Our spy photographers caught this Mini Cooper four-door hatchback testing in Europe, a model that neatly splits the difference between the standard 2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop and the upcoming Clubman model.
As was the case when we spied this car a year ago, the Mini Cooper four-door hatchback will have full-size rear doors, and a more sloped rear windshield than the standard two-door hatchback that debuted this week at the 2013 Los Angeles auto show. Otherwise, the elongated car looks remarkably similar to its two-door sibling. As to what differentiates the four-door hatch from the next-generation Mini Clubman, the Clubman is expected to serve more as a mini-wagon than a hatchback, with a pair of swing-open rear doors.
Powertrain choices for the four-door will most likely mirror those of the production 2014 Mini Cooper two-door hatchback. The base model will have a 1.5-liter turbo-three with 134 hp, while the more powerful S will use a 2.0-liter turbo-four good for 189 hp. Both six-speed manual and automatic transmissions are available.
As we reported last year, the Mini Cooper four-door hatchback is expected to launch in summer 2014, while the Clubman will arrive a year later. Other variants will follow, including a "MiniVan" based on the Countryman, as well as a four-door Mini Cooper sedan, in 2016.