World's smallest four-seater car takes centre stage




The world's smallest four-seater micro-car was unveiled by Toyota at the Frankfurt Motor Show.


The 'IQ' prototype is just 9ft 9 inches long - about three inches shorter than the original Mini - and is expected in showrooms within two years priced between £9,000 and £10,000.

It has enough room for three adults and a small child, but a sliding seat arrangement means it can be driven as a two seater with added boot space.

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Toyota

MINI MARVEL: Toyota's world's snallest four-seater car

A Toyota spokesman said:'It's the world's smallest four seater car.'

It was one of a series of small and 'green' cars on display at the show where manufacturers were anxious to display their environmental technology.

Britain's new Mini Clubman started production at BMW's Oxford plant as the car was shown simultaneously for the first time in public at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

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Toyota

MINI MARVEL: Toyota's world's snallest four-seater car

Originally in production from 1969 to 1980, the Clubman will go on sale in the UK on November 11.

Its arrival will help BMW to produce a record 200,000-plus Minis in 2007, with production eventually expected to reach 240,000 annually.

BMW's Oxford plant managing director Oliver Zipse said: "The new Mini Clubman is another milestone in the Mini success story.

"Our 6,800 highly-committed associates in the Mini production triangle plants in the UK (Oxford, Swindon and Hams Hall near Birmingham) have so far produced more than one million Minis since it was launched in 2001.

"With the launch of the Clubman, the third Mini derivative, we are expecting new production and sales records for Mini, which is great news for the UK automotive industry."

Slightly bigger than the standard Mini, the Clubman comes in three versions, the £14,235 Cooper, the £15,400 Cooper D and the £17,210 Cooper S.

The new car is inspired not only by the original Clubman but by the Morris Mini Traveller and the Austin Mini Countryman, which were a feature of motoring in the 1960s.

Competitiveness Minister Stephen Timms, who was at Oxford for the start of production, said: "Today's launch is a shining example of modern British manufacturing. I am sure the new Clubman will be a great hit.'

Also at Frankfurt, Korea's Kia showed a new small £20,000 sports car called the Kee, created by the Peter Schreyer, the man who designed the iconic Audi TT.

Powered by a 2.7 litre V6 engine, it has a top speed of 140mph and can sprint from rest to 62mph in about eight seconds.

It signals the car companies ambitions to rise from being a budget car-maker like Skoda to an more up-market brand.

By contrast, looking like a cross between a Batmobile and a stealth bomber, Lamborghini launched its gas-guzzling £600,000 Reventon supercar which has a top speed of 211mph and can sprint from rest to 62mph in just 3.4 seconds.

Only 20 will be built for rich clients specialist collectors.

Former F1 world champion Michael Schumacher launched the new Ferrari 430 Scuderia which can sprint from rest to 62mph in under 3.6 seconds with a top speed of 198mph.

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