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Mini unveils the Paceman

It's a 3dr door version of a 5dr version of a 3dr. Geddit?...

After some leaked images last week, Mini has revealed the Paceman ahead of a public debut at the Paris Motor Show in 2 weeks.

Effectively a three-door coupe version of the Countryman hatchback, Mini hopes it will share sales success with the Range Rover Evoque Coupe, though at a lower price point. A few years ago we doubt any industry analysts would have predicted that a 3-door small SUV would be a sales success, but Range Rover have proven the market exists and Mini will surely do just as well (if not better) given that the top spec Paceman will be around £6000 cheaper than the base Evoque Coupe.

The Paceman shares the front end of the Countryman but adds a lower front splitter arrangement for a sportier look. From there back it’s all new as the Paceman gets a more steeply raked windscreen, a lower roofline which slopes down to the rear hatch, which has a more angled design. There’s a small rear window and high rear end featuring large chrome-ringed rear lights. There are black body cladding sections to the wheelarches, rear bumper and sills too which give the small SUV a chunkier appearance. Overall it’s easy to dismiss the Paceman as a cynical marketing exercise, but when you see the images it certainly grows on you, even looking well-proportioned and quite stylish after a while. We’re not overly keen on the massive Mini badge and Paceman lettering on the back though.

The interior stays the same as the Countryman but with very small changes to accommodate the sportier style. Despite the roof being 40mm lower than the Countryman, interior headroom is only reduced by 10mm due to the lower ride height and a clever roof lining.

Engine-wise, the petrol Paceman range starts off with the 119 bhp 1.6 litre petrol engined Cooper and is topped by the 181 bhp Cooper S. The Diesel range featured the Cooper D with 110 bhp and the Cooper SD with 141 bhp. All engines bar the base petrol are available in either front wheel drive or four wheel drive, mirroring the Countryman offerings.

The Paceman will offer a sportier drive to the Countryman given the lower ride height and stiffer, retuned suspension, though it won’t be as nimble as the normal Mini hatch due to the higher centre of gravity and the fact that it’s a physically heavier car.

Prices start at £18,970 for the 1.6 petrol Cooper FWD, rising to £24,170 for a Cooper SD AWD, but as with all Minis, expect at least another £2000 to be added for the ‘essential’ options. A 218 bhp John Cooper Works model will arrive later next year.

Images courtesy of Mini

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About Tim Oldland

Contributing Editor - Long time petrolhead, automotive design engineer and journalist. Also Social Media Manager for the ecurie25 Group - www.ecurie25.com Tim has worked in the automotive sector for many years, but has been a fan of anything with 2 or 4... read more