MINI officially joined the ranks of other automakers trying to broaden out the definition of "coupe" when it confirmed the arrival next year of the Paceman, a two-door version of its Countryman crossover SUV.

MINI showed the Paceman as a "concept car" at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

MINI made the announcement that the Paceman will arrive at dealerships next year on the first day of its MINI Takes The States cross-country rally that started in New Jersey on July 4 and finish in Los Angeles on July 14. Details of the car will probably be revealed at the Paris Auto Show in September.

Power for the Paceman show-car comes from Mini's John Cooper Works 1.6-litre twin-scroll turbocharged engine that puts out 211 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque (207 with the overboost function). The Paceman is expected to be offered with both a two-wheel-drive set up and ALL4 all-wheel drive, as well as offered with both manual and automatic gearbox.

Coupes have traditionally been designed off sedans as the two-door versions of those cars, such as the two door BMW 3-Series, or purpose-engineered as a coupe only like the Chevy Camaro. But with the popularity of smaller crossover SUVs, automakers are trying out ideas for two-door versions. Range Rover, for example, is proving very successful with the two-door Evoque. Mercedes is set to build the MLC SUV coupe at its Alabama plant.

MINI is on track to sell more than 60,000 cars this year, with the latest new model being the MINI Roadster. The Paceman will be the 7th MINI model in the showrooms.

To see our story about MINI's tenth anniversary and a gallery of design evolution from the original MIN to the lineup in showrooms today, check out this story.