Adventures in copyright infringement: Lifan 3-series

Clubman: potentially described as cute. Lifan 3 Series: Not cute. Not even ugly to the point of being endearing. Enough of the MINI's cues make it through in the Lifan that you can just picture them laying a huge sheet of onion skin over the Clubman and coming up with this. It's close in a lot of ways, but misshapen in others. A weird front overbite is the result of small wheels and a longer overhang than the MINI, and the C/D pillars appear thick – just a big blind spot where the Clubman has visibility. Underhood might be an actual legitimate link to the MINI. Lifan has invested in the Tritec four cylinder that powered the R50 first generation of revived MINIs. Ingress and egress in the Lifan is aided by four conventionally hinged doors, versus the Mini's clamshell treatment, but it ends up being reminiscent of a LeCar, but not as cool. Lifan could always outsource design to the rest of the world if this is the best they can do. We're sure they've got the engineering bit down, but the world doesn't need a MINI that reminds us of those cheap, anonymous knock off matchbox cars with no bottom.

[Source: Carscoop, Photos: China Car Times]

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