2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman 2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman

Vital Stats

Engine:
1.6L Turbo I4
Power:
181 HP / 177 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed Manual
0-60 Time:
7.5 Seconds (62 MPH)
Top Speed:
135 MPH
Drivetrain:
Front-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
3,030 LBS
Seating:
2+2
Cargo:
11.7 / 38.2 CU-FT
Not Too Odd, Not Too Maxi. Is This Mini Just Right?



We recently got our first time behind the wheel of the latest iteration of the Mini Countryman, the 215-horsepower John Cooper Works model, and were left less than enthused despite the inherent fun factor that a JCW badge brings. Our time with the crossover suggests the Countryman is just too weighty and soft to properly wear the badge.

We have also spent loads of time in various Mini Clubman trims and, despite the oddity of its configuration, this model may be our overall favorite in the current Mini lineup. But it is decidedly not a volume seller, which Mini needs.

Enter Paceman. At just over 162 inches, it's actually a smidge longer than a Countryman, though the wheelbase and track widths of both are identical. Overall height is down some 1.6 inches, 0.4 of that accounted for by the standard Sport suspension setup. The body, however, changes entirely.
2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman side view2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman front view2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman rear view

The greenhouse section of the Paceman does that Evoque-like window-pinch toward the rear pillar.

Remember the original "basketball shoe" two-door Toyota RAV4 of 1996? This sort of compact activity vehicle may be coming back into favor, though it will only be a stylish niche rather than a volume fashion craze. Mini refers to the Paceman as a Sport Activity Coupe... or SAC. It lives up to its acronym, as well as craftily combing its sleekness with difficult-to-reach seatbelts for front passengers and troublesome rear-seat entry for those traveling in back. So it satisfies the definition of a coupe body on every level. Only by being crossover-ish does the Paceman avoid joining the misfits of the Mini range: the Coupe, Roadster, and Clubman.

The other king of style in the crossover market right now, which comes to mind while staring at the Paceman, especially in profile, is the Land Rover Evoque, itself absolutely not the most practical set of wheels out there. The greenhouse section of the Paceman does that Evoque-like window-pinch toward the rear pillar. Apparently, this is the look affluent hipster folk want in order to convince them to buy a more grown-up car.

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Then there's the pricing, which sets the Paceman model-for-model about $1,500 north of the Countryman.

Mini's plan with the Paceman is clearly to nail a fashionable niche. Having the two doors is one giveaway. Building the vehicle as standard with what is normally the Sport suspension is another. Then there's the pricing, which will see the Paceman living around $1,500 north of the Countryman model-for-model. We are frankly a little ookie – to use a highly technical industry term – about this seemingly arbitrary price premium. It's like paying more for unrefined sugar, though here you're admittedly getting all of that added lifestyle zest, but it's a strategy that BMW has mined effectively with its X6 before, so who are we to argue? Besides, what would you pay to be the most bitchingest on the block? It's a strange science. This tested 181-hp Mini Cooper S Paceman with six-speed manual should start at just near $28,000 when it arrives in North America next March.

At this point, you may be surprised to hear us admit that we like it. The drive time we had over torturous roads showed us that Mini understands the gaps it must fill as it tries everything it can to expand its finite lineup. The Paceman is the seventh model for the reborn Mini company, and is a much more convincing fit in our minds versus the recently launched Mini Coupe and Roadster. On the four Pirelli Cinturato P7 runflats – 205/55 R17 91V is standard for the Cooper S – the more nimble Paceman helps convince us to accept the Countryman as a necessary part... a part that accounts for 30 percent of all Mini sales globally now. And we understand the limitations of the coupe lifestyle, but hell, the entire Mini proposal is a compromise if all we're talking is practicality.

2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman interior2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman front seats2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman rear seats2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman rear cargo area

Mini is back to its bench-splitting ways, as rear seating is only available as two separate seats.

Cargo room is perfectly normal for the Paceman at between 11.7 and 38.2 cubic feet, but the space is useful and straightforward with excellent load-in height and width in back. As for passengers, Mini is back to its bench-splitting ways, as rear seating is only available as two separate seats. We did our usual sit-down test in back, and knee and head room are there for adults up to perhaps 6-foot 2-inches in height. We never really liked the cabin-length center rail separating the passenger pods in the Countryman, and seeing as how that model was also initially offered in the US with just rear buckets, began offering a bench as an option and then made it standard equipment, we expect a proper church pew to be available for the Paceman eventually as well. One thing we do approve of, however, is power window switches that have migrated from down low in the cluttered center console to on the doors, a welcome bit of rationality that is also coming to the 2013 Countryman.

Beyond the styling improvements versus the Countryman, we really like the Paceman because it gets back to how a Mini should drive. It's not so much go-kart – as company press materials announce many times over – as it is a completely acceptable and honest compromise that errs on the thrill side. The stance change and lower center of gravity create most of the car's change in temperament since actual weight is only about 15 pounds less than the equivalent Countryman trim. Our Cooper S tester comes in at around 3,030 pounds, adding about 55 pounds when you opt for the six-speed automatic.

2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman engine

We won't give the Cooper S Paceman go-kart status, but it comes commendably close.

