My best of chance of a moderately white Christmas happened yesterday in freezing Graz.
The small Austrian town is home to Magna, a highly respected contract engineering and manufacturing specialist. Until recently it built the Saab 9-3 cabrio, it currently builds the BMW X3 and is about to start building the Aston Martin Rapide.
Magna has won the contract to build the new Mini Crossover, which has just been revealed in its final ‘Beachcomber’ concept guise. I travelled to the factory to talk to Mini design boss Gert Hildebrand and see the car in the flesh.
Despite the extravagant doorless and roofless homage to the Mini Moke, it’s clear in an instant which bits of the concept are real.
The whole nose (save for the vent in the bonnet) is virtually showroom-ready, as is the car’s rear three-quarter area.
What was most impressive, though, is the way that Hildebrand’s team has managed to both advance the Mini aesthetic and wrap it convincingly around a longer, taller five-door body.
The new ‘four-corner’ headlamps and upright (and ever so slightly reverse-raked) grille are a long way from today’s car, but look so perfectly Mini.