MINI has never followed popular convention, and the new 2013 MINI Cooper Paceman is further proof that the British brand does what it wants.
While other automakers the world over are focusing on smaller and smaller cars, MINI continues to roll out (relatively) larger models. Since 2007 we’ve seen the launch of both the Clubman and Countryman, and if those models are the equivalent of an SUV for MINI, then the Paceman is their new crossover – or rather, as MINI prefers to call it, an SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle).
The car will be initially available with a 1.6L four-cylinder engine making 122 horsepower in the Paceman, and a turbocharged variant with 184 horses in the Cooper S Paceman. MINI aims to provide customers with zip around town, along with added cargo and interior space that you can’t find in the Cooper or Cooper Coupe. European buyers will have a turbodiesel option with impressive 225 lb.-ft of torque, but this likely won’t make it stateside.
We can’t wait to see how the Paceman drives, because while the power seems adequate and the excellent MINI six-speed manual is standard (six-speed auto is an option), the Paceman sports a longer wheelbase and higher center of gravity than the conventional Cooper – characteristics that may dilute its trademark driving dynamics.
But then again, maybe they won’t. The Paceman comes with a bevy of driving aids such as MacPherson spring strusts, a multi-link rear axle, Stability and Traction Control and 16-19 inch alloy wheels. It may be larger than the Cooper, but the Paceman is still a two-door MINI and that’s enough to pique our interest.
The Cooper S is available with ALL4 all-wheel drive, and MINI expects to release a John Cooper Works edition of the Paceman in the near future.
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