Story: DAVID WILKINS
JUST when you thought the car-makers had run out of new niches to fill, BMW comes up with what it calls the “first Sports Activity Coupé in the premium small and compact segment”.
What that actually means is that they’ve decided to do a two-door version of the super-sized MINI Countryman to go up against the Range Rover Evoque, which has been busting all sales records at Land Rover since it was introduced last year. The new car’s name? MINI Paceman.
The MINI Paceman is the seventh distinct model to join the MINI line-up, and the transition to a two-door body-shell has allowed it to shake off some of the rather heavy look of the Countryman – a car that is a hit with car buyers even though it’s regarded sceptically by professional reviewers. One novelty – it’s the first MINI with horizontally-orientated tail-lights. Inside, the most distinctive feature is the Paceman’s strict four-passenger configuration with two individual rear seats.
The initial line-up embraces four engine options; the MINI Cooper D Paceman (112 PS), the MINI Cooper Paceman (122 PS), the MINI Cooper SD Paceman (143 PS) and MINI Cooper S Paceman (184 PS). Later on, there’ll be a John Cooper Works version, and the Paceman will be available with the MINI ALL4 all-wheel-drive system at extra cost as well.
Standard kit includes air conditioning, sports seats and the Centre Rail system first seen on the Countryman, but there’ll also be the usual opportunities for business car buyers who go for the Paceman to spend a lot of cash on upgrades and personalisation options. BMW will be tempting them with choices such as xenon headlights, a glass roof, sat-nav, and MINI Connected in-car phone and music technology, as well as a wide range of bonnet stripes, paint finishes and interior trims. No info on business car finance and tax as yet.