Mini the Beachcomber

Mini debuts a new concept at the 2010 Detroit auto show.

Mini Beachcomber
Mini's new concept is based on its upcoming crossover model. Mini

Before its upcoming crossover enters production in 2010, Mini is already using this new platform for a concept.

Mini Beachcomber
Mini removed doors and roof to get passengers in touch with nature. Mini

For the Beachcomber, Mini stripped off the doors and roof, opening up the cabin like a dune buggy or jeep. Lest occupants suffer sunburn or freezing rain, Mini includes what it calls "lightweight door and roof elements" that can be "installed within a few minutes."

For its sand-crawling duties, the Beachcomber uses a new all-wheel-drive that Mini calls ALL4, which will be a feature of the upcoming crossover. The suspension is raised, as well, with large wheels providing extra ground clearance.

Mini has used concepts in the past to herald its upcoming new models, such as the Mini Clubman . But, at least as far as North America is concerned, the Beachcomber heralds nothing. When the Mini crossover enters production next year, it won't be sold in North America.

The Mini Beachcomber will debut at the 2010 Detroit auto show.

About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.


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