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Paris show: Mini Paceman ready to go

On the way: Australia will be among the first markets to get the jacked-up Mini Paceman coupe, which is based on the Countryman SUV as a rival for the Range Rover Evoque.

High-riding Paceman coupe to hit Mini Australia showrooms by March 2013


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14 Sep 2012

AUSTRALIA will be among the first markets to receive the Mini Paceman three-door crossover revealed today in full production form ahead of its public debut at the Paris motor show on September 27.

Mini Australia has confirmed it will launch the high-riding coupe – based on the Countryman SUV but with a lower roofline – by March next year, around the same time as sales start in its UK spiritual home market.

As expected, the production version of Mini’s answer to the Range Rover Evoque closely resembles the original Paceman concept from the 2010 Detroit motor show, with its sloping roof, raked window line and fat rear haunches, but features a grille lifted straight from the Countryman.

And as with the Evoque, there is a fair chance of the three-door Paceman costing slightly more than its five-door Countryman sibling when it hits local showrooms, suggesting a starting price of around $35,000.

Mini Australia product communications manager Scott Croaker told GoAuto that while local pricing was not yet established, “there is an expectation that there might be a bit of a premium”.

The company charges $33,700 plus on-road costs for the base Cooper Countryman, while the flagship all-wheel-drive SD chilli commands $52,550.

The Paceman will be the seventh Mini model to enter production, joining a growing line-up that also includes the Hatch, Clubman, Cabrio, Coupe and Roadster.

Mini previously said it would investigate further expansion into other model niches, possibly using parent company BMW’s brand new modular front-drive UKL platform that underpins the Concept Active Tourer revealed overnight (see separate story).

The Paceman will be available with four engines – two petrol, two diesel – all sourced from the Countryman.

Base Cooper and Cooper D variants will be powered by 90kW/160Nm petrol and 82kW/270Nm petrol and diesel engines respectively, while the flagship Cooper S will use a 135kW/240Nm petrol and the Cooper SD gets a 105kW/305Nm turbo diesel.

The Cooper S is said to sprint from zero to 100km/h in 7.5 seconds on to a top speed of 217km/h, while a range-topping John Cooper Works variant is believed to be in the works, powered by the 160kW/280Nm turbo engine from the JCW Countryman.

The car will come in both front-drive and ALL4 all-wheel-drive configuration and feature six-speed manual and automatic transmissions.

Mr Croaker said all four engines would probably be available Down Under, as they are with the Countryman.

The Paceman shares the Countryman’s architecture and 2596mm wheelbase, but as befitting is sportier design gets lowered suspension (MacPherson front, multi-link rear). Mini will revert the set-up for no charge.

The four-seat cabin is said to feature “lounge-style” ambience and can accommodate 330 litres of storage along with a full load of passengers, expanding to 1080 litres with the rear seats folded flat.

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

Safety features and standard equipment will mirror the respective Countryman variants, with all models features six airbags, ISOFIX child seat attachments and an MP3-compatible sound system.

The 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.

As with all Minis, the Paceman comes is a wide range of colours and can be customised with contrasting colours on the roof and mirrors.

The production Paceman will feature on Mini’s stand at the mammoth Paris show alongside the limited edition Mini Hatch JCW GP Edition, which is said to be the fastest Mini ever.

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