- The Washington Times - Friday, September 12, 2008

MUNICH | Next month, at the Paris auto show, Mini will unveil The Crossover Concept. It is the forerunner of the fourth model of the BMW division and the first to exceed a length of four meters, or 157 inches.

The four door model is also the first to offer all-wheel drive and four separate seats. With a wheel base of 102.7 inches and a height of 72 inches the new Mini will offer ample space for four.

We will see specific details, such as the frameless windows and a left passenger door that slides along the front to open. As there is no B-pillar, there is a large opening for passenger entry or for loading large cargo.

There is no hatch in the rear, but a door that is hinged at the right side. Consequently, the entry to the luggage compartment is big. A disadvantage, however, is that you need to have enough space behind the Mini to open it.

The rear seats slide over a length of 5.1 inches and can also be folded into the floor. The roof can be opened over the full length starting up front or at the rear. Good for lots of fresh air, or to haul long goods.

Exceptional is the info center that is placed in the middle of the dashboard and looks like a globe, hence its name: Mini Center Globe, which is for entertainment, telecommunication and navigation. The rim around the globe is the odometer. The concept Mini explores the new possibilities of the three dimensional configuration.

The globe is operated by a track ball in the steering wheel.

We may expect this to be a new feature in the upcoming production model of the Mini Crossover.

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