some slight variation. relating to that, MINI will move the model name (i.e. Cooper or Cooper S) to the side scuttle area to create a more obvious hierarchy between car and model.
Around back look for the Clubman to feature a large MINI logo as the door handles for the boot. The handle will split when opened creating a trick looking logo that will be hard to miss.
Finally don’t expect to see that dual-pains sunroof on the production version of the Clubman. In its place will be a more standard unit similar to the version see on the F56.
Beyond those change What you see in the exterior of the concept is pretty much what you get in the production version of the 2016 Clubman.
What to Expect in 2016: The Interior
Here’s where things get interesting. As much as the exterior looks like a stretched version of the F56, in reality it’s quite a bit wider as well as longer. That has allowed MINI designers to take a fresh look at the interior add a few features not found in the F56. To start with the dashboard is completely different than the F56 and features four square air vents rather than square and round combination currently used. The middle console houses different HVAC controls and a toggle design that is recessed more than the F56.
There’s also a real center console that allows for heating and cooling vents to fit between the front seats and aim at the rear passengers. And speaking of those passengers, the extra width allows for a true three person bench seat – decidedly wider than the current Countryman.
With the Clubman MINI will also introduce an option all digital instrument package that replaces the analog dials in front of the driver. While it’s unclear what MINI will offer in the way of features, you can imagine that the options are limitless.
When We’ll See it
The Clubman will debut in production form early next year and should hit dealer lots around summer of 2015. Why so late? MINI first has to release the four door F56 (decidedly shorter and narrower than the Clubman) the convertible and of course the JCW F56.
We’ll have more on the Clubman (including the plug-in hybrid model) in the coming weeks and months.