Forget the extravagant door arrangements and the concept car detailing, because the Crossman is the new maxi-sized Mini. With much of the styling carried over from the Mini and Clubman, it is quite hard to get a grip on the size of the new car, but it is noticeably bigger in all dimensions.
The Crossman is wider, taller and 4.07m long, making it noticeably bigger than the 3.95m-long Clubman. But in showroom form, with production overhangs and bumpers, the new Mini won’t be hugely smaller than the new Renault Megane, for instance.
The final version won’t get the funky rear doors and the (patented) sliding rear-door parallelogram hinges, nor will it the neat clear-glazed rear pillar. But the overall proportions will be maintained, including the flatter bonnet and more upright nose, which are required to meet upcoming second-generation pedestrian protection legislation.
The first version of the car (aimed at the ‘modern, urban family’ for city and weekend use) is due in 2010, and will be a high-riding 4x4 model, but insiders expect a road-going five-door version of the car to go on sale later.
One intriguing aspect of the Crossman concept was the ‘Centre Globe’ mounted on the dashboard. It has internal sliding clear screens (one for each from passenger) onto which a screen image can be back-projected by lasers. Mini designers only started working on the technology, with a Cambridge-based company, at the beginning of the year. Computer-style Trackballs’ are also mounted on the steering wheel.
Despite the economic fall-out, Mini sales are still booming. Sales up to September were up to 180,000 units, up 9 percent on 2007. Clubman sales now account for 20 percent of all Mini output, says BMW.
Next year will be the Mini’s 50th anniversary and BMW also used the badge on the Crossman’s nose to celebrate the eight years since the first Mini concept was shown in 2000, also at Paris.