Seen in these spy images in Mini Paceman S flavour, the new car is tipped to go into production alongside the five-door Countryman next year. The Paceman was previewed as the Paceman concept at the 2011 Detroit motor show.
As this Mini Paceman S prototype indicates, the three-door coupé stays true to the styling of the Paceman concept. It uses the same platform and floor structure as the five-door Countryman and the same inner structure up to and including the bulkhead.
The car also uses the same windscreen as the Countryman, although it's had 20mm shaved off its height. From the screen rearwards, the Paceman gets an entirely new exterior. It's 4110mm long, marginally more than the Countryman, even though the front bumper is 20mm shorter.
However, there's likely to be no loss of shoulder room in the rear cabin compared with the Countryman. Unlike most coupés, the Paceman is also set to have significant rear legroom and more than adequate headroom.
As well as the rising waistline, the Paceman has a sloping version of the Mini family’s 'capped' roof which, combined with the rising waistline, further reduces the size of the side windows, emphasising the Mini’s 'three-layer' design theme of roof, windows and bodyside. The car’s C-pillars are tinted the same colour as the glass to give the impression of complete wrap-around glazing.
The big break from modern Mini tradition comes at the rear of the car. The vertical shutlines and vertical sheetmetal that characterise the other models in the range have been replaced by a surface that’s much softer and more flowing.
Mini has dumped the rule that Mini tail-lights should be vertical and surrounded on all sides with painted bodywork. The Paceman’s lights are substantial and cut right across into the tailgate, resulting in a most un-Mini-like rear elevation.
However, the combination of the wide tracks, sloping roof and narrower glasshouse means the rear wheels are well outboard of the side windows, and it all combines to make the Paceman look extremely purposeful from the rear.
The Paceman is likely to be offered only with the most powerful versions of Mini’s engines, in keeping with its billing as the most expensive Mini yet.