<!--:es-->Mini finally grows up<!--:-->

Mini finally grows up

Mini has confirmed that a longer version of its current Cooper will go on sale in Europe by the end of this year and in the U.S. by the first quarter of 2008.

The new car will be called the “Clubman” and is based on the concept vehicle shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit two years ago.

Judging by reports of how the pre-production 2008 Mini Clubman looks, the rear swing-out doors are a throwback to the original Mini Traveller.

The Clubman is likely to be officially unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, said Mini spokesperson Andrew Cutler in a telephone interview.

Specifications, photos and pricing for the Clubman have not been released, but Cutler did say that the vehicle has an “incremental increase” in interior space and will offer more rear legroom and cargo room. However, he stressed that “it’s not a station wagon.”

The Clubman is aimed at consumers who find the current Mini Cooper too small. “We’re looking at the type of person who wants a Mini but also wants to surf, for example,” Cutler said. “It’s more adaptable to someone who does that — or someone who needs space for a dog or a mountain bike