The most recent Mini-Cooper is only expected to reach the end of its lifecycle in 2022, a new report has alleged that the fourth generation will debut without the cabriolet and more controversially, the standard three-door hardtop.
According to motoringfile.com, the rapid decline in popularity of three-door hatchbacks compared to five-doors variants has been cited as the biggest reason for the decision, with an additional factor being the on-going popularity of SUVs and crossovers.
The online forum also claims that the matter is currently under debate by Mini’s parent company BMW, with some viewing the alleged axing to be against what the brand stands for given the original being a three-door only initially, while others believe that the marque needs to evolve and conform to customer demands.
Pictured by motor1.com in Germany, the prototype Clubman appears to the outfitted in the John Cooper Works (JCW) attire, but still declines to fully reveal itself thanks to the yellow-and-black wrapping around the front facia, and at the rear where the changes from the previous model are hard to make out.
Although no interior image have yet emerged, the Clubman’s will more than likely mirror that of its hatch and cabriolet sibling, as well as the Countryman, while on the drivetrain front, the new seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox will debut on the Cooper and Cooper S models, along with the 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine in place of the old 1.2.
Expect no tweaks for the Cooper S and JCW though, with the former once again likely to produce 141kW/280Nm from its 2.0-litre turbo-petrol, and the latter 170kW/320Nm from the same engine. At present, the Clubman is slated to arrive towards the end of this year or in early 2019.