Over the last month we’ve heard from several sources that MINI will build its own “progressive activity vehicle” based off of the R60 MINI crossover. What’s a progressive activity vehicle? In BMW speak it’s something like the 5 Series Gran Turismo Concept soon to be released as a production vehicle. The idea is simple, create a car that combines the utility of a crossover but without the faux off-road capabilities and with a sleeker profile.

Known by insiders as the MINI SpaceBox (a working title but rumors say it could be make it to make production) the new vehicle will feature a sleeker rear design that will be closer one of the original Clubman design concepts from several years back (seen above in this exclusive spy shot). It will also have a total of five doors (four normal doors with a hatch like the upcoming MINI Crossover) with the most versatility of any MINI model. The design will differ substantially from the R60 Crossover with none of the off-road elements and unique styling all around. Two other key things it will lack will be the Crossover’s all-wheel drive and the added weight that comes with the system.

As previously reported on MF, the MINI SpaceBox will help fill-out the MINI range and allow the brand to reach-out to more potential customers. It will also give MINI further cost efficiencies – key to the brand’s survival in the years ahead.

Look for more on new model in the coming weeks and months but don’t expect anything to show up on dealer lots until the 2012 model year at the earliest.