Mini Beachcomber concept car
* Hints of new Countryman * Inspired by '60s Mini Moke * Gets driver closer to the action...
This is the Mini Beachcomber concept car, that also hints at how Mini's new small SUV, the Countryman, will look when it goes on sale in September.
The concept car shares key elements of Countryman, from its four-door body to its turbocharged 1.6-litre engine and four-wheel drive underpinnings.
Inspired by the Mini Moke of the '60s, the Beachcomber dispenses with doors and a conventional roof. Mini says the car is designed to remove barriers between the occupants' and the environment in which they're driving be that driving through town, off-roading in the mountains, or cruising along the beach.
Not just all talk
It's not all marketing spiel, though, the Beachcomber concept car combines all-wheel-drive with uprated suspension and toughened bodywork to ensure it's robust enough to stray from the road. A higher-set ride and 'extra-large' alloys also bring a traditional 4x4 feel to the Mini.
There are also underbody skid-plates and all-terrain tyres to enhance the off-road abilities, but it's not expected the Countryman will be marketed as such.
Inside, the Beachcomber's large central dial and dashboard is in keeping with established Mini design, but rubber mats and waterproof upholstery are more suited to the car's open-air design.
The shape of Minis to come?
Gert Hildebrand, Mini's design boss, said: 'It's an ideas car that, depending on the sort of feedback we receive, may have a bearing on a future Mini production car.
'It's based on our forthcoming SUV, but we've injected added fun and off-road ability into it that we think could appeal to a certain type of Mini customer.'
The Mini Beachcomber concept car will be revealed in the metal at the Detroit motor show in January.