Posted Apr 20th 2012 4:00PM
Colour us unsurprised. Car and Driver reports that Mini officials have confirmed a production version of the company's Clubvan concept first shown at the Geneva Motor Show in March. We expected as much – after all, parent BMW has demonstrated real adeptness at building a myriad of derivatives from the basic Mini Cooper architecture, and the boutique brand already markets more spinoffs than Law & Order, so what's one more?
Essentially a panel van version of the Clubman, C/D says the Clubvan will appear in North American showrooms this September as a 2013 model. It isn't immediately clear if the model will offer both the standard 121-horsepower four and the Clubman S' 181-horsepower turbo, but C/D says we shouldn't expect a John Cooper Works version.
Interestingly, it doesn't appear that Mini will weld in sheet steel where the Clubman's rear side windows normally go – instead, C/D reports the company will employ body-colour foil on the outside and plastic and safety foil liners inside. Other changes will include a trimmed-out cargo hold with power sockets and tie-downs. As with the concept, a stainless-steel grille will be fitted to keep cargo from intruding on the passenger compartment.
No word yet on whether the loss of rear seats will make the Clubvan any lighter, but Mini says the vehicle will offer more cargo capacity than its passenger-minded brethren. No guidance yet on pricing, either, but we're guessing that like other Mini models, boutiques and delivery services will have to shell out a pretty penny to get their hands on this dutch-door cutie. Our only question now is... how long will it take for Mini to come out with a panelized version of its Countryman softroader?