AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
MINI has decided to move ahead with production plans for the Beachcomber Concept, but the new model could take one of two very different directions. According to a report by AutoCar, company product planners are currently debating between two different models: a two-door Countryman, called the Canyon; and a 4-door rendition of the classic Moke.
While technically sporting 4-doors, the Moke would feature rear suicide doors that hinge at the back. Looking more like the Beachcomber concept, the Moke would have a dune-buggy-like style with lift-out roof panels and a rear window that could drop into the rear liftgate to give a Jeep Wrangler-like open air feeling.
On the other hand, MINI may opt to move ahead with the Beachcomber as a two-door sportcross model – essentially a two-door version of the new Countryman.
The debate rages on a MINI and while we’d actually like to see both models make it to market, the Countryman is more likely considering the greater potential for significant volume sales.
MINI appears ready to expand its product lineup some more with the addition of the Beachcomber. First shown at the Detroit Auto Show this year, the Beachcomber Concept rides on the Countryman’s new crossover platform and takes inspiration from the tiny Moke model, which the brand offered from 1964 to 1993.
In an interview with AutoExpress, MINI brand manager Dr Wolfgang Armbrecht hinted at the vehicles production plans stating that, “We will come back to this to see if there is a business basis, as we were overwhelmed by the reaction. MINI will never show a concept that won’t make production.”
Now there isn’t a lot of competition for a vehicle like the Beachcomber, although the Jeep Wrangler could be considered a rival and lower down on the scale there’s the possibility that Kia could finally bring its Soul’Ster to production as well.
MINI’s new Countryman crossover hasn’t even officially debuted and yet the creative minds at the fun British car company have already turned the platform into a new concept: the MINI Beachcomber Concept.
Based on the Countryman’s platform, the MINI Beachcomber Concept takes the crossover’s capable ALL4 all-wheel drive system and sets it free on the sand-dunes with a dune-buggy style, plus the open air Jeep-like feeling of no doors or roof.
The concept also takes cues from the original MINI Moke, especially the lack of sheetmetal and the radiator style grille.
MINI won’t comment on production possibilities, but even if it does make it to market, it won’t be for a while. The Countryman crossover is set to debut first. MINI has promised more news on that new model in a month’s time, with the vehicle’s official on-sale date set for late 2010 in Europe and early 2011 in the U.S.
GALLERY: MINI Beachcomber Concept Debut in Detroit
With MINI almost set to unveil its Countryman Crossover, the British brand is already looking towards its next project with the MINI Beachcomber Concept. This open-air vehicle is based on the same underpinnings as the Countryman: the Crossover Concept. It also features the brand’s new ALL4 all-wheel drive system, which is expected in the Countryman.
Previous reports pointed towards the Beachcomber as being something like the MINI Moke, and for the most part the analogy seems correct. And with no doors and an open roof, it’s easy to make the comparison to Jeep’s Wrangler – although we’re sure the sporty MINI brand won’t deliver the same sort of off-road capability. As for a powerplant, it’s likely to house the same turbocharged 1.6-liter four-banger already shared across the MINI lineup.
MINI hasn’t said anything about the possibility that the Beachcomber could see production and while it does seem far-fetched, certain elements are likely to make their way into special editions of the Countryman. For our part, we’d like to see this toy make it to the streets – if for no other reason than to see if it really can hop a sand dune. That, and it just looks like a lot of fun to drive.
We’ll be sure to bring you more details on this concept when it officially debuts at the Detroit Auto Show in a few weeks time.
GALLERY: MINI Beachcomber Concept
Official release after the jump: