He’s the van

He’s the van

Giving MINI a distinctly more masculine stance, the Clubvan Concept has been unveiled



By David Light

Published: Sat 25 Feb 2012, 4:04 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 11:23 AM

THE MINI CLUBVAN Concept looks to bring conflicting profiles together into a single package, resulting in an innovative vehicle concept in the small car segment. The MINI Clubman-based concept car, scheduled for its world premiere at the Geneva International Motor Show 2012, combines MINI’s driving capabilities with increased load-carrying dimensions.

The closed-off load area behind the front seats and the opaque rear side windows of the concept set it apart from the existing MINI Clubman.

The MINI Clubvan Concept may be of use where a business’s customers, product range and operating environment demand a particular style for its vehicles. For example, a car in the mould of the MINI Clubvan Concept would fit excellently into the fleet of a fashion designer, art gallery owner or event caterer. And its abilities could also tick the right boxes for a photographer with a stack of camera, tripod and lighting equipment to ferry around during the week – and bulky sports and leisure gear to pile on board at the weekend.

Either way, whatever walk of life potential buyers may find themselves in, extra space is always a welcome addition. Calls for maximising the load capacity of the classic Mini began as early as 1960, just a year after the car’s birth. And they were soon heeded. With its 10-centimetre-longer wheelbase, separate load compartment and split rear doors, the Morris Mini Van was perfectly equipped for commercial use. It also provided the basis for the fully glazed, four-seat Morris Mini Traveller, one of the precursors of today’s MINI Clubman. And so, more than 50 years on, the MINI Clubvan Concept sees history repeating itself – albeit in a slightly different order.

Limiting the car to two seats creates the capacity its owners will need on a day-to-day basis, as well as opening up a whole new world of customisation potential. The load compartment of the MINI Clubvan Concept embodies the car’s interpretation of the principle used in the classic Mini – of providing the maximum amount of interior space on the smallest possible footprint. The load area reaches from the split rear doors right up to the partition grille behind the two seats. The totally level floor makes full use of the interior’s depth, and that allows the concept car’s load capacity to exceed the maximum achieved by the MINI Clubman.

Like the MINI Clubman, the MINI Clubvan Concept is a five-door car with a twist. Two front doors for the driver and front passenger, two side-hinged doors at the rear and the rear-hinged Clubdoor on the right-hand side create comfortable access to the interior. The Clubdoor gives owners the option of loading or unloading smaller items from the side of the car as well as the rear.

The levels of space on board the concept car can be exploited in a variety of ways. Commercial users will be particularly pleased to discover the scope for configuring the load compartment to personal requirements. For example, tools and goods can be stored neatly and securely in made-to-measure drawers or shelving units. 12-volt plug sockets in the rear area of the load compartment provide additional practicality.

The MINI Clubvan Concept comes with British Racing Green exterior paintwork. As is usual for vehicles charged with transportation tasks, the rear side windows of the MINI Clubvan Concept are opaque. Polycarbonate sections – their outer surfaces painted in the car’s body colour – and heavily tinted glass for the rear doors make it difficult to see into the load compartment.

The unbroken paintwork along the car’s flanks offers extensive scope for individualisation, which the MINI Clubvan Concept highlights for maximised brand visibility, should this be used as a commercial vehicle.

An exhilarating weekend recently took place in Abu Dhabi on the Yas Marina Circuit for Ferrari enthusiasts. The two-day event was dedicated to track experiences that enabled guests to enjoy their cars on the fast lane of the Grand Prix circuit.

The event started with a session dedicated to the award-winning 458 Italia where owners got to experience its track capabilities.

Clients had the opportunity to try the full performance of their 458 Italia within a safe and controlled environment under the supervision of the ‘Pilota Ferrari’ Official Instructors.

Marc Gené, Scuderia Ferrari official test driver since 2004, made a special appearance to share his skills with Ferrari owners.

The following morning, the Yas Marina Circuit welcomed members of the UAE Ferrari Owners Club who gathered for a morning break.

Ferrari also hosted a group of students from the Dubai Autism Centre, who had the thrill of sitting next to Gené driving the Ferrari California on the track.

The latest addition to Porsche’s SUV segment has been given the name Macan. The name Macan is derived from the Indonesian word for tiger, symbolising the core characteristics of the new off-road car.

As the fifth Porsche model line, the Macan is a central plank of Strategy 2018, by which the sports car manufacturer wishes to expand its model portfolio. Porsche intends the Macan to emulate the success of the Cayenne. The SUV will start coming off the production lines in Leipzig in 2013.

Al-Futtaim Motors recently handed over a fleet of 35 Land Cruiser Prados to Dubai Police extending the 60-year association.

Preceding the handover of the 35 new Prado’s, Dubai Police have also received training on Toyota’s Intelligent Tester, a machine that once plugged into the vehicle, can detect any defect or malfunction, thus reducing the risk of any sudden breakdown.

Hot wheels

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, has partnered with Lebanese fashion designer Walid Atallah to create two bespoke models, named the ‘Rolls-Royce Phantom Rayan’ and ‘Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe Rayan’. The models were revealed at the opening of the world’s biggest BMW Group showroom this month in Abu Dhabi.

In addition to revealing its one-off vehicles, Abu Dhabi Motors displayed a diamond-encrusted Spirit of Ecstasy, the world’s most recognisable motoring mascot, which was created last year to celebrate the icon’s centenary. The ‘Flying Lady’ features 2,300 diamonds with an estimated value of Dhs900,000.

The Rolls-Royce Phantom Rayan Motif and the Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe Rayan Motif both feature delicate touches that bring together the synergy of the Rolls-Royce Brand and the Walid Attallah designs.

The vehicles are presented in a colour combination that features a Cashmere and Cobalto Blue interior and an Admiral Blue exterior with a twin coachline in Mandarin, the new Rolls-Royce Bespoke colour. Additionally, the vehicles are fitted with an Illuminated Spirit of Ecstasy.

The seats, which are made of full natural leather grain, feature Cobalto Blue piping, and special Rolls-Royce monogram engraved onto the headrests. The Glove box is embroidered with the personalised message: “Rayan motif – one of one. Inspired by Walid Attallah”.

The eventual buyer of The Rolls-Royce Phantom Rayan Motif and the Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe Rayan Motif will receive a gift from Walid Attallah Fashion Design, in which the owner can have a bespoke dress designed personally by Walid.

The 2012 Ford Expedition has been named winner of the inaugural 2012 Kelley Blue Book Total Cost of Ownership Award in the full-size sport utility vehicle category announced at the Chicago Auto Show in the United States earlier this month.

The all-new 2012 awards honour current model-year vehicles and brands with the lowest projected ownership costs, based on Kelley Blue Book Total Cost of Ownership data for the initial five-year ownership period. The criteria for valuation included Fair Purchase Price (FPP), projected depreciation, financing costs, insurance costs and other fees as well as the anticipated total cost of fuel, scheduled maintenance and repairs. A total of 21 vehicles in different market segments were declared winners, including Ford Expedition.

david@khaleejtimes.com


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