It’s not quite the official debut, but BMW has effectively introduced its upcoming MINI Coupé by means of a preview. The car, which was showcased in its concept form at the Los Angeles Auto Show back in 2009, will roll in as the first two-seater in the brand’s model range – the company says that it will promise unrivalled handling agility and the best performance figures of any model in the MINI line-up.

The design, which is also the first “three-box” MINI, features a flat, coupe silhouette with a GT-style rear end. Sitting 29 mm lower than the MINI, the Coupé features include a distinctive “helmet roof” with an integral roof spoiler and an active rear spoiler which deploys automatically at 80 kph to optimise airflow at higher speeds, as well as a high-opening tailgate and large luggage area with through-loading facility into the passenger compartment.

At point of launch, the 3.728 metre-long car will be available in Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works variants, joined by a diesel version. Effectively, the Coupé forms will wear the 1.6 litre petrol engines seen in the current MINI range, with no revisions to the output.

As such, the Cooper’s NA four-cylinder fully variable valve management block delivers 122 hp at 6,000 rpm and 160 Nm at 4,250 rpm, and performance specs include a 0–100 kph time of 9.0 seconds and a top speed of 204 kph.

Meanwhile, the Cooper S Coupé’s twin-scroll turbocharger, direct injection mill has 184 hp at 5,500 rpm and 240 Nm at 1,600–5,000 rpm (260 Nm overboost) for output numbers, as well as a 6.9 seconds 0-100 kph sprint time towards a 230 kph top speed.

As for the JCW version, the 211 hp at 6,000 rpm and 260 Nm at 1,850–5,600 rpm (280 Nm overboost at 1,700–4,500 rpm) propels the car to the century in 6.4 seconds and takes it to 240 kph tops.

The fourth model in the lineup will be the Cooper SD Coupé, which features a 2.0 litre common-rail injection turbodiesel mill that bags 143 hp at 4,000 rpm and 305 Nm at 1,750–2,700 rpm, a 7.9 seconds 0-100 kph time and a 216 kph top speed.

The car will come with a six-speed manual gearbox fitted as standard, with a six-speed Steptronic automatic tranny optional for the Cooper, Cooper S and Cooper SD versions.

Other standard issues items are electric power steering and DSC, with Dynamic Traction Control with EDLC (Electronic Differential Lock Control) on the options list (the latter two comes standard on the John Cooper Works Coupé, of course).

The Cooper will come wearing 15-inch alloy wheels as standard, with the Cooper S and Cooper SD versions getting 16-inch wheels. As for the JCW Coupe, that one will come specified with 17-inch, weight-optimised alloy wheels in JCW Cross Spoke Challenge styling.

A very large gallery of hi-res photos await you after the jump.

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GALLERY: MINI Coupe Concept

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