By 19 December 2010 57 Comments Read More →

MINI : Paceman Concept to be revealed at NAIAS in Detroit next month

Keith Adams

MINI Paceman concept

MINI Paceman Concept: let’s not call it Pac-man, okay?

A new MINI Design concept will make its debut at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit next month.  The MINI Paceman Concept is the first Sports Activity Coupé in the premium small segment of the market and is clearly BMW’s shot across the bows of the upcoming Range Rover Evoque.

MINI UK claims ‘the Paceman combines the classical MINI concept with the defining features of the MINI Countryman and the style of a coupe’, but we think that the Paceman looks rather like an R56 on stilts. No decision has been made about a future production version but the unveiling of yet another new MINI concept underlines BMW’s determination to grow production volumes of its British-badged offshoot.

There are few surprises in terms of styling as the familiar MINI family frontal appearance dominates the vehicle. However, there are some additional interest points: from the side the MINI Paceman Concept features a fresh interpretation of the front wing and side indicator that attracts the eye from the A-pillars and is complemented by dark wheel arch surrounds with matching side skirts which emphasise the sporting character of the Paceman.

The familiar MINI shoulder line that rises towards the rear of the Paceman Concept also hints at its sporting intent.  Less familiar is the glass and roof treatment.  As the waistline rises the flat roofline flows into a wide C-pillar that appears to be transparent.  The windows appear to wrap around the car like a band of glass with the roof ‘suspended’ on top and painted in a striking, contrasting colour.  This is known as the ‘helmet’ roof.  The coupé-style windows taper towards the rear and the whole effect is one of a dynamic wedge shape.

The MINI Paceman Concept is powered by the JCW 1.6-litre twin-scroll turbocharged engine which delivers  211bhp and up to 207 lb ft of torque when using the Overboost function. It’s underpinned by the  ALL4 permanent all-wheel-drive system which the Countryman already uses and which will probably also feature in some versions of the next generation BMW 1-Series. Suspension set-up is by McPherson struts with lower track control arms at the front and a multi-link rear axle was developed for both front- and four-wheel drive cars.

BMW UK Limited’s Director for MINI, Jochen Goller, commented: ‘The MINI Paceman Concept aims to deliver a particularly emotional driving experience and demonstrates this ability in a style typical of the brand. I believe we are offering clear evidence of how totally new vehicle concepts can still be developed through unconventional creativity.’

Keith Adams

About the Author:

Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and watched it steadily grow into AROnline. Is the Editor of Classic Car Weekly, and has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, Classic Car Weekly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, and the the Motoring Independent... Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.

57 Comments on "MINI : Paceman Concept to be revealed at NAIAS in Detroit next month"

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  1. Alex Scott says:

    I must be getting used to the front-end treatment on these new MINIs. I quiet like the lines except for the odd-looking headlights. I think the top of the headlights needs to stay below the waist line not rise above that. Perhaps the headlights need to be similar in shape to the door windows. I think that’s what the problem is there. I still don’t like those headlights… Alex.

    P.S.: The name “Paceman” sounds like a throwback to the 1980s game – not good.

  2. Wilko says:

    It’s certainly having an “particularly emotional” effect on me. To think, this is what it’s all come to…

  3. Andrew Elphick says:

    Is this based on BMW’s new 1 Series FWD platform? I see a lot of the Citroen DS4 in the rear quarters too – that’s, of course, stolen from 1950s coachbuilt James Young Bentleys!

  4. Jonathan Carling Jonathan Carling says:

    I quite like this – it’s more in keeping with MINI (old and new) than the Countryman.

  5. I don’t mind this – so long as the roof can be specced in the same colour as the body… That’s the one thing that really annoys me about the DS3’s suspended roof – if you go for the top of the range model you can’t have a roof that matches the body!

  6. Simon Hodgetts says:

    They just keep on getting uglier… I saw a Bini parked next to an original Focus Mk1 the other day – the Focus was dwarfed! How can BMW still keep making such a big car and yet still call it a mini? It beggars belief!

