The compact two door SUV – or SAC (sport activity coupe) as Mini describes it, is planned to get its first public outing at the Detroit auto show in early January.
But you can forget the concept car tag, Mini officials already hint the Paceman previews a coupe version of the recently introduced Countryman that will go on sale in 2013.
Sharing its front-end look with the Countryman, the new Mini ditches the four-door body of its production sibling for a more overtly sporting two door layout, with the B-pillar shifted further back within the wheelbase and the front door extended in length by 14.6 inches (370mm).
Adding to the sporting flavor is a modified windscreen that has been shortened by 0.8 inches (20mm), a plunging roof similar to that on parent company BMW’s X6, shortened C-pillar and a more angled rear window.
In a move that suggests Mini is also planning to dispense with the traditional vertical stacked tail lamps that have been a signature design cue on each Mini model since its inception in 1959, the Paceman also receives horizontal tail lamps very similar in style to those seen on the Bentley Continental GT and wrapping around into the rear fender.
“In contrast to the more vertical design of the Mini Countryman, we’ve given the Paceman concept a horizontal emphasis and accentuated the width of the car rather more,” says Marcus Syring, head of exterior design at Mini’s Munich-based studio in Germany.
Size wise, the new car is close to the Countryman, measuring 161.8 inches (4110mm) in length, 70.4 inches (1789mm) in width and 60.7 inches (1541mm) in height. It also rides on the same 102.2 inch (2595mm) wheelbase as Mini’s compact SUV, whose unitary steel platform structure is set to provide the basis for a new front-wheel drive BMW model also due out in 2013.
Powering Mini’s latest concept is the hottest of it turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder gasoline engines, as seen in the Cooper S Works. It kicks out 211bhp (155kW) and 192lb ft (260Nm) of torque – or 207lb ft (280Nm) in brief burst of overboost. It's all channeled through a six-speed manual gearbox and the same Haldex style multi-plate clutch four-wheel drive system offered in the Countryman ALL4.
Emphasizing its on-road biased nature, the new concept also receives the same sports suspension and lightly redesigned 19-inch wheels similar to those offered as optional equipment on the Countryman.