Conceived during Mini's rapid brand expansion, the Paceman joined the ranks of the two-seat Roadster and Coupe as unconventional riffs on the time-tested Cooper Hatchback. The Paceman shares its chassis and powertrain with the Countryman crossover, but featured unique two-door coupe styling. Think of it as the BMW X6 of the Mini family.
2016 will be the final model year for the Paceman, and it's unlikely to be replaced. Production of it and the Countryman will be wound down as Mini prepares for a new generation crossover based on the BMW X1. With the demise of the Range Rover Evoque Coupe last year, if a crossover coupe is your thing, you’ll need to act quick.
There are no changes other than a reduction in interior and exterior colour choices, and the deletion of a few interior trim pieces.
The Paceman is available in Cooper S and John Cooper Works Trims. Both come with Mini's All4 all-wheel-system as standard and can be had with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission.
Both the S and JCW use a 1.6-litre turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder engine. In S tune, the engine puts out 181 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. The JCW versions receive a bump in power to 208 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque (207 lb-ft on overboost). A Sport mode (optional on S, standard on JCW) amps up throttle response, adds weight to the steering, and makes the exhaust pop like gunfire when letting off the throttle - jolly good fun.
The John Cooper Works add a body kit, larger 18-inch wheels, sport seats with added bolstering, JCW leather-wrapped steering wheel, sport suspension, piano black interior trim, and a black interior headliner.
Both the S and JCW are fun to drive with agile handling and minimal body roll. All-wheel-drive traction adds extra security in poor weather; a feature most sporty hatchbacks don’t offer. The Cooper S model’s standard suspension is on the firm side; the sport suspension, optional on the S and standard on the JCW, is stiff.
The cabin design of the Paceman is steeped in retro cues including a central mount speedometer, and vintage-look toggle switches. The driving position is similar to the Countryman crossover. Compared to the standard Cooper hatchback, the Paceman offers a rear seat with significantly more rear legroom, though getting in and out of the second row can be awkward.
Despite being significantly larger on the outside than the current Cooper, the Paceman has only an 85 L advantage in its cargo hold. A 50/50 split-folding rear seat is standard. A compact hatchback such as a Mazda3 or Volkswagen Golf offers more cargo space.
Pricing for the Cooper S Paceman starts at $31,200 with the JCW selling for $39,600.
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