With the introduction of the MINI Cabrio upon us one wonders what MINI has in store next in the MINI line-up. Granted I personally don't believe MINI will be releasing anything new before they bring out the R56 (code name for the next gen MINI) in One, Cooper, and Cooper S form starting around late 2006 and 2007. But let's not allow that stop us from speculating…
Nor does it stop EVO. In their latest edition they revive the four year old MINI Clubman rendering first released to the press before the 2000 Paris Auto Show. They also speculate on the what and when of the stretched MINI:
“The new MINI estate may not be produced by BMW, but that doesn't mean the German firm won't build a load-lugger of its own. These computer-generated images were revealed on the MINI stand at 2000's Paris Motor Show – and as you can see, the car bears a striking resemblance to the Castagna version.
Along with the picture of the estate – dubbed the Clubman – visitors to the event were shown images of a convertible MINI, as well as a pick-up. The Cabrio has already reached the production phase, but it is not yet known whether a flat-bed variant will ever go on sale.”
Of course we've already seen what a independant firm can do in regards to a MINI wagon – it'll be interesting to see whether MINI themselves follow down that same path in terms of design. I would suspect they are thinking pretty hard about adding doors rather than simply stretching the car. Even small, RX8 like doors, would greatly improve the functionality of such a concept.
We've already received strong indications that the car is on the planning boards at MINI however whether the car will sport two or four doors remains to be seen. My money is on four since Dr. Panke, chairman of the BMW Group, mentioned it!