MINI has used its Facebook account to release four new “spy shots” of the forthcoming Paceman. In their own style they left this note:
Here’s your first look at the MINI Paceman, still sporting some secret camouflage. The newest MINI is a two-door powerhouse ready to roar onto city streets soon. Powerful and agile, with a most exceptional take on MINI design, it’s not a ride fit for wallflowers. Don’t worry, it’s OK to stare.
However, evo magazine has gone one better and has actually driven the prototype. In their review they state:
You’re probably expecting to hear that the Paceman drives pretty much like the Countyman. But it doesn’t. The revised suspension settings have, on our first acquaintance, turned it into a considerably more dynamic machine, with less roll, more grip and a far less front-biased chassis balance, certainly on the dusty tarmac of our Spanish test route.
We drove the ‘All 4’ version which, like its Countryman sister, uses a part-time four-wheel drive system to redistribute torque to the rear axle when slip is detected at the front. On the Countryman you need to be pretty much driving on ice or mud to feel the benefit, but the Paceman proves far happier to play on slidey surfaces than its understeery sister. In that regard it feels like a bigger Mini hatchback.
So there’s some promising signs, then, for what is mostly a two-door Countryman; albeit with re-tuned suspension and a 25mm lower ride height. We’ve said it before, but we do like where the Paceman is going. Although, we will need to sample it first hand before declaring outright love for this most narrowly focused of MINIs.
It’s due for overseas release in March 2013 and we expect it will be on Australian shores a couple of months thereafter.