MADRID, Spain — The Mini Clubman's unusual, three-door configuration evolved during the entry-premium car's development.
“This is a thing only Mini would do,” said Ulrich Kranz, director of Mini engineering and product development, during the car's press launch here.
The Clubman debuted at the Frankfurt auto show this month. It is the third model in Mini's lineup, following the three-door hatchback and convertible. Sales in Germany begin in November; U.S. sales start in the first quarter of next year.
Mini designed the Clubman to create additional space for rear-seat passengers and more cargo space without sacrificing the go-kart driving experience that Mini enthusiasts expect. Some Mini owners and enthusiasts had complained that the three-door hatchback was too small for their needs.
The challenge was to increase the vehicle's wheelbase for more rear-seat comfort and the rear overhang for more cargo capacity without harming the car's iconic styling. And Mini wanted to do it with minimal increase in cost and vehicle weight.