NewMini in the big-time
The little car for young people has outgrown its name, writes Craig Duff
ATWO-DOOR take on the Mini Countryman SUV will poke its head into public view at next week’s Detroit Motor Show.
It’s the latest in a long line of study models and, given the BMW Group’s penchant for using concepts to gauge public reaction, is a real possibility as a production model.
It also marks the 10th year since the Mini brand was relaunched in the US.
The Mini Paceman Concept coupe rides on the same raised platform as the four-door Countryman, but the front-end has been restyled along the lines of the regular Cooper S, with extra intakes in the front bumper to improve brake cooling.
The engine has been transplanted from the top-spec John Cooper Works production model, meaning a turbocharged 1.6-litre mill with 155kW/260Nm. That should give it a 0-100km/h time close to the JCW Clubman’s 6.8 seconds.
Mini describes the Paceman as the first ‘‘sports activity coupe’’ in the small-vehicle segment and is pitching the concept at extrovert urban professionals who like a unique look — and don’t mind being looked at.
The raised ride height is designed to be matched with Mini’s optional All4 all-wheel-drive system. Drive is split equally between the front and rear wheels, but the electromagnetic centre diff can direct all power to the rear if required.
The concept rides on 19-inch wheels and is 4110mm long and 1789mm wide, making it a Mini in name only.
The exterior design has focused on horizontal lines. A flat roof, wraparound glass and rising waistline give the car a wedge-shaped profile not unlike the Range Rover Evoque. The rear lights have been pushed to the outer edges to continue the stying theme, and a rear diffuser enhances the car’s look and aerodynamics.
The Mini theme of pushing the wheels to the extreme edges of the body are continued along with MacPherson strut front suspension and a multi-link rear set-up, so it can be expected to handle well.
Inside are four leather-trimmed and contoured seats.
Standout: the Mini Paceman Concept coupe should appeal to young professionals who like to attract attention.