While there is no adaptive suspension, the default settings for the corners of the Paceman are pretty fine all around with just the right balance between sporting and everyday. As a no-cost change, you can order your Paceman with the normal suspension, which raises things by that 0.4 of an inch and softens the ride a touch.

With the six-speed manual model, the Sport button on the lower part of the center console governs both throttle response and steering feel. Should you opt for the automatic, the shift timing is also affected. The reverb on the exhaust is also slightly upped, though we weren't really able to tell a clear difference. Standard on the Cooper S trim is an Electronic Differential Lock Control that works in conjunction with the stability control software. The system is is essentially Mini's form of front brake-steer, and EDLC does as solid a job on the Paceman as it does on any sporting front-driver at reining in the understeer that arises when going into, through, and out of curves. We won't give the Cooper S Paceman go-kart status, but it comes commendably close.

2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman driving2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman headlight2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman wheel2014 Mini Cooper S Paceman rear hatch

The Paceman feels true to the brand, and that is good.

The Cooper S' 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine does a more convincing job here than in the Countryman, too. Its 181 horsepower peaks at 5,500 rpm, while the 177 pound-feet of torque are at full load all the way from 1,600 on up to 5,000 rpm. Push the pedal to the metal, and the torque goes overboost for brief overtaking spurts of 192 lb-ft in the heart of the rev range. It is all – especially with the manual – as smooth and satisfying as we have come to like on a Mini, so the Paceman feels true to the brand, and that's a very good thing. Acceleration to 62 miles per hour is 7.5 seconds with the manual gearbox, and maximum speed is set at 135 mph. Fuel efficiency is also better with the manual by about 17 percent versus the automatic, so there's yet another fine excuse for telling your significant other that it's manual or nuthin'.

We expect Mini to do its usual full range of model variants on the Paceman body as time marches on, but the range will launch in March 2013 in both front-drive and All4-equipped trims. The JCW variant figures to please us much more than the Countryman JCW has done, plus the Paceman is also a nice reassurance after the Coupe and Roadster sidetracks. The pricing strategy is questionable, sure, but people buy Minis because they want them, never because they need them.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 38 Comments
      dohc73
      • 2 Years Ago
      I like it, but I'm gonna wait for the Cooper replacement coming soon as a comparison before I decide.
      Hello, Brian
      • 2 Years Ago
      I like the looks of it, overall. I am a bit wary that BMW design is starting to creep into the family DNA, though...and that is not a good thing.
      Jay
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think I'll keep my Clubman.
      Jason
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm cracking up...Did this guy oversleep and just throw last night's jacket on over his sleepwear? It appears that someone (the camera guy, maybe?) banged on his hotel room door, saying "The Paceman's about to drive away! You must do your "Shortcut" video NOW!!!" Then he threw the jacket on over his sweats and ran downstairs... "Here's the new Paceman! It's a two-door and is lower than the Countryman. Here's how the hatch opens - and there's our stuff! Bye!"
        Matthew Davis
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jason
        Thank you, Jason. And, yes, I was asleep until only moments prior to shooting the video.
          Jason
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Matthew Davis
          Haha! I thought it was hilarious! Thanks for the reply - and for the introduction to the Paceman!
      Brandon
      • 2 Years Ago
      When is Mini going to make a dashboard that isn't a joke :(
        Lachmund
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Brandon
        just wait a little for the new version currently in development
      Lachmund
      • 2 Years Ago
      honestly... i find it very odd. not so much on pictures but like the countryman it just looks wrong proportioned on the road
      Scooter
      • 2 Years Ago
      Its a cool car, I really love all the Mini products. I just can't afford to buy one since its too small, not powerful enough for base models, too expensive for S models when you consider the pick-up truck fuel economy they achieve. These days I really can't afford to buy a car based simply on, "its cool".
        Tim
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Scooter
        I have never seen any pickups that get 30-35 mpg
      th0mb0ne
      • 2 Years Ago
      Not as hideous as the Countryman, but this one still looks toyish and too bulbous to me compared to the 1st gen of the (new) Mini.
      waetherman
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think it looks good, even if the shoes its wearing are a bit small, but I'm really not sure I see the point. It's the same size, weight and power as a Countryman S but with two fewer doors. I guess it sounds like it's more fun to drive than the Countryman, but it still seems like car made to fit a niche that doesn't exist. If it were an awesome, light little rally car, I could get behind that. But this isn't any better than a Juke and it's $8000 more expensive. Shave off 400lbs and bump the HP above 200, then we can talk.
      zzzzzz
      • 2 Years Ago
      This looks like it could be a slightly more practical replacement for my Volvo C30.
      CJ
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm sorry, but I really don't get how their whole lineup is now referred to as Coopers... Fine, the Clubman, Coupe and Speedsters are definitely body style variants, but the Countryman and Paceman (horrible name), are clearly not. MINI should just let them stand on their own.
        Dayv
        • 2 Years Ago
        @CJ
        Agreed, the Cooper should be a model, not the whole line. It's not like the marque is "Mini Cooper".
      John P
      • 2 Years Ago
      Mini Mokes Rock ! The marketing weasels don't even know what a Mini Moke is. Rule Britannia
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