A sporty new exterior design, lowered suspension for a dynamic ride and an exciting reinterpretation of the familiar interior - feast your eyes on the all-new MINI Paceman, set for Irish launch in March 2013.
Styled as a coupé interpretation of the Countryman, four versions will be available when it arrives in showrooms next spring, including the MINI Cooper S Paceman which will have a 0-100kms of just 7.5 seconds.
The seventh unique member of the family, it will sell alongside the Hatch, Clubman, Convertible, Countryman, Coupéand Roadster.
Packed with MINI character and obvious design cues which tie it to the rest of the range, the three-door Paceman’s unique exterior styling is what immediately catches the eye. Built on the Countryman platform, bumper to bumper the car is 4,109 mm (4,115mm for MINI Cooper S Paceman and Cooper SD Paceman), which makes it almost identical in size to its sibling.
With a contemporary and expressive body shape, the Paceman has been created to appeal to a new type of design-conscious customer. The prominent horizontal lines and dynamic curved surfaces give the promise of sporting performance, yet there isan elegant simplicity to the overall form of the car.
The upright front grille, complete with hexagonal radiator grille and broad chrome surround, gives the Paceman genuine presence.
Its coupé-style stretched side profile features long doors, while the blacked-out pillars create a ‘floating’ roof concept, as already seen on the MINI Coupé.
Available in either black, white or body colour, the roof gently slopes towards the rear of the car, ending at the integrated spoiler.
The horizontal arrangement of the rear lights, which accentuates the car’s width, is a first for MINI.
The Paceman is the only member of the brand’s line-up to beidentified by a rear nameplate.
The car’s interior has been designed specifically for this model. Its highlight is the innovative rear seat, which has been styled around a lounge concept.
Two individual chairs provide generous levels of head, shoulder and knee room with outstanding comfort and support.
Armrests have been integrated into the rear trim.
A twosection version of the MINI Centre Rail storage and attachment system - first seen in the Countryman - comes as standard.
A full-length variant is available as an option.
The Paceman is a strict four-seater, though practicality has not been sacrificed. Folding down the rear seats expands the rear load-carrying capacity from 330 litres to a maximum of 1,080 litres.Access is via a large and high-opening tailgate, offering extra practicality for owners.
In the front, the raised seating position gives the driver and passenger an excellent view in every direction. The instrument panel includes many familiar components, including the large round central speedo.
However, its black surround and decorative inner rings in high-gloss black or chrome are new, as are the redesigned air vent surrounds. Buttons for the windows, which have been toggle switches below the speedo on every MINI to date, have moved to the door trim panel.
MINI’s trademark go-kart handling will be a key part of the Paceman’s appeal, enhanced by the optional all-wheel drive transmission.
Lowered sports suspension as standard will help provide customers with an outstanding driving experience, though regular suspension and ride height are available as a no-cost option.
From launch, Paceman customers will have the choice of four powerful four-cylinder engines, two petrol and two diesel.
All come with a six-speed manual gearbox, or the optional six-speed automatic with Steptronic function for manual control.
For petrol buyers, the MINI Cooper Paceman features a 1.6-litre 122bhp unit offering a 0-100kms time of 10.4 seconds, fuel economy of 47.1mpg with CO2 emissions of 140 g/km. The MINI Cooper S Paceman uses the same engine, tuned to deliver 184bhp.
It will sprint to 100kms in 7.5 seconds. Fuel economy is 46.3mpg and emissions are 143g/km.
For those who prefer diesel, the MINI Cooper D Paceman uses a 1.6-litre 112bhp turbocharged engine with a 0-100kms time of 10.8 seconds. It will provide owners with a frugal 64.2mpg fuel economy and 115g/km emissions.
The flagship diesel is the MINI Cooper SD Paceman, which gets a 2.0-litre 143bhp engine. Its 0-100kms time is 9.2 seconds. Fuel economy is 61.4mpg with an emissions figure of 122g/km.
For buyers who want the reassuring grip that comes with four-wheel drive, MINI’s ALL4 system is available on the Cooper D, SD and Cooper S Paceman, models.
And for those seeking the ultimate in MINI performance and desirability, a John Cooper Works Paceman version is in development.
Under the Paceman’s body shell, sophisticated chassis technology includes MacPherson spring struts and forged cross members at the front axle, a multi-link rear axle and electric power steering with Servotronic function.
These combine to provide a sure-footed yet dynamic driving experience.
Extra fun can be summoned via the sport button, optional on Cooper and Cooper D, which tweaks the engine’s responses and the power assistance provided by the steering.
It will go on sale on 16 March 2013 with prices starting at just €27,660 (OTR).
- Bob Flavin