The Concept is the first Sports Activity Coupé in the small premium segment. The Paceman study establishes a new category of car combining the fundamental Mini DNA with a fresh twist. The Paceman combines the features of the Mini Counrtyman and the style of a coupe. The result is said to be a Mini with visual ‘muscle car’ design cues.
Although the copany claims that no decision has been made about a future production version, they admit that Paceman could form yet another building block in the development of the Mini brand.
The Paceman retains the familiar Mini face but adds its own distinct flavor. Large headlights with chrome surrounds extend deep into the front fenders and, together with the distinctively contoured hood, emphasize the imposing nose of the Paceman. The radiator grille is essentially the same as that of the Cooper S Countryman, barring the additional intakes in the bumper and the incorporation of deep-set foglights.
From the side, the Paceman features a fresh interpretation of the front fenders and side indicator that attract the eye from the A-pillars down to the unique 19” wheels. This rugged and sturdy design element is complemented by dark wheel arch surrounds with matching side skirts to emphasize the sporting nature of Paceman.
The familiar Mini shoulder line that rises towards the rear of the Concept also hints at its sporting intent. Less familiar is the glass and roof treatment. As the waistline rises the flat roofline flows into a wide C-pillar that appears to be transparent. The windows appear to wrap around the car like a band of glass with the roof ‘suspended’ on top and painted in a striking, contrasting color. This is known as the ‘helmet’ roof. The coupé-style windows taper towards the rear and the whole effect is one of a dynamic wedge.
A new interpretation of the classic coupé design has given the Mini Paceman a distinctive coupé tail that complements the athletic character of the car. New rear lights positioned at the outer edges of the broad, muscular rear fenders underline the dominance of horizontal lines, which run parallel to one another and emphasize the wide track of the rear axle. As with the Cooper S Countryman, the rear apron of the Paceman Concept features a diffuser that channels airflow between the twin exhausts and enhances the aerodynamics. Even the licence plate recess echoes the form of the front air intake in order to forge a stylistic link between the front and rear.
The interior deliberately draws on Mini’s distinctive design language, yet also imparts a fresh new look. The instrument panel is defined by its concave forms. The central air vents, Central Speedo and gearshift lever feature outer rings in a contrasting color.
The slim center console, which maximizes legroom, coalesces into the Center Rail pioneered by the Mini Countryman, creating a functional link between the front and rear seats. This unique rail system runs along the centerline of the passenger compartment as far as the rear seats.
Light shades of leather lend an expression of luxury to the interior, while a new interpretation of the brand’s elliptical door and side trim extends along the length of the cabin, taking in the B-pillar and emphasizing the length of the interior. Shaped armrests with large stowage compartments and the speakers for the sound system are embedded in the main element of this ellipse.
Behind the front seats are two comfortably-shaped individual rear seats with backrests that merge into the seat sides to create contoured passenger support.
The Mini Paceman Concept has the John Cooper Works 1.6-liter twin-scroll turbo engine, giving the Concept the capacity to deliver 211hp and up to 207 lb-ft in brief bursts thanks to the Overboost function. Its Countryman roots give the new concept an ideal platform for the Mini ALL4 permanent all-wheel-drive system. It features an electromagnetic center differential, which varies the distribution of power between the front and rear axles. In normal driving conditions up to 50 per cent of the drive is sent to the rear wheels, but in extreme situations as much as 100 per cent can be directed to the rear.
Mini claims the Paceman Concept is also available in two-wheel drive form, suggesting the production options have been thoroughly investigated. So don’t be surprised if this appears in Mini showrooms by 2013.