The idea of the new model was first shown at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show where MINI unveiled the MINI Paceman Concept. It seems production of that model will be going ahead as planned in light of these new patent designs.
Designs were submitted to the patent office just a couple of days ago, according to Carscoop, and show what the production version of the new model will look like. There doesn't appear to be any significant changes on the patent image from the concept version, as the concept was said to already be in near-production trim level.
Although we are yet to see any spy shots of the two-door Countryman, a showroom release is expected to take place some time in 2012. Member of the board at MINI AG, Ian Robertson, has previously said,
"This car captures the typical Mini characteristics – unique design, clever functionality and signature driving fun – with a new level of agility. It combines an athletic, masculine coupe appearance with the dimensions of the Mini Countryman."
The production model will be powered by the John Cooper Works 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing around 155kW of power and 280Nm of torque. The Paceman, like the Countryman, will adopt MINI's ALL4 all-wheel drive system.