The model spotted on site was, in fact, a John Cooper Works (JCW) version of the 2012 MINI Roadster, which means we have the honor of looking at the flagship model of the series.
Despite the fact that the prototype you see here is wearing some camouflage on the rear end, the rest of the car is giving away a lot about the new design on its own.
The JCW Roadster shown in the adjacent images distinguishes itself by various elements, such as a retractable rear spoiler on this roadster prototype, a double-piped, centre-mounted exhaust, and an extra set of lights on that rear bumper grill insert.
As for the under its hood, the MINI Roadster in JCW-guise hides the same 1.6-liter turbocharged four-pot with an output of 211 horsepower and 280 Nm (207 lb-ft) of torque as the one found under the bonnet of the Coupe. This will be mated to a six-speed manual transmission, which is expected to boost the car from 0-100 km/h in approximately 6.6 seconds.
The 2012 MINI Roadster lineup is also likely to comprise a Cooper model powered by a naturally aspirated 1.6-liter unit with 122 horsepower, as well as a Cooper S version with a 1.6-liter turbo unit delivering 184 horsepower.
We should also keep in mind that chances are European markets to offer customers the chance to have their Roadster in a variant that sports a 2.0-liter diesel engine developing 143 horsepower. However, we'll have to wait at least until this year's Frankfurt Auto Show to find out more details about the new MINI Roadster range.