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Spied: Next-Gen Mini Clubman Mule Caught Testing in California

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 1/9/2015 Alex Nishimoto
Mini Clubman prototype© Provided by MotorTrend Mini Clubman prototype

A prototype for the next Mini Clubman was spotted by our own Jonny Lieberman. The test mule was seen in California near our Sport Utility of the Year test loop, and looks very much like the concept we saw in Geneva last year and other testers we've spied previously.


The prototype features the long roof and rear barn doors the current Clubman is known for, but like the concept from last year, this car gets a full set of rear doors. The dual exhausts could signify that this is a higher-performance S model, but the wheels and ride height seem to rule out the possibility of it being a John Cooper Works model. Seeing the niche Mini so close to our Sport Utility of the Year test route is interesting. Our SUV testing route is known to automakers, so perhaps Mini is running the Clubman along the loop to position it more as a crossover alternative. Now that the Clubman has four full doors, offering both that model and the new Mini four-door Hardtop seems a bit redundant. Putting more of a crossover spin on the Clubman could help differentiate the two models, though where that leaves the Mini Countryman is uncertain. We've heard previously that Mini plans to reduce its lineup to five models, and as far as we know the Countryman is expected to make the cut. It's possible the Clubman could be marketed as a lifted soft-road wagon, similar to the Audi A4 Allroad and Volvo V60 Cross Country.

Another Mini Clubman prototype was also recently caught by our spy shooter in Europe, who was able to get a look at the interior. We can see the dashboard and center console design differ from the Mini Hardtop, with the Clubman getting an electronic parking brake switch instead of the standard Cooper's lever. This prototype also features square HVAC vents instead of round. Just like with the current model, drivetrain options are expected to mirror those offered in the Hardtop. As for what else besides the rear barn doors and added length will set the Clubman apart from the four-door Hardtop, we'll have to wait and see.

Photo Credit: Jonny Lieberman, CarPix


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