  7. John Hackett says:

    The normal hatchback MINI, in either R50 or R56 form, looks bigger than it really is. Check the on-paper measurements and you’ll find they are quite small by modern standards. The height is what makes them look big. However, the Countryman is a different story though and I imagine this will be equally bulbous.

    BMW have got to expand the MINI brand in order to keep it sustainable in the long-term. I must admit that the only two MINIs I like are the hatch and the convertible but, if this and the other proposed models – no matter how ugly – keep the brand afloat and English workers at the Oxford plant and supplier base in jobs, then I am happy to forego my “principles” and accept them as worthy products.

  8. Simon Woodward says:

    Mini Sprint anyone?

  9. Bob says:

    The Paceman “looks like an R56 on stilts” !?#@$! Really, Keith? How can this pretend SUV be ‘on stilts’ (i.e. an offroader) when, judging from the photo, it barely has standard car clearance? It may have SUV styling cues, but it is not an offroader.

    John Hackett is correct – BMW are just trying out new marketing niches to keep the sales flowing.

    Chucking cats among pigeons here, those power figures look remarkably like the T-Series output – I wonder what fuel consumption the T-Series would have achieved in the new MINI…? BMW could have saved a packet on R&D and kept engine production in Britain. I guess that wasn’t an issue after the sale of MINI to BMW.

    Verdict – good looking (except the recessed headlights), but what’s the purpose? Does this offer anything distinctive in terms of function or market-positioning to that already found in the existing MINI range?

  10. Peter Harris says:

    @Simon Woodward
    What about the original Mini Clubman? The heritage is there – a modest redesign of a sound car – that fails to set the pulse racing. Perhaps I’m growing tired of paying a hefty premium for just a few hundred quids worth of restyle…

  11. Richard Moss says:

    It’s never pleasant to see a company taking a whip to a dead horse and giving it a good flogging.

    Surely they could have come up with something more interesting than this?

  12. Simon Hodgetts says:

    @John Hackett
    I’m all for keeping BMW employees at Oxford in jobs – it’s just a pity that it’s with such a ridiculous range of cars, which are getting bigger and bigger and more preposterous!

    How about a smaller MINI, BMW? Why not dust off the Mini Spiritual concepts and make a true successor to the original, rather then yet another ugly life-style hatch?

  13. Chris Chapman says:

    I reckon that, with the colour scheme and interior, the Paceman Concept only needs the under bumper grill to be painted orange for it to be the spiritual successor to the Rover 200 BRM.

    Why does BMW persist with the very 1980s black glazed C post/floating roof styling?

    Anyone seen the guy in Holland who proved a point by making a full-scale cardboard model of an original Mini and then got it to fit it inside a BMW MINI (apart from the dashboard)?

  14. Mike C says:

    I guess BMW feel that the only way to keep the MINI fresh and trendy is to keep producing new variants. Mind you, it is making the range rather confusing and some of the variants are more fashion accessories than means of transport! Let’s hope there’s space to produce this in Cowley rather than at Steyr.

    @Bob
    All MINI petrol engines are produced in the UK at Hams Hall (plus the 4 cylinder units found in the 1 and 3 Series).

  15. Keith Adams Keith Adams says:

    @Martin
    Let’s not also forget that we ran a similar story here on AROnline last week. See: Press Report: Brand boss hints at a new ‘mini’ MINI.
    /K

  16. Simon Woodward says:

    @Peter Harris
    I had a couple of original Clubmans in my youth: a 1275GT and an Estate. I just somehow preferred the Clubman front end.

    I am not sure about the Paceman yet. I want to see a truly small MINI with clever packaging – much like the original or a creditable alternative to a Smart car.

  17. Dr Bobby Love says:

    I don’t get the Paceman and I’m normally all for the BMW MINIs…

    It doesn’t really look any different, or am I missing something? It certainly doesn’t seemed styled to compete with the Rangie.

