BMW's Mini brand will show a concept called the Beachcomber at the Detroit auto show next month. The car provides clues to the appearance, size, interior layout and mechanical makeup of Mini's new small SUV.
The flamboyantly styled Beachcomber previews Mini's upcoming Countryman four-wheel-drive car and is inspired by Mini's legendary Moke, which was a simple but robust, go-anywhere version of the original Mini. The Moke was built in small numbers between 1964 and 1968.
The concept also explores design ideas that could find their way onto future derivatives of the Countryman, which is due to debut at the Geneva auto show next March.
The Countryman will launch in Europe next autumn and in the U.S. in 2011. It will be produced by Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria, rather than in Mini's full capacity manufacturing plant in Oxford, England.
Mini design boss Gerd Hildebrandt said the concept is "an ideas car that, depending on the sort of feedback we receive, may have a bearing on a future Mini production car."
He added: "It's based on our upcoming SUV but we've injected some added fun and off-road ability into it that we think could appeal to a certain type of Mini customer."