MINI is marking an important milestone in its history by once again presenting a fascinating new vehicle concept for the MINI family – the MINI Paceman Concept. Exactly 10 years ago, visitors to the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit witnessed the relaunch of the MINI brand in North America, which signalled the beginning of an unparalleled success story. And now the brand is also preparing to celebrate this landmark anniversary at the NAIAS – taking place from 10-23 January 2011 – with the world premiere of the MINI Paceman Concept. This spectacular study vehicle establishes a totally new category of car with its potential for providing even more driving fun and an even greater range of usage. The MINI Paceman Concept could become another building block in the ongoing development of the brand and its product portfolio.
The MINI Paceman Concept takes the fundamental strengths of MINI – its uniqueness, go-kart handling, agility, dynamic capability and individual design – and gives them a fresh twist with the help of cutting-edge technology and an innovative body concept. It combines a sporty, masculine appearance, versatility and coupe looks with the dimensions of the four-door MINI Countryman. And it brings together the classical MINI concept, the defining features of the MINI Countryman and the style of a coupe to harmonious effect. The result is a MINI with visual “muscle car” design cues, which displays its dynamic capability from every angle and showcases it impressively both when viewed from the side and in the design of the rear.
The MINI Paceman Concept, whose crossover design makes it the first Sports Activity Coupe (SAC) in the small car segment, blends lifestyle elements with premium quality. It is the ideal car for young, modern, extrovert urbanites who love the hallmark MINI go-kart feeling, enjoy stand-out individuality, place great importance on the personality of a brand and buy into its character and ethos. They are confident types, who live according to their own style and express their distinctive individuality in a MINI, who use the big-city mobility the MINI provides to embark on voyages of discovery through the urban jungle, and who experience driving fun in its most concentrated form thanks to the excellent ride comfort of the MINI both in everyday driving and over long journeys.
The masculine design language of the MINI Paceman Concept spotlights both the stand-alone identity of the concept and its membership of the MINI family. The four-seater study, whose two large doors and a wide-opening tailgate mark it out unmistakably as a MINI, imbues the sporty, cutting-edge Sports Activity Coupe (SAC) category with undeniable appeal. The platform of the MINI Countryman, with its hallmark MINI proportions, increased ground clearance and raised seating position, defines the study’s compact dimensions.
Exterior: Sports Activity Coupe – urban and masculine.
The MINI Paceman Concept retains the familiar MINI family front end, but adds its own distinctive flavor. The large headlights with chrome surrounds extend far into the front wings and, together with the strikingly contoured bonnet, emphasize the imposing front end. The MINI Paceman Concept largely replicates the front grille design of the MINI Cooper S Countryman. However, additional intakes in the lower section of the front bumper ensure improved brake ventilation and combine with the study’s deep-set foglamps to sharpen its sporting edge. The MINI Paceman Concept’s fresh interpretation of the side scuttle at the transition from front wing to door houses both the side direction indicator and an air outlet. The side scuttle has a broad, sturdy-looking design and leads the eye from the A-pillar down towards the front wheel, making it an unmistakable, sporty, wheel-accentuating feature.
Large 19-inch wheels designed exclusively for the study car and dark wheel arch borders with side skirts highlighted in the same color team up with the familiar MINI shoulder line rising up slightly towards the rear to underline the car’s sporty and powerful appearance. The MINI Paceman Concept shows off its roof contours particularly effectively. The flat roofline runs horizontally from front to rear, where it flows into a wide, transparent-looking C-pillar. The windows appear to wrap around the car like a band of glass, with the “helmet roof” – in a strikingly contrasting color – suspended on top. The coupe-specific windows taper as they extend to the rear, and combine with the slightly rising waistline to create a prominently dynamic wedge shape when viewed from the side. The classic MINI three-level split of roof, greenhouse and body is again clearly recognizable in this study vehicle.
“In contrast to the more vertical design of the MINI Countryman, we’ve given the MINI Paceman Concept a horizontal emphasis and accentuated the width of the car rather more,” explains Marcus Syring, Head of MINI Exterior Design, to underline the powerful appearance of the study. The new interpretation of the traditional coupe values (the word “coupe” comes from the French “couper” meaning “to cut off”) produces a new homogeneous coupe tail which retains the unique MINI charm. Powerful proportions and the muscular design of the vehicle flanks, with their broad rear wings, reinforce its unconventional, athletic impression.
