New Mini Beachcomber ConceptMini Beachcomber concept recalls classic Moke
23 December 2009
Mini is set to bring an off-roader to the market in Autumn 2010, based on this Beachcomber concept.
The Mini Beachcomber Concept doesn’t have any doors, or a roof. Both are apparently available to be fitted should the conditions demand it, but the Beachcomber is being positioned as a (slightly clumsy) metaphor for freedom, so is supposed to do without them.
It is, in other words, a modern re-imagining of the original 1960s Mini Moke.
The question is, does it tell us anything about the production Mini 4x4 that's coming in 2010?
Well, the concept is ‘approximately four metres long’, and features ALL4 all-wheel drive, indicating what the real four-wheel drive system will be called. Though we also expect front-wheel drive only on basic versions, like .
It is also possible that the body shape is now finalised, something that Mini is disguising by removing the doors. The headlights seem a believable evolution of current Mini design.
The front grill is reminiscent of the Moke, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see this offered at least as an option.
Strong and safe
Mini is also making much of the concept’s safety levels, stating that it has reinforced A- and D-pillars. Could the real Mini off-roader be offered with a minimalist fabric roof, perhaps similar to that fitted to the Fiat 500C?
Maybe. But we think it unlikely the doors will be missing.
The Beachcomber Concept has a fabric roof and door system that can be supplemented by clip-in plastic panels for more permanent protection.
The short overhangs and high ground clearance mean the Mini Beachcomber could be quite effective off-road. The concept comes with 17-inch alloy wheels fitted with off-road tyres.
What looks like a traditional spare wheel holder at the rear is actually a storage locker. The tyres are run-flats capable of withstanding punctures for short distances.
Centre Rail convenience
On the inside, typical Mini styling cues include the central speedo. But some of the air vents have been replaced by speakers, and there are extra off-road instruments including a compass and an artificial horizon dial similar to those found in aircraft. Trim surfaces are finished in magnetic paint.
Likely production features include the Centre Rail, which has featured on previous Mini concepts. This joins the dashboard to the boot, and comes with a fastening system designed to hold small items such as MP3 players.
The individual rear seats are unconventional, but not unheard of - the is available with a similar set-up - and would add extra practicality.
The Mini Beachcomber Concept gets its public debut in January 2010 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Follow Which? Car on Twitter
The Which? Car team is on Twitter, to offer you help and advice as and when you need it.
We're monitoring our Twitter account every day, so if you have an account, please send us you thoughts and questions to @whichcar.
Don't worry if you haven't got a Twitter account - you can still stay in the loop by regularly checking www.twitter.com/whichcar.