These pictures show the best view yet of the upcoming 2010 Mini softroader, codenamed project R60 in BMW speak. The latest spy photos reveal the Mini 4x4 with less disguise – helping our artists to draw up these two new impressions to show what the sporty Mini SUV will look like.
Our images suggest the finished model will be something of a cross between the Mini Clubman estate and regular Mini hatch, but pumped up with a higher ride height and some styling accoutrements to lend some mud-plugging muscle. The roofline is markedly different from the regular Mini bodystyles and that hatchback is a conventional lift-up lid, eschewing the barn doors of the Clubman.
All very sober and Germanic you might think, but imagine one of these splashed with rally livery tearing through a Welsh forest spitting fire and harrying Subarus and Evos. Interested? Thought you might be.
That'll be the John Cooper Works spec Mini Crossover, then?
You got it. Although most Mini crossovers will be front-wheel drive, we know there will be four-wheel drive versions higher up the range. All four corners will be driven on the JCW model at the top of the tree and with at least 210bhp from a turbocharged 1.6 petrol, it'll provide sufficient go for nearly 150mph top speed and 0-60mph in around 7.0sec.
Insiders at Mini have hinted that this Mini 4x4 JCW could be campaigned on the rally scene. We already know (and love) the Works version of the standard hatch, but imagine a stripped-out version running (as one forum writer suggested last year) the Paris-Dakar, or ripping through a Finnish forest, barking at the trees.
What about the bread-and-butter Mini 4x4s?
We know it will be here in 2010, unveiled at the March 2010 Geneva motor show. We know that insufficient capacity at Plant Oxford means the Mini crossover will be built in Austria’s Magna Steyr factory. And we know it will be available with all of the usual Mini niceties such as stop/start, turbocharged petrol and diesel engines and a good quality fit and finish. For more clues, check out the Mini Crossover concept car shown at the Paris show in 2008.
CAR understands the SUV will carry a likely £1500 premium over the equivalent spec Clubman, with UK sales slated for late summer 2010 from around £16,000. What will the name be? The bets are still on.
Sources have told CAR that this model will be more forward-looking than the rest of the retro range – and so is likely to wear a new badge. Some have punted the Countryman badge as a contender but we understand that, although BMW has registered the name as a Mini trademark, it is deemed to carry too much baggage for what is quite a different proposition.
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