BMW's MINI brand has been one of the great automotive successes of the new millennium, helping to redefine the boundaries of quality and style in small cars.
In the last three years alone, MINI has launched a new, updated Cooper, the stunning MINI Cabrio and the quirky but cool MINI Clubman, while BMW is expected to unveil the new MINI Crossover at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show.
But while the rest of the motoring industry has ground to a standstill courtesy of the Global Financial Crisis, the Munich-based company has shown no sign of slowing and has reportedly approved production of a long-awaited Speedster to add to their rapidly expanding range.
As reported on MotoringFile, initial sketches of the Speedster emerged in 2001, detailing tentative plans for a vehicle which maximises fun without skimping on affordability.
It is expected the new vehicle will be loosely based on that initial design, built on the current generation R56 Cooper, but sporting a more performance-orientated shape than has previously been the case with a cloth top and roll bars.
The speedster will also boast an optional removable hard top, while power will come from an updated version of the 1.6 litre engines used in today's Mini range.
However, as many will recall, this is not the first time MINI has been tantalisingly close to building a Speedster.
In 2005, it was reported that MINI was on the verge of reaching a deal with Italian company Bertone to build a two-seater, targeting a mid-2006 launch date, but this never eventuated despite talk to the contrary.