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Future models - Mini - Paceman

Mini to offer petrol-only Paceman

Imminent: The Paceman will hit Mini’s Australian showrooms from March as part of a simultaneous global launch.

Forthcoming three-door, four-seat Mini Paceman due March from circa-$35k

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Mini logo19 Nov 2012

MINI Australia will limit its forthcoming Paceman line-up to petrol-powered Cooper and Cooper S variants from launch early next year, before adding a hardcore John Cooper Works further down the track.

As we reported in September, the quirky three-door/four-seat ‘Sports Activity Vehicle’ – which is based on the Countryman SUV but has a lower roofline – will hit our shores in March 2013, the same month as it goes on sale in its UK spiritual home.

Despite being two doors down over its more practical cousin, the Paceman will command a small premium over the Countryman – likely to be about $1500 – mirroring the approach Land Rover took with the conceptually similar but slightly larger Range Rover Evoque.

Reflecting its “performance orientation”, Mini Australia will overlook the European-market diesel engine options – at least initially.

Preliminary information on Mini’s local public website makes mention only of the Cooper S variant, but Mini Australia product communications manager Scott Croaker told GoAuto that a less potent entry Cooper would also be available from launch.

Therefore, expect the Paceman range to kick off at about $35,000 – the Countryman Cooper starts at $33,700 – climbing to about $44,000 for the six-speed manual front-drive Cooper S.

The Cooper S will also be available with all-wheel-drive – as with the Countryman, on which it attracts a $2900 premium – and an optional six-speed automatic transmission that will cost $2350.

As with the Countryman (and other Mini models), the base Cooper Paceman is powered by a 1.6-litre turbo engine that produces 90kW of power at 6000rpm and 160Nm of torque at 4250rpm for a 0-100km/h sprint time of 10.4 seconds.

Fuel consumption is listed as 6.5 litres per 100km on the combined cycle (7.6 for the automatic).

The Cooper S is powered by a more powerful version of the same 1.6-litre engine, producing 135kW at 5500rpm and 240Nm between 1600 and 5000rpm, to dispatch the sprint in 7.5 seconds (0.1s quicker than the 5kg-lighter Countryman) with consumption of 6.6L/100km (7.5 for the automatic).

Mini has confirmed that a flagship John Cooper Works variant is in the pipeline, likely to be powered by the 160kW/280Nm turbo engine from the JCW Countryman.

Mr Croaker told GoAuto that the sprightly Cooper S engine would suit the positioning of the Paceman as a sporty SUV alternative.

While the Paceman has already drawn comparisons to the sporty two-door Evoque, Mr Croaker said Mini had no specific rivals in mind for the vehicle, and that its performance bent was indicative of a wider shift in the small crossover market as a whole.

“If you look at all the soft-roaders, they’re becoming more sports-like, with sweeping rear roof-lines,” he said.

“(There’s) probably no real focus at this stage on targeted competitors, it’s more about offering more opportunities and niches so people don’t have to compromise on what they want. It’s about broadening the Mini brand.”

The Paceman – Mini’s seventh model line – shares the Countryman’s architecture and 2596mm wheelbase, but the sportier model gets lowered suspension (MacPherson front, multi-link rear) that can be reverted to normal height at no charge.

It accommodates 330 litres of boot storage along with a full load of four passengers in the “lounge-style” cabin, expanding to 1080 litres with the rear seats folded flat.

The dashboard design is pure Mini, with an exaggerated central tacho sitting above the main controls, but the Paceman is the first Mini to have its window switches fitted to the door trim rather than the central fascia.

It is also the first member of Mini’s line-up to carry a rear nameplate, located on the tailgate under the company badge.

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