The newly interpreted rear lights are positioned at the outer edges of the rear and underline the dominance of horizontal lines, which run parallel to one another and emphasize the wide track of the rear axle. As with the MINI Cooper S Countryman, the rear apron of the MINI Paceman Concept has a diffuser design. The airflow is channeled between the twin-tailpipe exhaust on the underbody section, further optimizing the car’s aerodynamic properties. Even the license plate recess echoes the form of the air intake in the front bumper, forging a stylistic link between the front and rear of the car.
The four-seater car measures 4,110 millimeters in length, 1,789 millimeters in width and 1,541 millimeters in height. In telltale family style, the MINI Paceman Concept has extremely short overhangs, which lend particular emphasis to the car’s athletic stature.
Interior: a blend of modern functionality and luxurious character.
The interior of the MINI Paceman Concept deliberately draws from the MINI design language, yet also comes across as refreshingly new. Behind the study’s masculine exterior lies an elegant yet sporty core imbued with a premium sense of quality. The instrument panel of the MINI study is defined by its distinctive, concave forms and the sporty but functional impression it creates. Particularly large side air vents underline the character of the interior, which is defined by cutting-edge functionality. The central air vents, Centre Speedo and gearshift lever are given broad surrounds in a contrasting color.
The slim centre console, which maximizes legroom for the driver and front passenger, melts between the seats into the Centre Rail familiar from the MINI Countryman, creating a visual and functional link between the front and rear seats. This unique and innovative U-profile rail system runs through the middle of the passenger compartment back as far as the rear seat backrests. Light shades of leather pervade the interior of the MINI Paceman Concept and lend it an expressive, luxurious allure. The new interpretation of the brand’s familiar elliptical door and side trim extends along the length of the cabin, taking in the B-pillar and emphasizing the length of the interior. At the same time, the communicative and communal character of MINI cars is clearly highlighted. Embedded in the elliptical main element are the shaped armrests with large stowage compartments, ergonomically designed door pulls and the speakers for the sound system. Behind the sports seats are two comfortable individual seats, whose backrests merge boldly into side sections to create fully contoured supports. The “lounge” character that this creates underlines the individual, unconventional appearance of the study car and turns every journey into an experience for the rear passengers, as well as those in the front.
Drive system: powerful and efficient.
Both from a space point of view and in its chassis set-up, the MINI Paceman Concept has been designed to allow the most powerful drive unit currently available for a MINI to be fitted under the bonnet. The MINI John Cooper Works 1.6-litre twin-scroll turbocharged engine gives the MINI Paceman Concept the means to achieve top-class levels of sports performance. The four-cylinder unit develops 155 kW/211 hp and generates maximum torque of 260 Nm (192 lb-ft), which can be increased to as much as 280 Nm (207 lb-ft) in brief bursts thanks to the Overboost function.
Its MINI Countryman roots give the MINI concept study an ideal platform for the optionally available MINI ALL4 permanent all-wheel-drive system. This features an electromagnetic centre differential positioned directly on the final drive which varies the distribution of power seamlessly between the front and rear axles. In normal driving conditions up to 50 per cent of the drive is sent to the rear wheels, in extreme situations as much as 100 per cent. Harnessing the power of the brawny four-cylinder engines, in all-wheel-drive form the
MINI Paceman Concept would offer an extra dose of driving fun through a traction-led, sporty expression of the agile handling for which MINI is famed.
Chassis: the best handling characteristics in the segment.
MINI chassis technology has been further developed for the MINI Paceman Concept to turn the potential of the extremely powerful engines – safely and with impressive poise – into inspiring agility. Precise, sporty handling and excellent ride comfort set the MINI Paceman Concept apart. That is down not least to the go-kart feeling typical of the brand. The front axle features MacPherson spring struts with lower track control arms, while Electric Power Steering with speed-sensitive power assistance plays a major role in giving the SAC the agility customers expect of the brand. The multi-link rear axle was developed on the back of BMW Group chassis expertise and is designed for use in both the front-wheel-drive and the ALL4 all-wheel-drive versions of the car.
MINI Paceman Concept: an idea ahead of the game – once again.
The MINI Paceman Concept embodies the idea of an incomparable driving experience in a way that meets the needs of a modern, lifestyle-oriented target group but also stays true to the character of the brand.
With the MINI Countryman having already opened up a fascinating new avenue in the expansion of the brand family, the designers are now tapping into the potential of its state-of-the-art drive technology and flexible space concept once again to develop additional usage options in a coupe sibling. The MINI Paceman Concept prioritizes a particularly emotional driving experience and demonstrates this ability in a style typical of the brand. Here you can find clear evidence of how totally new vehicle concepts can still be developed today through unconventional creativity.