LOS ANGELES – The new Mini 4-door hardtop makes its first appearance in North America at the Los Angeles auto show, flanked by visions of the brand’s past and the future: the classic Mini created in 1959, and the concept Mini Superleggera Vision coupe.

But it’s a 2-wheeled, somewhat incidental creation that draws attention when the Mini Citysurfer Concept, a motorized scooter that can be folded up and stored in the back of a Mini car, rides out on stage for its world premiere at the end of the automaker’s press conference.

With a maximum speed of 15 mph (24 km/h) and an electric range of 10-15 miles (16-24 km), the Citysurfer Concept is touted by Peter Schwarzenbauer, board member of Mini parent BMW, as an ideal traffic-buster during the final stretch of a long commute.

The Mini hardtop, which Schwarzenbauer describes as a 5-door because of its hatchback, is expected to hit showrooms in North America early next year.

The hardtop, he says, “is more than just a Mini with two additional doors...it's a completely new Mini with a longer wheelbase, more space, more luggage volume, more functionality and flexibility and four doors. This car takes Mini into a new segment, that of the 5-door hatchback.”

The automaker knows “a lot of customers have been waiting for this car for many years,” he says.

Based on the recrafted Mini Cooper platform, the Mini Hardtop has been stretched 6.3 ins. (160 mm) to accommodate its two added doors, while the ride’s height is raised a little less than 0.5 in. (126 mm) but width remains the same.

The dimension changes result in about 3.0 ins. (76.1 mm) of added legroom for rear-seat passengers, and an estimated 0.7 in. (16.8 mm) more headroom for all occupants. Cargo space is boosted about 0.3 in. (8.4 mm).

“Entering this new segment will certainly open the world of Mini to completely new customer groups,” Schwarzenbauer says.

The hardtop looks to mirror the powertrains of the automaker’s shorter models, the 124-hp 1.5L turbocharged 3-cyl. engine in the Mini Cooper and the 189-hp 2.0L turbocharged 4-cyl. in the Cooper S, with 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic transmissions available for both.

The Mini hardtop is expected to be priced about $1,000 above the brand’s 3-door hatchback model.

Schwarzenbauer says Mini sold 305,000 vehicles worldwide in 2013 and about 44,000 in the U.S. from January through October this year.

The Mini Superleggera Vision concept, also making its West Coast debut, is a stylish 2-seat sports car crafted by Italian coachbuilder Touring Superleggera and first shown at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Milan.

The roadster concept combines the tradition of classic coachwork of Touring Superleggera with Mini’s British styling – including taillights formed in a Union Jack motif – to create timeless aesthetic appeal.

The automaker says the Superleggera Vision will serve as a “visual centerpiece of the potential future of the brand,” although no plans for mass production of the car have been announced.