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Mini Paceman, the Countryman’s less ugly sister car, is now official and coming in March 2013

Mini Paceman FrontFashionable and funky, the new Mini is a global automotive sensation, and rightly so; it looks good, drives brilliantly and the build quality justifies its price. BMW had no intention of leaving the brand alone though, and has subsequently rolled out several variations on the theme, including the cool Rocketman and Clubvan concepts.

From those vehicles that have made it to dealer forecourts, the Countryman is perhaps the strangest. For a vehicle named Mini, it’s big, and despite good genes, it’s ugly too. Yes, it’s practical, but those are looks only a mother could love.

But the Countryman has been to the gym, grabbed itself some new threads, and hit the streets as the Mini Paceman, the latest Mini to be announced and a coupe version of the Countryman. It’s not the first time we’ve seen the Paceman, as it has been part of the company’s plan for a while, and several leaked shots have given us a basic idea of what it will look like.

Its Paris Motor Show debut is our first proper look though, as it’s obviously sans camouflage, and the press shots are suitably glossy.

Mini Paceman Top

Let’s start from the top. The back-slanted roof that leads into a spoiler will be available in black, white or the same color as the body, and is attached to the car using black pillars to recreate the “floating roof” look seen on other models.

To further accentuate the coupe-look, the waistline curves up towards the roof at the rear of the car, and there are only two, long doors. The front is very similar to the Countryman, but there are plenty of changes around the back. Aside from the massive Mini badge and Paceman name tag, the car has been given horizontally-mounted lights — a first for the brand. The chrome surrounds won’t appeal to everyone, and the new light clusters do a good job of emphasizing the width of the car. Whether that’s a good or bad thing will depend on your taste.

The styling helps the Paceman look like less of a heffalump than the Countryman, but one has to question the practicality of a car this size with only two doors.

Mini Paceman Rear

A choice of four engines will be available when the car goes on sale, starting with the 1.6 liter, 122 horsepower motor using either petrol or diesel, plus a 2.0 liter 143 horsepower diesel and finally, a 184bhp 1.6 liter petrol engine in the top-of-the-range Mini Cooper S Paceman. A John Cooper Works edition will join them in the future. Like the Countryman, Mini’s four-wheel drive will be an option, as will the company’s extensive range of customization options, plus the suspension has been tuned to offer sportier handling.

A US release hasn’t been confirmed yet, but the Paceman will hit UK showrooms on March 16 2013, and prices will start at £18,970, or around $30,900.

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