Mini Beachcomber Concept at 2010 Detroit Auto Show

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  • Looks like: Mini designers watched one too many movies with dune buggies in them
  • Defining characteristics: Doorless, roofless, all-wheel-drive, off-roading…Mini?
  • Ridiculous features: You noticed it has no doors or roof, right?
  • Chance of being mass-produced: Zero, but an all-wheel-drive Mini crossover is on the way next year.

Oh, Mini. You’re so cute with your clever advertising, in-your-face billboards and mobile apps. Now this. Instead of showing the real all-wheel-drive crossover, which goes on sale in 2010 everywhere but the U.S., at the 2010 Detroit auto show, you unveil this cutesy, dune-buggy-inspired concept.
The Beachcomber concept packs the same all-wheel-drive system that Europe and other international points will get to drive in the 2010 crossover; besides the overall size and stance, that’s where the resemblance will likely end. The Beachcomber has no doors because the company wanted to make sure there were no “body elements that could limit the intensity of the occupants’ encounter with their surrounding world.” There’s a company called Jeep that kind of has this market covered, but we wonder if a production version of this concept — complete with removable doors and roof — would sell.
Regardless, the Beachcomber concept is strictly a tease — a mean one, too — for the potential U.S. buyers of the upcoming crossover. Especially now that the company has told us we won’t see one until 2011 and the rest of the world gets in on the action in 2010. That kind of puts a damper on this fun-loving buggy.

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Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

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