Seemingly a rolling contradiction in terms, the upcoming MINI SUV model, previously (but probably not officially) known as the Crossman, has been seen out in the wild again. Like before, the little SUV wears very little clothing, leaving almost all of its altered-bits out in the open. After looking at the previous set of spy shots and the newest one here, we just can't see the not-a-Crossman doing any off-roading. Soft-roading... maybe, but we honestly think this is a vehicle that will never see
Could it be true? Could there be an as-yet-unheard-of MINI variant added to the pile? Spy pics of some yellow beastly thing wearing a MINI front and rear have a few folks wondering if MINI might make a Moke. The original MINI Moke from the sixties was an offroad vehicle that Alec Issigonis was trying to sell to the military. We doubt BMW would have any such aims for a Moke revival, but at the very least it could be a much more capable four-wheeler than the Crossman/Monte looks like it's going to
Spy photographers have caught the MINI Crossman practically naked. Unless BMW is keeping the car's final ride height a secret, this looks to be a branding exercise extraordinaire: the car is but a few millimeters higher than the Clubman. Its "rough-road" credentials are supposedly validated by the larger wheels, slightly longer wheelbase than the Clubman and a rear differential for AWD.
The MINI Monte (as in "Carlo") might not be arriving on our shores in 2009. Instead, it could actually be built on our shores. Most MINIs are made at BMW's plant in Oxford, but that factory is already at capacity. It has been rumored before that Magna might be contracted to build the MINI SUV at its plant in Austria, but the latest top secret word has BMW looking at the Spartanburg, SC plant where the X5 is built.
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.
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