Few automakers have maintained a more aggressive pace, in recent years, than Mini, which has been rapidly rolling out an assortment of new products, such as the new Countryman crossover. Now, it seems, that pace will quicken still more with the British marque planning another global preview at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, next month.
January 10th will bring the world premiere of the Paceman Concept, a model that Mini dubs a Sports Activity Vehicle, in keeping with parent BMW, which uses the SAV designation for its own X-models, such as the X5 and X6 crossovers.
The Mini Paceman is based on the same four-wheel drive platform used by the Countryman and differs only slightly in terms of in length and shares the same width as the four-door Countryman. But there’s plenty to distinguish the Paceman visually.
The new concept boasts a strikingly dynamic design with short overhangs and a fluid, very sporty feel. The typical Mini features are still there, such as the large headlamps with chrome rings that extend into the fenders. But the low-mounted fog lamps and large under-bumper openings allow more air to reach the brakes and add to the sporty stance.
From the rear, Paceman is a true Mini, but its taillamps feature a new design that both underscores and compliments the 2-door model’s horizontal lines and the wide track.
The overall look and feel is a bit more up-market, as well, almost like a pint-sized take on the new Land Rover Evoque, thanks to the blacked-out C-pillars, the lower windshield and a roof that forms a rearward wedge. One of the more intriguing design touches is the use of copper trim – in the grille, for one thing, and to frame the alloy wheels.
The decision to go with a 2-door design that is much the classic Mini suggests that the BMW brand’s executives are reaching for buyers who just can’t quite come to grips with something as small as the original model but still like the quirky look and feel of the Mini design.
Under the hood of the Paceman Concept is the 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbo engine that we know from the John Cooper Works. It is the first time this 211 hp and 192 lb-ft — with overboost 207 lb-ft of torque — strong engine is combined with Mini’s ALL4 permanent all-wheel-drive system. We expect a future production model to offer all engines that are currently available for Mini.
The interior of the concept car also picks up on the current Mini design language, adding some of the more appealing details introduced on the Countryman, notably including the center rail that runs from the front all the way to the back of the two rear seats and can be used for stowing small goods by attaching a variety of storage bins and other available options.