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Mini Paceman breaks cover before Paris debut

Thu, 13 Sep 2012

The Mini Paceman will become the seventh vehicle in Mini's lineup when it debuts at the Paris auto show later this month. It rides on the same platform as the Mini Countryman, but has a roof that slopes to the rear like the Range Rover Evoque.

As is the case with the rest of the Mini lineup, a standard model and an up-powered S version will be offered. The standard makes due with Mini's go-to 1.6-liter engine producing 122 hp and 118 lb-ft of torque. That will be good for a 0-to-60 mph sprint of 10.4 seconds with the six-speed manual, 11.5 seconds for the six-speed automatic.

The upgraded Mini Cooper S Paceman gets the company's twin-scroll turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 184 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. The Paceman S will get to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds, 7.8 seconds for the automatic.

For an extra bump in fuel economy, Mini gave all variants of the Paceman brake-energy regeneration and auto start/stop. EPA numbers will be released closer to launch.

A lowered suspension is standard on both the Paceman and Paceman S, though Mini will install a regular suspension for no cost. The new Mini will sport MacPherson struts with forged crossmembers in front, while the rear gets a multilink setup. Electric power steering is standard, which we aren't thrilled about, and an electronically locking differential is standard on the S models. The base wheels are 16 inchers but 17s, 18s and 19s are also available. Mini's All4 all-wheel-drive system is offered on both models.

The Paceman's hexagonal grille gets chrome trim. Flared wheel arches sit at the corners, while Mini's helmet-style roof wears a spoiler that can be body colored, white or black. For the first time, the rear lights have a horizontal design, which Mini says helps emphasize the car's width. The Paceman also has a high-opening tailgate with a low load-in height for easy access

Inside, the Paceman uses the company's central speedometer with a new black surround. Accent trim goes around the central control panel while window buttons are surprisingly integrated into the door trim as opposed to the center console like other Minis. The rear of the Paceman gets two bucket seats with extra kneeroom due to cutouts in the front seatbacks. The rear seats also fold down, leaving 38 cubic feet of cargo space.

Standard equipment includes air conditioning, sport front seats, a “centre rail storage system” and a CD player. Adaptive headlights, park-distance control, “comfort access” and a glass roof are optional. Hood stripes can be chosen in a contrasting color, as can upholstery and interior surfaces. The Mini Connected infotainment system with navigation can also be specified.

The 2013 Mini Paceman goes on sale in the first quarter of next year, and pricing will be announced closer to launch.

By Jake Lingeman