We've been hearing rumors of an upcoming MINI Speedster for years, and now the rumormill is building momentum, with additional speculations and renderings of a possible Miata-fighter. If it indeed does come to fruition, expect the MINI Speedster to jettison the rear bench in favor of a sportscar-proper 2-seat arrangement, which should also serve to boost luggage capacity to a bit more than the single set of golf clubs common to the genre.

According to Auto Express, the Speedster's base engine will be the same 1.6-liter turbocharged four cylinder that's standard in the Cooper S, and an optional John Cooper Works package would boost output past 200 ponies. Expect a six-speed manual sending power to the front wheels, although presumably an automatic will make the scene as well.

Unlike the current Cooper's cheeky, upright shape (dare we say, cute?), AE suggests that the Speedster model is likely to be lower and wider, with wheel arches filled to the brim with low-profile rubber. A power convertible top is likely and a removable hardtop is also rumored to be on the menu. Now... any chance BMW will fast-track this project past the planned CUV?

[Source: Auto Express]