These arty design vehicles are driving us into a new direction and while they might be pushing boundaries and won’t be to everyone’s liking, there’s no denying they are anything but boring.
Mini’s certainly been at the forefront of expressive design, as the team has stretched and pulled and moulded the basic design elements of the iconic Mini shape into a host of new derivatives.
The new Mini Paceman is the seventh model to join the rapidly expanding Mini brood. Blessed with love-it-or-hate-it styling, the Paceman is essentially the sportier and - dare I say it - more stylish version of the Countryman.
The Countryman was Mini’s first attempt to tap into the SUV market. Now the Paceman aims to fill a gap that maybe only they knew existed. As a first Sports Activity Coupé in the premium small-and-compact segment, it combines the usual traits of a Mini with the spacious interior and feel of an activity vehicle.
The stretched coupé lines do work for me personally in the metal and it does command attention, which, depending on your personality type, could be a good thing.
From the front, the Paceman is classic Mini, with the same facial traits as the rest of the Mini stable. Things, however, do change slightly at the rear as the British premium manufacturer has digressed from the usual stacked tail lights and instead chose to opt for a more circular design in order to create a unique identity for the Paceman.
As far as handling and sporty prowess go, it really is typical Mini, because despite its rather bulky size, it hasn’t lost any of its go-kart-like feel and the power delivery is adequate to buzz around, although the suspension did feel rather stiff at times.
Two petrol variants will be available from launch. The 1.6-litre motor found in the Mini Cooper Paceman is equipped with 90kW of power and 160Nm of torque, which will translate into a 0-100km/h time of 10.4 seconds in manual guise. It will continue to speed up to 192km/h.
In the sportier Mini Cooper S Paceman, the 1.6-litre houses a twin-scroll turbocharger and direct injection to generate maximum output of 135kW plus peak torque of 240Nm, while an overboost function is at the driver’s disposal to increase torque to as much as 260Nm.
This athletic Brit does the 0-100km/h sprint in 7.5 seconds when fitted with the six-speed manual gearbox, while the automatic will take fractionally longer (7.8 seconds). The top speed for the Cooper S Paceman in a claimed 217km/h for the manual and 212km/h for the auto.
Despite having a sporty persona, the Paceman does still have a frugal side, with claimed figures of 6.1 litres/100km and 143g/km of Co2 emissions for the manual. The automatic will sip 7.1 litres/100km and has a Co2 rating of 166g/km.
The manual Cooper Paceman, however, will use just 6.0 litres/100km and emit 140g/km of Co2 and the auto derivative around 7.2 litres/100km, with a corresponding Co2 rating of 168g/km.
The underlying factor in the Paceman is undoubtedly its fun factor, which - with a sports button and ALL4 all-wheel-drive on the options list - means you can pimp and create a unique Paceman to suit your personality.
Admittedly the Paceman is never going to be the best gravel-road companion, but for urban cruising and creating a stir on the city streets, it certainly does the job.
With talks of the Mini John Cooper Works Paceman set to join the line-up next month, we are looking forward to having more fire power under this pretentious ride.
Mini Cooper Paceman Manual R296 500
Mini Cooper Paceman Auto R312 600
Mini Cooper S Paceman Manual R357 500
Mini Cooper S Paceman Auto R373 600
Mini Cooper S All4 PacemanAuto R405 500