Spy shooters were able to capture one of the first pics of MINI's fabled pseudo-SUV undergoing testing, and according to the Brits over at AutoExpress, it will carry a 'Monte' moniker when it arrives in showrooms sometime in 2009. While we're equally perplexed by both the notion of a biggie-sized MINI and the name 'Monte', at least the latter rolls off the tongue nicely.
The shots show what is essentially a stretched Clubman with a slightly jacked-up ride height, but the added length won't include the addition of another set of doors. Instead, MINI's engineers have apparently decided to keep the "Clubdoor" for passengers relegated to the rear confines. Motivation will be provided by a variety of gasoline- and diesel-powered engines, ranging from 1.4- to 1.6-liters, although there's no word on whether AWD will be part of the package.

MINI insists that, much like its other offerings, the Monte will be an environmentally-friendly 'ute (if you can call it that), since it will include a start-stop engine system, regenerative braking and a host of other fuel-saving technologies pilfered from BMW's Efficient Dynamics program.

[Source: AutoExpress]

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