MINI must have some moderately evil geniuses in their skunkworks, as this MINI Clubman S Hybrid is the second prototype spotted since April. The last one was a hydrogen-fueled hybrid wearing a BMW skin, but this time, it’s a full-on MINI, and it’s not using star juice.
Though we can only guess that the hybrid system is some combination of existing MINI gas-burner plus an electric drive. It’s certainly a hybrid, however, if the stickers down each door are to be trusted.
The look of the hybrid MINI is a bit different from the standard model, with a new front clip featuring larger air intakes and a side-pipe exhaust setup. We’re betting the side pipes won’t make it to production. Likewise, the Clubman platform may not be the choice for retail units–it may simply offer more room for onboard testing and evaluation equipment.
While this vehicle may be a test mule for a hybrid headed to production, it could also just be an engineering prototype or testbed for research. On the other hand, a MINI hybrid could take the fight to Honda’s CR-Z, delivering both fuel efficiency and what the CR-Z lacks: a truly sporty hatchback platform.
We’ll keep our eyes peeled and our spy photographers’ lenses focused to bring the latest as it happens.