Mini continue to claim the higher-ground when it comes to production-ready niche concepts. Judging by the length of the press release and past experience with the Clubman, the Beachcomber is likely to reach production albeit in the more usable form of the Mini Countryman Crossover, which is due to be launched in Autumn 2010.

This Beachcomber concept will however be on display at the North American International Auto Show (16–24 January 2010) in Detroit. BMW Mini say, “..the MINI Beachcomber Concept symbolises the elementary values of the brand in new, radical style.”

They go on to describe it, “ a unique crossover in the typical style of the brand, the new model offers a fascinating re-interpretation of that typical MINI design, with the functional convenience of four doors, four full-size seats, a variable interior, and a unique standard of driving pleasure now to be enjoyed for the first time also beyond the beaten track thanks to newly developed all-wheel drive.”

It is basically a ‘lifestyle’ version of the Countryman designed for those who enjoy outdoor pursuits and live out their personal style. The Mini Beachcomber Concept follows in the footsteps of the Mini Moke, which, back in the 1960s, quickly became the epitome of adventurous motoring in sunny coastal regions. So, better rule it out of the UK market then.

It comes with a newly developed all-wheel drive drivetrain, designed specifically for the Mini, plus numerous body elements to make the car extra-strong and robust, and the obligatory elevated seating position. Generous spring travel and extra-large light-alloy wheels raise the entire car to a higher level. Access to the front and rear seats is exceptionally easy thanks to the lack of doors and the entry cut-outs extending all the way down to the seat bottoms.

Despite its open-air design the Beachcomber Concept can protect its occupants from wind and rain. It is fitted with a soft-top roof, which can be completely removed from the body and stored in a container, or hardtop panels made of an extra-light plastic material, which protect the roof, the sides of the car and the rear storage compartment.

We are unlikely to see anything quite as radical as this reaching production, however it provides a clear idea of the general profile that we should see in the production Countryman next autumn.