    Oh, and I’ve just realised how silly “A New Mini to take on a Range Rover” sounds. Hehe!

  18. Andrew McCheyne says:

    It’s out of proportion, it’s hideous and it will probably be poor value for money. I think it will do well.

  19. David 3500 says:

    Just how far upmarket can BMW realistically push the MINI brand? With the Range Rover Evoque likely to be priced from £30,000, I would say that this level is just too ambitious for a MINI-based concept. Make no mistake, the Paceman is an interesting concept, but it should ideally be priced below £20,000 to have any chance of volume sales success.

    However, I do like the floating-roof detailing, which creates a more streamlined side profile, and the Rover 200 BRM LE inspired interior detailing. Mind you, the Rover was something rather different and special, which I doubt the Paceman will be given the number of other ‘special’ MINI variants already on offer.

  20. Marty B says:

    What a load of vomit-inducing cr*p that car is. Sir Alec will be spinning so fast in his grave that he could be used to generate electricity!

    It is time those retards actually got back to what the Mini was actually for: a small, affordable car for the ‘District Nurse’, not some overpriced tat for Estate Agents.

    How can something that is the size of a Focus have the bare faced cheek to be called a Mini?

    It’s bound to sell in areas where people are distinctly lacking in brain power and have more money than sense, such as Chelsea and Cheshire.

    Permanent 4wd, 211bhp turbo = poor CO2 emissions and cr*p mpg too. Good one BMW… Oh, and giving it 4wd also says something about the handling i.e. in front wheel drive format it probably handles like a shopping trolley on ice…

  21. John Hackett says:

    @Marty B
    I’m not defending this latest model and I don’t like the Countryman and Clubman but, as for what Sir Alec would want in a modern Mini, I think you have to bear in mind that times have changed considerably since 1959 and he did tend to have very personal tastes in cars!

    I’m sure most people in the market for cars these days would not tolerate a small, basic car with no heater, radio or crumple zones, no matter how clever it’s packaging.

    I drive a MINI Cooper and neither myself nor my wife are Estate Agents, lack brain power or live in Chelsea or Cheshire, unless living in Nuneaton and working in education and local government fit the stereotype of the BINI buyer!

  22. Keith Adams Keith Adams says:

    Marty B :

    What a load of vomit-inducing cr*p that car is. Sir Alec will be spinning so fast in his grave that he could be used to generate electricity!

    Sadly, when Sir Alec Issigonis turned his hand to larger cars, we got the Landcrab and Maxi – two cars that were so clever very few people actually understood them and even fewer bought them…

    /K

  23. Ianto says:

    Wonderful, just wonderful. BMW do it again. Indeed, with the prospect of the MG3 complete with Union Jack roof a la MINI (See: MG3 to launch in Guangzhou – sneak pictures, China Car Times, 17th December, 2010), it looks as if 2011 will be a bumper year for British cars.

  24. Alex Scott says:

    Simon Woodward :Mini Sprint anyone?

    Yep, Mini Sprint is good!

  25. Wasequiped says:

    Any new models which are bigger than the current MINI are not “minis”. BMW should stop trying to convince us otherwise.

    I’m not aware of the Countryman selling well yet, so why propose yet another fat MINI? BMW should drop the SUV style if the Countryman doesn’t sell and go posh with a MINI METRO. Try and understand your brand, BMW!

  26. Marty B says:

    @John Hackett
    I reckon that, with the Paceman being 4wd, there is a 99% chance it won’t be built here and will be built by Steyr (4wd specialists since the year dot) so it will bring precisely zero jobs to the UK. Think about that and the fact that it is not what the market needs right now.

    The basic Mini concept shown on AROnline recently is the way forward. A cheap city car with just the basics would sell like hot cakes. An engine around the 1 litre size, airbags etc, NO aircon (it’s not needed in the UK FHS), manual windows and a CD player… Market that with a list price under £10k and it would be an instant hit! It would also hit the free road tax band too.

