If you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of sitting in the rear seats of a Mini Cooper hatch or convertible, you might have wondered why the second row even exists at all. For anyone larger than a seven-year-old, the back seats serve better use as a parcel shelf than as human-holders. Mini has two solutions to this problem: make the whole car bigger, as it has done with the Countryman, or do away with the seats altogether. The latter strategy will be employed by Mini’s upcoming Coupe and Roadster, seen here wearing mild camouflage.

After debuting in concept form at the 2009 Frankfurt auto show, the Coupe and Roadster were essentially confirmed for production when Mini announced it would add two new models to its assembly plant in Oxford, England. Here, our spy shooters have gotten the first glimpse of these two-seaters looking nearly ready to hit the assembly line.

Unlike the Countryman, however, both of these mini Minis are expected to blend right into the family, sharing the same dash layout and front-end styling from the A-pillar forward as the updated 2011 Mini hatch, Clubman, and convertible. But from there back, these little guys will have a faster windshield and the obvious roof changes that give them a sportier look than the hatch and convertible. We’re still not sold on the styling of either car at this point. The Coupe’s proportions seem a bit off, and its roof spoiler appears tacked on, toupee-style. The Roadster looks too soft and reminds us of a bobbed first-gen Audi TT. Both cars will have an active rear spoiler, which can be seen deployed in some of these photos.

 
Under the skin, the duo is based on the Cooper convertible. We expect the powertrain lineup to include Mini’s turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder in two forms: the 181-hp Cooper S and the higher-output, 208-hp John Cooper Works. The coupe we caught looks to be tuned already with JCW bits, as it has the package’s larger exhaust tips, JCW wheels, and red Brembo brake calipers. The Roadster seen here appears to be an S model. If either car is offered in base trim, it’ll be moved by Mini’s 121-hp naturally aspirated 1.6-liter.

Each of these cars is projected to shed a little bit of weight compared with the hatch and convertible. Neither will carry the burden of rear seats, and the Roadster will get a manually operated top, eschewing a complex (and heavy) power system. The Coupe’s smaller lid is expected to be rendered in aluminum. With both cars looking so close to production-ready, we believe they’ll surface at an auto show very soon and hit showrooms later this year.

Source: CarAndDriver.com