Spied: 2008 Mini Clubman

BMW testers have stripped away most of the camouflage from their prototypes of the Mini Clubman. This latest look not only gives us our best glimpse of the newest model from Mini, it also puts to rest once-and-for-all some questions about its packaging and configuration.

The clean, uncamouflaged windows and body-sides clearly reveal different pillar configurations for the driver- and passenger-sides. The driver-side has only one door, and a long uninterrupted expanse of glass between the B- and C-pillars. The passenger-side gets a rear-hinged, suicide rear access door, which requires an additional pillar that is visible through the driver-side glass. Unless a driver-side suicide door will be offered as an option (which is highly unlikely), rear-seaters will want to load up from the passenger-side.

This past summer, photographers snapped the first pix of the Clubman's rear double doors in place of a conventional hatchback, and the rear cut-line is now clearly visible on this latest prototype.

Seeing the Clubman in something very close to finished form, it's clear that this larger Mini fits in well with the rest of the Mini model-range. The Clubman's longer footprint adds extra versatility, but the Mini look remains intact. Insiders expect the Mini Clubman to make its official debut at the Geneva Motor Show this Spring.