Although MINI plans to introduce a new five-door Cooper later this year, it appears they plan to keep the Clubman. The photo above is of a Clubman concept at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show, and the disguised shot is of an actual second-generation Clubman prototype under development.
The new Clubman will keep its signature split tailgate but see its single suicide-style rear door replaced by two conventional rear doors. The new Clubman will also feature different tail lights compared to those used on the third-gen MINI Cooper Hardtop, with which it will share the BMW Group’s new UKL front-wheel-drive platform.
Another major change is the size of the vehicle. As confirmed by the concept, the new Clubman will be almost as big as a BMW 3-Series Sports Wagon. The enlarged version of the UKL platform it will ride on will also be used for a seven-seat BMW 2-Series Gran Tourer as well as a possible MINI ‘Traveller’ MPV.
BMW Group CEO Norbert Reithofer has suggested in media interviews that the MINI might eventually launch up to 10 different models, and there have been numerous reports suggesting one of these will be an MPV that could revive the ‘Traveller’ badge. The original Mini Traveller, or Morris Mini-Minor Traveller, officially, was a smallish van that in some generations even came with bolted-on wooden body parts, and MINI may stick with the traditional name just as it did with the Clubman and Countryman that were also borrowed from the original Austin-Morris lineup.
MINI’s third-generation Cooper, now on sale at Braman MINI of Palm Beach, was launched with a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine delivering approximately 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque (169 pound-feet with overboost function) in the base model, while a 2.0-liter four-cylinder offers 189 horsepower and 206 pound-feet of torque (221 pound-feet with overboost) in Cooper S trim. It is likely the same engines will feature in the new Clubman. Further down the track, expect to see a more potent John Cooper Works model.
Buyers can also expect some new safety features across the new MINI lineup. These include a head-up display, collision and pedestrian warning systems, a parking assistant and even a speed limit information system. Look for the new MINI Clubman to reach the Braman MINI of Palm Beach showroom later this year as a 2016 model. By this point, MINI will already be selling its new Cooper Hardtop, the new Cooper five-door and a new Cooper Convertible.