The third generation of the modern MINI Cooper will spawn a new five-door variant when it goes on sale next year, as confirmed by these latest spy shots of a prototype for the more family friendly MINI.

On initial glance the prototype looks similar to previous mules for the regular 2014 MINI Cooper three-door, but it clearly features four doors and what looks to be a conventional rear hatch–making this a five-door.

Centrally-mounted exhaust tips also confirm that this is the slightly sportier Cooper S version of the new MINI five-door. We suspect prototypes for the Cooper version will crop up soon.

To accommodate the extra doors, MINI’s designers have stretched the wheelbase. It also appears they’ve raised the height of the roof in order to maximize interior space.

We’ve previously reported on the five-door MINI Cooper, which is likely to replace the suicide-door-equipped Clubman. It’s not clear whether this model will pick up the Clubman name or be called something entirely else.

MINI is hoping the increased flexibility will make its new 2014 Cooper range appeal to a wider audience and boost sales beyond last year’s tally of roughly 285,000 units for the previous generation. Note, despite the additional set of doors, the rear seats will still only be suitable for small children, so parents with a couple of teens best look elsewhere or at least have a second car if a MINI is a must.

Under the hood will be BMW’s latest three-cylinder engine family. In the U.S., base Cooper models will get a turbocharged 1.5-liter engine with around 121 horsepower and 133 pound-feet of torque. Cooper S models will get a more potent version of this engine, which most likely will match the 181-horsepower rating of the outgoing version.

Look for the debut of the new 2014 MINI Cooper range in the first half of next year, with this five-door variant, whatever it’s called, to arrive shortly after.

via 2014 MINI Cooper S Five-Door Spy Shots.

via 2014 MINI Cooper S Five-Door Spy Shots.

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