Mini's new Crossover 4x4 is undergoing final testing ahead of launch in late summer 2010 – and BMW is plotting two different bodystyles, CAR has learned. As well as this practical estate, a new sportier concept is under development. Think a Mini version of the X6 and you won't be a million miles away.
The revelation means that the John Cooper Works badge is almost certainly bound for the production iteration of the Crossover. Sources have told CAR that the Crossover's four-wheel drive system and the availability of BMW's high-power engines meant a hot JCW version is inevitable. Sportiness is a central part of the Mini appeal, after all.
Watch the Mini Crossover in our latest spy clips by scrolling to our video player below.
Mini Crossover: why it will be so sporty
Mini's new baby SUV will share plenty of technology with the upcoming BMW X1. It's not based on the existing Mini R56 architecture, using instead a development of the X1's X drive system. Spies have already observed how this prototype is using BMW group alloy wheels.
And a raft of high-performance engines will be on offer: CAR understands a couple of the existing Mini engines will appear in the Crossover, but there will also be a new twin-turbo diesel engine. Contrary to earlier reports elsewhere, this won't be the 123d's motor, but a new powerplant using the same bi-blower know-how. It'll appear first on the Mini before spreading to other BMW-badged products.
It's not all about high performance, though. This sector (think Toyota RAV4) is heavily biased to affordable running costs, so Mini is equipping the Crossover with the very latest in its Efficient Dynamics tech with stop-start and other penny-pinching gizmos.
The Mini Crossover will be built in Austria by Magna Steyr. It won't be the first BMW to be built by the subcontracting specialist: Munich already spins off X3 production to Magna.
When can I buy the new Mini Crossover?
The new Mini Crossover is likely to be launched at the 2010 Paris motor show, with sales starting in September/October 2010. There will, however, be one more concept before then – with the accent on flexible seats (the 2008 concept had four distinctly sporting seats, whereas the production car will have pews for five and a high-up 'command' driving position) and more gadgets (like the spinning globe sat-nav system).
We'd expect the estate Crossover pictured to be launched first. The sportier Crossover will follow – and we'd bet a wodge of cash that it'll be campaigned as a rally car to trade on the rich heritage of sporting Coopers from a different era.
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