Mini Paceman concept revealed

Mini reveals a sleeker, three-door Countryman SUV. Meet its Range Rover Evoque rival

Mini has revealed a new concept car ahead of the 2011 Detroit motor show. The Paceman Concept is billed as a ‘sports activity coupe’: think a smaller Range Rover Evoque or BMW X6.  To enforce its sporting credentials, Mini’s fruitiest engine sits at the front. It’s the 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder from the John Cooper Works hot hatchback, boasting 208bhp and 207lb ft maximums. In the JCW it’s good for a 6.5sec 0-62mph sprint and a 148mph top speed; expect slightly slower figures from the likely heavier Paceman. And while Mini will offer the car with front-wheel drive, it is keen to plug the benefits of fitting its ALL4 four-wheel-drive system, as seen on the new Countryman. It features an electromagnetic centre differential that seamlessly varies the ratio of power sent between front and rear wheels. It’s 50:50 normally, but up to 100 per cent of power can go to the back wheels in ‘extreme conditions’. Sounds good to us. The Paceman also has its own unique chassis setup, said to combine sharp handling characteristics with a compliant ride. The front suspension gets MacPherson spring struts with lower track control arms, while there’s a multi-link axle at the rear, designed for both front- and four-wheel-drive cars. Of course, a production Paceman would attract some buyers with its looks rather than dynamics. Its front end is distinctly Countryman while the back end is much more like a Mini hatchback, though with new rear lights and the baseball cap-esque roof from the Mini Coupe concept. Size wise, it’s actually a smidgen longer than the Countryman thought the same height and width. Mini says no production decision has yet been made, but we’d be surprised if the Paceman doesn’t make it to the showrooms. We’d wager on a launch late in 2011 with a circa £25,000 price tag.

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