Look, much as we like the Mini Countryman – we did spend a year with one, after all – we find it hard to believe that people are clamoring for a less-functional version of it. That said, we had our doubts about the four-door Countryman, and it turned out to be a pretty sweet, if pricey, little package.

So, the Paceman. It's pretty much exactly what you'd expect – offered in base and S versions, with naturally aspirated and turbocharged versions of the 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder engine, respectively. And like the Countryman, if you want All4 all-wheel drive, you'd better want the turbo. Mini is said to be working on a John Cooper Works version of its new three door as well, falling in line with the recently introduced JCW Countryman.

European Paceman models (Pacemen?) will be offered with a choice of two diesel powerplants, and six-speed transmissions are found throughout the entire powertrain range in both manual and automatic forms.

Specific design cues that differentiate the Paceman from its Countryman brethren include a sloping roofline and redesigned rump, new interior details like awesome plaid seat inserts (check them out in our gallery) and window switches placed on the doors rather than the center console that give the car a slight dose of uniqueness, and a bit of welcomed rationality to the controls.

That said, it'll always be a two-door Countryman to us, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Scroll down for all the deets.
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SETTING A NEW PACE FOR MINI: The all-new MINI Paceman

13.09.2012 -- A sporty new exterior design, lowered suspension for a dynamic ride and an exciting reinterpretation of the familiar interior – feast your eyes on the all-new MINI Paceman, set for UK launch in March 2013.

Styled as a coupé interpretation of the Countryman, four versions will be available when it arrives in showrooms next spring, including the MINI Cooper S Paceman which will have a 0-62mph of just 7.5 seconds. The seventh unique member of the family, it will sell alongside the Hatch, Clubman, Convertible, Countryman, Coupé and Roadster.

Packed with MINI character and obvious design cues which tie it to the rest of the range, the three-door Paceman's unique exterior styling is what immediately catches the eye. Built on the Countryman platform, bumper to bumper the car is 4,109 mm (4,115mm for MINI Cooper S Paceman and Cooper SD Paceman), which makes it almost identical in size to its sibling.

With a contemporary and expressive body shape, the Paceman has been created to appeal to a new type of design-conscious customer. The prominent horizontal lines and dynamic curved surfaces give the promise of sporting performance, yet there is an elegant simplicity to the overall form of the car.

The upright front grille, complete with hexagonal radiator grille and broad chrome surround, gives the Paceman genuine presence. Its coupé-style stretched side profile features long doors, while the blacked-out pillars create a 'floating' roof concept, as already seen on the MINI Coupé. Available in either black, white or body colour, the roof gently slopes towards the rear of the car, ending at the integrated spoiler. The horizontal arrangement of the rear lights, which accentuates the car's width, is a first for MINI. The Paceman is the only member of the brand's line-up to be identified by a rear nameplate.

The car's interior has been designed specifically for this model. Its highlight is the innovative rear seat, which has been styled around a lounge concept. Two individual chairs provide generous levels of head, shoulder and knee room with outstanding comfort and support. Armrests have been integrated into the rear trim. A two-section version of the MINI Centre Rail storage and attachment system – first seen in the Countryman – comes as standard. A full-length variant is available as an option.

The Paceman is a strict four-seater, though practicality has not been sacrificed. Folding down the rear seats expands the rear load-carrying capacity from 330 litres to a maximum of 1,080 litres. Access is via a large and high-opening tailgate, offering extra practicality for owners.

In the front, the raised seating position gives the driver and passenger an excellent view in every direction. The instrument panel includes many familiar components, including the large round central speedo. However, its black surround and decorative inner rings in high-gloss black or chrome are new, as are the redesigned air vent surrounds. Buttons for the windows, which have been toggle switches below the speedo on every MINI to date, have moved to the door trim panel.

MINI's trademark go-kart handling will be a key part of the Paceman's appeal, enhanced by the optional all-wheel drive transmission. Lowered sports suspension as standard will help provide customers with an outstanding driving experience, though regular suspension and ride height are available as a no-cost option.

