Mini to show bigger Clubman variant

Mini's Clubman variant concept, shown, is longer, wider and taller than the current Clubman.

LONDON -- Mini will debut a concept for a longer and wider Clubman model this week at the Geneva auto show.

Mini wants the Clubman to better compete against premium brand rivals and appeal more to families. The concept is 10 inches longer than the current version at 166 inches. It's also 7 inches wider and 1 inch taller than the current model.

"The concept prepares the brand for entry to the compact premium class," a Mini spokesman told Automotive News Europe.

The production version, due next year, is likely to closely resemble the concept.

"Mini has a history of taking its concept cars to production largely unchanged," the spokesman said.

The Clubman five-seat concept has four doors instead of three in the current car. Sales of the current Clubman have lagged behind other Mini variants, partly because buyers haven't liked the quirky rear-hinged door that gave access to the rear seats.

Mini also is improving the quality of the Clubman's interior and adding practical features such as storage pouches in the rear doors and a separate underfloor storage area in the trunk.

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