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Paris show: Mini ‘spies’ Paceman

Camo coupe: Mini has hidden the Paceman’s rear-end styling in its first official images of the car but shown the world that its coupe-like SUV will share a face with the related Countryman.

Official ‘spy shots’ of Mini Paceman published ahead of March arrival Down Under

2 Aug 2012

OFFICIAL photos of the upcoming Mini Paceman coupe-SUV have been published on the iconic British brand’s Facebook page ahead of the car’s debut at the Paris motor show in September and next year’s Australian showroom arrival.

The public’s first glimpse of the three-door Paceman reveals that its front-end styling will closely resemble the Countryman on which it is based, rather than keeping the traditional chrome-laden front-end of the concept that debuted at the 2011 Detroit motor show.

Although the Paceman’s rear three-quarter panels and boot lid remain concealed by camouflage, it is clear the concept’s Range Rover Evoque-like sloping roofline has been carried over.

BMW Group Australia product communications manager Scott Croaker told GoAuto the Paceman is expected to reach Australia late in the first quarter or early in the second quarter of next year.

Although it is too early to confirm pricing, Mr Croaker he said it would be logical for the Paceman to be sold at a premium over the Countryman as befits any sports or performance variant.

Countryman pricing starts at $33,700 (plus on-road costs) for the manual Cooper following a $4000 price drop in March, leaving the Paceman to step in around the $36,000 mark if BMW applies a premium similar to the $2490 charged for the Roadster over the Hatch.

39 center imageHowever if BMW Australia decides to bypass the entry-level engine variants and go straight to the sporty Cooper S level as it did with the Coupe and Roadster, the opening price could end up in the region of $45,000.

That would put it on a par with the similarly swoopy Audi Q3, while the least expensive Range Rover Evoque is $49,995 – although specifying a three-door ‘coupe’ Rangie costs a further $1500 over the five-door.

Countryman sales average around 42 units per month, making it Mini’s second best seller after the Hatch/Clubman, monthly combined sales of which average at 135 units.

Mr Croaker agreed the Paceman will be a niche product and signals a foray into another new segment for Mini but pointed to the “absolute runaway success” of compatriot Range Rover with the Evoque, which has averaged more than 200 units per month since its launch last November.

“I am not suggesting we are going to experience exactly the same (sales volume) but at this end of the market segment we are looking at performance compact SUVs, styling is a big factor determining the volume of these cars,” he said.

On its Facebok page Mini described the two-door Paceman as “powerful and agile, with a most exceptional take on MINI design” that is “not a ride fit for wallflowers”.

The Paceman will be built in Austria by Magna Steyr alongside the Countryman but production could eventually move to the Netherlands as BMW Group is in talks with Mitsubishi-owned Dutch vehicle assembly plant Nedcar.

Nedcar builds Mitsubishi Colt light cars and Outlander SUVs for the European market, but production is set to halt by the end of this year as Mitsubishi has no plans to keep making vehicles at Nedcar once the current-generation Colt and Outlander are retired.

BMW is eyeing the site, which first produced DAF, then Volvo cars before Mitsubishi took over, as it wants to bring overseas production closer to its base at Oxford, in Britain.

Mini’s Clubvan concept, revealed at the Geneva show in February, is also confirmed for production but Mr Croaker said it is not on the agenda for Australia.

Likely sales volumes of such a niche product are too tiny to justify putting the Clubvan through the Australian Design Rule (ADR) compliance process.

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