BMW has announced its first “three-box” Mini – a distinctively styled coupé version with a notchback profile that sets it apart from the other models in the range. Contrary to appearances, though, the new car doesn't actually have a separate boot but is a hatchback.

Notchback styling is a novelty as far as post-2001 Minis are concerned although the original 1959 car was available in the Sixties with a three-box shape, in the form of the Riley Elf and Wolseley Hornet. But whereas the conservatively-styled Elf and the Hornet were aimed mainly more mature motorists, the 2011 Coupés are sporty high-performance models. They will be available with the most powerful Mini engine options – a 211 horsepower petrol with John Cooper Works badging and the recently introduced 2.0-litre 143 horsepower diesel, badged SD – and owners of the new cars are being promised that they will have a “go-kart feeling”.

The Coupé is a strict two-seater but BMW insists that it will still be a practical load carrier thanks to the size of its tailgate and its “large, variable-use luggage area”.

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