Is new MINI on the pace?

MINI Paceman
MINI Paceman
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The MINI Paceman is, in effect, a Countryman coupe. And that might well be the oddest of the MINI body styles to date.

As with some of the others, you may be left scratching your head. Is this the time that MINI confounds us yet again or will the wheels come off with a model too far?

Being based on the Countryman chassis, the Paceman will doubtless drive reasonably well for a car of its size and weight. One interesting move is to offer lowered sports suspension as standard to focus the driving experience a little more, although regular suspension and ride height are available as a no-cost option.

Paceman customers initially have the choice of two petrol and two diesel engines, all four-cylinder units with a six-speed manual gearbox, or an optional six-speed automatic with Steptronic function for ‘manual’ shifting.

For diesel buyers, the MINI Cooper D Paceman features a 1.6-litre 112bhp turbocharged engine with a 0-62mph time of 10.8 seconds. The flagship diesel is the MINI Cooper SD Paceman, which features a 2.0-litre 143bhp engine and will rattle off the sprint to 62mph in 9.2 seconds.

Petrol people meanwhile get a Cooper Paceman model with a 1.6-litre 122bhp unit offering a sprint to 62mph of 10.4 seconds, while the Cooper S Paceman uses the same engine, tuned to deliver 184bhp. It will get to 62mph in 7.5 seconds but if that’s not fast enough, the flagship John Cooper Works Paceman uses a 218bhp version of this unit allied to ALL 4 all-wheel-drive, taking this variant to 62mph in just 6.9s.

The ALL4 all-wheel-drive system is also available on the Cooper D, SD and Cooper S models.

Styled as a coupe take on the Countryman, the Paceman is the seventh spin-off of the MINI theme. In some ways, it’s a car that makes very little sense at all – which is probably exactly why many potential buyers will like it. In any case, MINI is used to carping critics. The brand, after all, took a lot of flak in offering the bigger Countryman model on which this car is based.

Will that be the case again with this Paceman? At least this car’s different. And that’s always a welcome thing.