USA TODAY US Edition
On center stage
Shapely smaller cars, larger crossovers will find their way to U.S.
New cars come out from under cover in Frankfurt,
Just like in the U.S., crossovers and eye-catching smaller cars are vying as top introductions at one of the world’s most important auto exhibitions opening Tuesday, the Frankfurt Motor Show.
While the show typically is a great venue for European makes, automakers from around the world typically flock here — and many of the introductions are headed straight to America.
Here are three of the hotter models revealed Monday, all of which are sure to cross the Atlantic later this year or next year. MINI CLUBMAN Mini took the wraps off its allnew 2016 Clubman, and it’s no surprise that the new car is a lot larger than the one it replaces.
That’s because the Clubman is the latest Mini to move to the brand’s updated vehicle architecture, now in its third generation. The first car to make the switch was Mini’s bread-and-butter three-door hatchback, which grew significantly for 2014. Now, the Clubman sits on the new platform and is also bigger in almost every dimension.
The Clubman still retains its signature look, with four passenger doors and split-door rear, but everything else is changed. Most importantly, it’s 10.7 inches longer and 3.5 inches wider than the outgoing model, although Mini promises the expanded car will offer “increased driving fun, comfort and safety.”
What does that mean? Well, an 8-speed Steptronic transmission is now on offer — a first for any Mini. There’s also a chance that Americans will get the same diesel options available to the European market. Otherwise, there are a variety of 3- and 4cylinder gasoline engine options, topping out with the 192 TwinPower Turbo 4 in the Mini Cooper S variant.
Looks-wise, Mini is definitely trying to position the new Clubman in one of today’s most popular segments: the so-called premium compact. As such, owners can opt for LED ambient lighting, exterior accent lights that project the Mini logo onto the ground next to the car when the doors are unlocked and rear doors that don’t require contact to open.
Mini says the new 2016 Clubman will go on sale Oct. 31.