Auto Express reports

that MINI is nearing a deal with Italian coachbuilder Bertone to produce the 2-seater for sale early in 2006. Bertone will undertake the design and construction of the Speedster bodywork, which will be a modified version of the standard body. Motivation is rumored to be coming from a new John Cooper Garages 225 bhp 1.6-liter engine. An early mockup is shown at right.

The very limited edition car is intended to renew interest in the MINI brand before the launch of the next-generation version in 2006. No word on price or availability outside the U.K.

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