The Mini Paceman, a two-door variant of the Mini Countryman and Mini's seventh model line, is being hailed by Mini as the world’s first ‘Sports Activity Coupe’ in the premium small and compact vehicle segment.
Seating four and with lowered sports suspension – regular suspension and ride height are available as a no-cost option – the Mini Paceman will launch with four of the brand’s usual engine suspects, comprising two petrol and two diesel powerplants.
The petrol engines include the top-spec Mini Cooper S Paceman’s 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, with 135kW of power and 240Nm of torque (260Nm available on overboost), that will see 0-100km/h come up in 7.5 seconds (7.8 seconds automatic) before hitting a top speed of 217km/h, and the naturally aspirated Cooper Paceman’s 90kW/160Nm motor delivering a 0-100km/h sprint of 10.4 seconds (11.5 seconds auto) and a 192km/h top speed.
As for the diesels, the Cooper SD Paceman scores a 105kW/305Nm 2.0-litre while the Cooper D Paceman relies on a 1.6-litre for the manual and a 2.0-litre in automatic trim, both providing 82kW and 270Nm. Brake energy regeneration, gear shift indication and auto stop/start function also feature to improve the Paceman’s efficiency, regardless of its drivetrain, while an optional ‘Sport’ button tweaks engine and steering response.
A six-speed manual gearbox is standard for the Paceman with the option of a six-speed Steptronic automatic transmission available, the latter linked with paddle shifters for Cooper S and Cooper SD variants.
Following in the all-paw tracks of the four-door Mini Countryman, the Mini Paceman is the second only Mini to offer the company’s ALL4 all-wheel-drive system meaning it can take advantage of an electromagnetic centre differential that distributes drive between front and rear axles. Available on all but one variant – the Cooper Paceman misses out – ALL4 comes with dynamic traction control and Mini’s electronic differential lock control to enhance traction.
As recently leaked photos show, the Mini Paceman is clearly distinguishable from its siblings with its large headlights, sculptured bonnet and upright hexagonal radiator grille with chrome surround.
Its canopy tapers towards the rear of the car, mirroring the ‘helmet’ look of the Mini Coupe models, before flowing into the integrated rear spoiler.
Moving down, the newly designed horizontal tail-lights – a first on a Mini – feature chrome surrounds that match a chrome strip wrapping around the car’s waistline and tailgate.
The Mini Paceman is also the first member of Mini’s line-up to be stamped with a rear nameplate sitting on the tailgate below the company badge.
Inside sees classic touches like the mandatory Mini central speedo – now sitting in a matt Carbon Black border – remain but mixed with fresh ideas such as the window buttons being moved to the door trim rather than the centre console and newly designed air vent surrounds.
Driver and front passenger sports seats are standard and are joined by the two foldable rear seats that, when laid down, increase the Paceman’s load capacity from 330 litres to 1080 litres providing the two-door with relative practicality.
Safety is also addressed with front, side and curtain airbags and ISOFIX child seat attachments for the rear. Adaptive xenon headlights, rain sensing wipers and park assist are all available as options.
Customisation remains a priority for Mini, with alloy wheels ranging in size from 16-inch – standard on Cooper Paceman and Cooper D Paceman – 17-inch – for Cooper S Paceman and Cooper SD Paceman – and 18- and 19-inch alloy wheels as options.
Eight exterior colours are available including the new Brilliant Copper, Blazing Red and Starlight Blue – the latter an exclusive Paceman hue – and both the roof and wing mirror caps can be finished in body colour, white or black.
The release of the Mini Paceman also comes with confirmation that a John Cooper Works version is in the pipeline.
The Mini Paceman is due to join Australia’s current Mini range when it arrives in early 2013.