UK Automotive tabloid Autoexpress has long held a tradition for being the most sensationalist automotive weekly in the English language so it’s with that knowledge that we share the following information. The British weekly magazine is reporting that MINI intends to create a seven seat version of the Countryman. Their rational seems to be nothing more than a off-handed comment made by MINI Head Dr. Wolfgang Armbrecht at the recent Countryman launch. However the comment and the figure thrown out by the good Dr. doesn’t seem to add up to seven seats. Here’s the quote from AE:
According to Dr Wolfgang Armbrecht, global head of MINI brand management, the Countryman could definitely be made even bigger. â€œWe could take the wheelbase from 2.60m to around 2.70m,â€ he said.
Yes 10 cm is just under four inches. And with that amount of additional wheel base Autoexpress believes MINI can stretch the already small Countryman enough to accommodate another row of seats. The only way we could see this possible would be to add a row facing rear-ward. Of course BMW has always shied away from doing this in their wagons due to safety issues. But nevermind those little details.
MINI is considering green-lighting the radical Beachcomber concept that debuted at this year’s Detroit Auto Show. That news comes from Dr Wolfgang Armbrecht (head of MINI band management) via Autoexpress. We can indeed confirm this having shared a similar conversation over dinner with the good Dr. at the Countryman launch last week. As he told Autoexpress, MINI has been blown away by the reaction to the concept and is studying the potential of a production version. As both Gert Hildebrand and Dr Armbrecht implied to me last week, the business case would be relatively straight forward in that it would share many components with the R60 Countryman. Further it would give the MINI brand another authentic.
Now that we’ve had some time to digest the week that was, we thought we take a look back at not only the BMW stand at the 2010 NAIAS but also the entire show. So for your Sunday view pleasure, we’ve compiled all of our photography from Detroit in the slideshows below. Enjoy.
While the Beachcomber is a concept, there are many items on the car that are lifted straight from the production version of the R60 crossover. We’re going to set the record straight on what is and what is not part of the R60.
Starting in the front, the hood (sans the reverse air inlet) and headlights are all taken straight from the R60. The bumper? Purely part of the concept meant to invoke the Moke. The size indicators? Those will be carried over with the exception of the “Beachcomber” badge.
Moving from front to back the mirrors are production albeit moved from the original position due to the Beachcomber having no doors. On the side of the car you can clearly see where the doors’ shut-lines are and in turn get a feel for the size of the openings of each. Finally around back the taillights are also production ready and taken from the R60. However one thing to note, the satin finish trim will be replaced with chrome on the final production R60. continued →
One of the surprises to come out of Detroit was how many journalists loved the idea of the Beachcomber. The reaction to the concept was overwhelmingly positive to the point that we wonder if MINI is actually considering building the car. Since it’s not prohibitively expensive to reengineer the R60 crossover into something like the Beachcomber, MINI could get away with a relatively low volume to get back their initial investment. So the potential is there. But would you, as the MINI enthusiast, ever considering buying one? Let’s hear it below:
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