Sunday, September 16, 2012


MINI owner BMW has now extended its “Sports Activity” moniker to the British-born brand. The new MINI Paceman is being marketed as a Sports Activity Coupe, the first of its kind in the small premium segment. Paceman is essentially a chopped-off Countryman that keeps the same number of seats but cuts off on the number of doors.

Styling-wise the car is characterised by the same massive hexagonal front grille we’ve seen in the Countryman - dubbed the MAXI by yours truly due to its size – a coupe-like side profile, especially at the rear, flared wheel arches, that helmet roof style at the back, black bumpers and chrome-surround rear lights. Despite its size, ride height and shape, MINI insists that Paceman will still prove to supply that go-kart like feeling to the driver.

Inside it’s typically MINI, with that large circular centre, a rounded gear lever, round air vents for the climate control, roundedseats and other figures. There’s very little unique about the front end. At the back things are different of course, due to the fact that both front and rear passengers have to use the same two doors. Loading capacity from the 4.1 metre long Paceman increases from 330 litres to 1 080 litres when the rear seats are folded. A lower, normal ride height can be specified by those who prefer to be on the same level as most other traffic.

The car comes with a range of engines, all of which already exist in both MINI and BMW stables. For the Mzansi market we can expect the following: the normally aspirated 90kW, 160Nm Cooper Paceman. Higher than that is the Cooper S Paceman delivering 135kW and 240Nm of torque, with a 20Nm overboost for overtaking. Both are fitted with 1.6-litre engines, the latter’s being turbocharged. Later we’ll see the 155kW John Cooper Works (JCW) version. They will be driving through 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic gearboxes, with MINI’s ALL4 all-wheel-drive (AWD) system made available to the Cooper S.

New MINI Paceman is in South Africa in 2013 and will not have any direct competitors upon its arrival.

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//PART 2