    Oh, and BTW, I have yet to see a 60 plate Bini on the road so sales clearly aren’t as peachy as BMW make out… I have, though, seen plenty of 60 plate 1 Series and 3 Series – maybe that’s down to higher profit margins on those models and the Sales Executives being told to push them.

    The Fiat 500 is outselling the MINI simply because it is a much better packaged and much cheaper car – all thanks to clever platform-sharing with Ford.

    You are so defensive of a car that is, quite frankly, very offensive, vulgar, overpriced and NOT wanted here – just like the Range Rover Beckham. That is clearly a car for people with no brains at all.

  27. Ianto says:

    @Marty B
    I’m not sure I would spend £10k on a car without airbags, aircon and e/w – for £10k I could buy myself a three year old, fully-loaded Passat. I suspect that the new frugality will see a downturn in the new car market and an upturn in the used car market.

  28. @Ianto
    Marty B was, in fairness, proposing that any new MINI City car should have airbags but no aircon and electric windows. Hope that clarifies his point…

  29. Martin says:

    wasequiped :
    Any new models which are bigger than the current MINI are not “minis”. BMW should stop trying to convince us otherwise.

    I’m not aware of the Countryman selling well yet, so why propose yet another fat MINI? BMW should drop the SUV style if the Countryman doesn’t sell and go posh with a MINI METRO. Try and understand your brand, BMW!

    Some people still get very hung up about the ‘Mini’ name but the Rover Group’s Marketing Department planned to let it wither quietly away and die without even realising they had a world famous brand with a future. MINI is now a successful brand name for a range of small cars which would, in BMC days, have included Issigonis’ 11/1300 range.

    Had BMW had gone for a basic city car MINI in 2001, it could not have been built at Cowley. All such cars are now only economically viable if built in low wage economies. I believe that Nissan Micra production has also ceased in the UK to be replaced by the Juke – a MINI Countryman competitor.

    Little credit is given to BMW for taking a risk and successfully creating and pioneering the premium, prestige small car sector. Now, 10 years later, the MINI is being copied by the Alfa Romeo Mito, Audi A1, Citroen DS3 and, at the lower end, the Fiat 500.

    By the way, the MINI Countryman is sold out for 2010 with a waiting list for delivery stretching to March, 2011 at present…

  30. Jemma says:

    “Mom, I didn’t know Baldric was one of the Transformers…”

    The Paceman – when hitting a tree at 70mph is a real improvement…

  31. Darren says:

    I’m all for keeping jobs in the UK but why are all BMWs these days so ugly? They must spend millions on designing and building such awful looking cars.

  32. Shep says:

    I am sure that, as in the case of the original BINI, the Clubfoot and the C**ntryman, Estate Agents, Recruitment Consultants, fashion sheep and people with more money than sense will lap the Paceman up.

  33. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    Simon Woodward : Mini Sprint anyone?

    Took the words right out of my mouth!

  34. Peter Harris says:

    @Simon Woodward
    Actually you’re right, a 1275GT would be a fine purchase. One would certainly have been better in the snow which I was stuck in on Saturday…

  35. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    Ianto :@Marty B I’m not sure I would spend £10k on a car without airbags, aircon and e/w – for £10k I could buy myself a three year old, fully-loaded Passat. I suspect that the new frugality will see a downturn in the new car market and an upturn in the used car market.

    … and I think that is the problem with the MINIs BMW are producing just now.

    We do not want unheated, plastic-seated, rubber mat cars but we do need new cars that are affordable to the masses which was what the original Mini always was. Yes, it got pricey for what it was near the end of its life but the new MINIs are out of the price range (new) for a lot of people.

    MINI are building and designing cars that no-one will be able to afford to buy and so really should be exploring the £10k or less market as its potential target for the next year or two. OK, it might not fit in with their ethos of comfort, style and luxury but they shouldn’t forget the fact that, if it wasn’t for the Isetta bubble car, BMW would have disappeared many years ago.

