Company officials say that if the new Mini follows the same sales path as other hatchbacks, the five-door variant could outsell the three-door by a factor of three to one soon after its launch.
These latest spy shots show the five-door Mini is now nearing its final stages of development, with this mule wearing significantly less camouflage than previous models. The five-door Mini sits on the same platform as the bigger new Clubman, which is due to go on sale at the start of next year.
Styling wise, the five-door Mini is almost identical to its three-door sister car, which goes on sale in March. The addition of centre-mounted twin exhausts and a bonnet scoop to this test mule suggest this is the sportier Cooper S model.
Five-door Minis will borrow their engines directly from the three-door. That means a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol with 134bhp and 162lb ft of torque in the standard Cooper, while Cooper D variants will get a 1.5-litre three-cylinder diesel with 114bhp and 199lb ft. Top-end Cooper S models will feature a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 189bhp and 206lb ft.
A six-speed manual transmission will come as standard on the front-wheel-drive car, while a six-speed automatic will be optional on all models.
Mini has yet to confirm official pricing, but the five-door hatchback is expected to command a small premium over the equivalent three-door model, which starts at £15,300.