A Bigger Mini
With small cars getting so much interest lately, it's a nice irony that one of the brands to start it all is now coming out with a something larger. The MINI Clubman is 9.45 inches longer than its standard sibling (so more room for rear passengers and extra luggage), has rear 'suicide' doors and the tailgate is a split-door arrangement, a nod to bigger versions of the old Mini.

As the Traveller concept, this car has been doing the rounds of car shows. But once a disguised model was seen testing on the Nrburgring, it was obvious a production version would be ready for 2008. It will have a naturally aspirated, 1.6-liter, 120-hp four-cylinder engine as standard, but the Cooper Clubman gets a turbocharged version kicking out 175 hp at 5500 rpm. The Clubman will be priced between the MINI hardtop and Convertible models, so somewhere around $22,000.
www.miniusa.com

Onward And Up-Ward
This is weird. Years ago, Sir Alex Issigonis packaged the original Mini as a transverse-engine, front-drive car, to make better use of space. Now VW is touting its Up concept as something radical in this respect, being rear-engined (and, presumably, rear-wheel-drive). Which seems like an evolutionary step back to the original Beetle. But VW is claiming plenty of usable space within its 11.32-feet length and 5.35-feet width, despite the fact that the Up (VW calls it the 'up!', but that's just silly) is primarily a city car. At least it looks pretty cool. And VWs are rarely described as such these days.

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