    Sometimes it’s the least fancied packages that generate the right success at the right time…

  36. Dennis says:

    John Hackett :The normal hatchback MINI, in either R50 or R56 form, looks bigger than it really is. Check the on-paper measurements and you’ll find they are quite small by modern standards. The height is what makes them look big. However, the Countryman is a different story though and I imagine this will be equally bulbous.

    BMW have got to expand the MINI brand in order to keep it sustainable in the long-term. I must admit that the only two MINIs I like are the hatch and the convertible but, if this and the other proposed models – no matter how ugly – keep the brand afloat and English workers at the Oxford plant and supplier base in jobs, then I am happy to forego my “principles” and accept them as worthy products.

    I agree the normal MINI’s aren’t actually that big – they’re actually slightly smaller than a Fiesta, but they’re wide and low, which makes them look big.

    The latest cars they’re coming out with are truly ugly, though. However, MINIs don’t have to look good as people will still buy them.

    Audi, BMW and Mercedes have all built some awful looking cars in the past, but people still buy them because of the badge they wear. I mean look at the Porsche Cayenne – take the Porsche badge off it and it’s just an ugly looking version of the Touareg!

  37. Ianto says:

    @Clive Goldthorp
    Oops, my mistake – not reading before I react.

    I would love MINI to produce a lightweight, small, well-equipped car a la Toyota IQ. Maybe they should produce something to rival the Aston Martin Cygnet.

    No matter, the overwhelmingly positive support for the brand seen here on this website is proof that BMW understand the brand and, more importantly, understand what we as enthusiasts want.

    Big up BMW!

  38. Ryan says:

    Here’s a proper, modern-day MINI range:

    MINI “7”: a small city car – a Spiritual Concept successor, probably an EV.
    MINI Hatchback/Convertible: as at present.
    MINI Clubman: as at present but, please BMW, sort out the stupid rear door problem.
    MINI Van: I’d like to see this – probably based on the Clubman.
    MINI Metro: slightly larger – essentially a modern 1100.

    AND THAT’S IT – no further up the ladder, size-wise, at all.

  39. John Hackett says:

    This premium badge thing is curious.

    You see, my wife and I have two cars – a Vauxhall Insipid (Insignia) and a BINI (MINI Cooper). The Vauxhall is a splendid car – subjectively good looking, smooth and quiet, quick and very well equipped. OK, the steering and gearchange are a little too sloppy and some interior plastics are not quite as nice as they should be but, overall, it is a hell of a lot of new car for £17k.

    The MINI is a premium offering and it feels it – incredibly good fun to drive, great handling, cheeky looks and it gets lots of attention. Both cars are therefore very satisfying to own.

    This snobbery associated with the badge, ownership of the company or previous model history is really a load of BS – if the cars are worthy products at a price people want to pay they will sell on that merit.

    The problem is that people are prepared to pay for the type of cars that we, as motoring enthusiasts, feel are not worthy products. There is something about these vehicles that draws people to them. I can only assume with MINI that its the individuality and fun factor that sells the spin-off models. The core Hatchback sells on these factors plus its relationship to the original, through the looks and superb handling. I presume there are fewer reasons for the popularity of the niche range, but something makes them sell.

    Anyway, at the end of the day, don’t have a go at BMW for doing what any company which knows what it is doing should do – satisfy market demand to make profit. Indeed, if Rover and its forebears had sought to do this we might not be having this discussion now.

    I still don’t like the MINI niche models though!!

  40. Ianto says:

    @Ryan
    I’m not sure about a 7 foot long Mini…

  41. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @John Hackett
    We heard you the first time! Lol 😀

  42. John Hackett says:

    @Paul T
    Lol! I meant what I said so much I said it again!!

  43. Simon Woodward says:

    OK, so when is the Wood & Pickett MINI coming out complete with Vauxhall VX twin lights and chrome nudge bars?