From launch, Paceman customers will have the choice of four powerful four-cylinder engines, two petrol and two diesel. All come with a six-speed manual gearbox, or the optional six-speed automatic with Steptronic function for manual control.

For petrol buyers, the MINI Cooper Paceman features a 1.6-litre 122bhp unit offering a 0-62mph time of 10.4 seconds, fuel economy of 47.1mpg with CO2 emissions of 140 g/km. The MINI Cooper S Paceman uses the same engine, tuned to deliver 184bhp. It will sprint to 62mph in 7.5 seconds. Fuel economy is 46.3mpg and emissions are 143g/km.

For those who prefer diesel, the MINI Cooper D Paceman uses a 1.6-litre 112bhp turbocharged engine with a 0-62mph time of 10.8 seconds. It will provide owners with a frugal 64.2mpg fuel economy and 115g/km emissions. The flagship diesel is the MINI Cooper SD Paceman, which gets a 2.0-litre 143bhp engine. Its 0-62mph time is 9.2 seconds. Fuel economy is 61.4mpg with an emissions figure of 122g/km.

For buyers who want the reassuring grip that comes with four-wheel drive, MINI's ALL4 system is available on the Cooper D, SD and Cooper S Paceman, models. And for those seeking the ultimate in MINI performance and desirability, a John Cooper Works Paceman version is in development.

Under the Paceman's body shell, sophisticated chassis technology includes MacPherson spring struts and forged cross members at the front axle, a multi-link rear axle and electric power steering with Servotronic function. These combine to provide a sure-footed yet dynamic driving experience. Extra fun can be summoned via the sport button, optional on Cooper and Cooper D, which tweaks the engine's responses and the power assistance provided by the steering.

Driver aids include Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) as standard across the range, with Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) including Electronic Differential Lock Control (EDLC) on the MINI Cooper S Paceman, Cooper SD Paceman and Cooper D Paceman ALL4. Light alloy wheels in 16-inch and 17-inch sizes are standard, with 18-inch or 19-inch on the options list.

The state-of-the-art powertrain and suspension technology is married to MINI's acclaimed MINIMALISM environmental systems, which are fitted as standard. They include Auto Start/Stop, Shift Point Display, Brake Energy Regeneration and on-demand operation of ancillary units, all of which help cut fuel use and reduce emissions.

Outstanding occupant protection is provided by an extensive range of safety equipment including front and side airbags. Side curtain airbags are fitted in both the front and back. ISOFIX child seat attachments in the rear and a tyre pressure warning are on every Paceman.

Other standard equipment includes air conditioning, powered door mirrors and front sports seats. Popular options will include Xenon Adaptive Headlights, Park Distance Control, an electrically operated glass roof plus the MINI navigation system. Advanced infotainment functions are available via MINI Connected. A range of optional equipment packages will also be available providing customers excellent value and helping to promote strong residual values.

Eight exterior paint shades are available including the new Brilliant Copper and Blazing Red. Starlight Blue also previously unseen and unique to the Paceman. As always with MINI, personalisation is expected to be very popular and there is an extensive choice of bonnet stripes, upholstery variants, interior surfaces and Colour Lines.

It will go sale on 16 March 2013 with prices starting at just £18,970 on the road.

About the BMW Group

The BMW Group is one of the most successful manufacturers of automobiles and motorcycles in the world with its BMW, MINI, Husqvarna Motorcycles and Rolls-Royce brands. As a global company, the BMW Group operates 29 production and assembly facilities in 14 countries and has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.

In 2011, the BMW Group sold about 1.67 million cars and more than 113,000 motorcycles worldwide. The profit before tax for the financial year 2011 was euro 7.38 billion on revenues amounting to euro 68.82 billion. At 31 December 2011, the BMW Group had a workforce of approximately 100,000 employees.

The success of the BMW Group has always been built on long-term thinking and responsible action. The company has therefore established ecological and social sustainability throughout the value chain, comprehensive product responsibility and a clear commitment to conserving resources as an integral part of its strategy. As a result of its efforts, the BMW Group has been ranked industry leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes for the last seven years.