  44. Paul says:

    I was expecting the usual full-scale rant against all things new MINI here but, actually, a few people like it. You see BMW’s clever marketing is paying off!

  45. Andrew McCheyne says:

    I drove past a car which I thought looked really big and I said so to myself but then I realised that it was a MINI. How about them they using the Maxi name?

  46. Andrew McCheyne says:

    Does anyone own the rights to “Massive”?

  47. KenS Ken Strachan says:

    Isn’t the Nissan Juke a “Sport Activity Coupe?” Granted, it’s got four doors, but the Germans should be familiar with 4-door coupes – it only took forty years for them to re-invent American 4-door hardtops…

  48. @Paul T
    @John Hackett
    I have now done a spot of housekeeping and removed the first of John’s two (almost) identical posts…

  49. Martin says:

    Simon Woodward :
    OK, so when is the Wood & Pickett MINI coming out complete with Vauxhall VX twin lights and chrome nudge bars?

    We have already had a Radford MINI and I know that Wood & Pickett are also moving into the world of new MINIs, not to mention the Rolls Royce MINI BMW have reportedly been working on. See the following articles:

    Tested: Radford MINI Miglia, Keith Adams, AROnline, 23rd December, 2005

    MINI by Rolls-Royce confirmed, Hilton Holloway, Autocar, 19th November, 2009

  50. James C says:

    The Paceman is an interesting Concept. I think you could almost see this as the basis for the next generation model, especially the rear end.

    Why don’t MINI concentrate on the key product rather then these spin-off niche models?

  51. James C says:

    @Simon Hodgetts
    I agree about the smaller model – the original, “new” BMW MINI was from a more prosperous time and, some might say, therefore out of touch with the times.

  52. Martin says:

    James C :
    @Simon Hodgetts
    I agree about the smaller model – the original, “new” BMW MINI was from a more prosperous time and, some might say, therefore out of touch with the times.

    Not true! Sales are growing in the premium supermini class – that’s why other manufacturers are launching prestige superminis with lots of options nearly 10 years later and why BMW are expanding the MINI into a range of small cars.

    This type of supermini does not compete with the budget superminis like the Micra, Clio, Fiesta, Corsa, Ka, Panda, etc or even the Fiat 500 and, anyway, they can no longer be built profitably in Western Europe.

  53. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    Sales may be growing, but what is funding this growth? Is it:

    – cash rich/high-salaried individuals
    – ‘lease’ finance, with cars going back before the balloon payment
    – company car fleets?

    It is undeniable that the sector is growing – you can see that with the cars on the roads just now. However, there is not much money in people’s pockets to allow Mr and Mrs Average to go out and buy brand new. I would guess that a lot of the cars we see were bought second- hand from the handed back ‘lease’ cars, as these had mileage restrictions/penalties that made the ‘owners’ limit their driving miles.

    The MINI does not compete with the Corsa, Fiesta etc. In terms of price whereas, in the past, the classic Mini did. I can understand why BMW are considering a smaller car, but again it won’t be cheap.

    It’s nice to see Radford and Wood & Pickett getting involved with the MINI, just like John Cooper – it gives another option for those with a bit more folding to spend!

  54. Paul Van Nijen says:

    Bwaaaaaaak! What a ugly car. I’ve never liked the so-called new MINI – for me the production of the Mini stopped in 2000 but ,at least, this is the first name not to have been stolen from the REAL Mini.

    From a REAL Mini lover in Belgium,
    Paul

  55. Jemma says:

    Have a look at Sniff Petrol’s take on the Paceman via this link. That says it all…

  56. Martin says:

    Paul Van Nijen :
    at least, this is the first name not to have been stolen from the REAL Mini.
    From a REAL Mini lover in Belgium,
    Paul

    The MINI concept names don’t normally make it onto the production model……..

    From a Classic Mini and New MINI lover in England.

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