From £23,780
The fastest variant in the Mini Paceman coupé range uses Countryman underpinnings and delivers 215bhp and 206lb ft.

Our Verdict

Mini John Cooper Works
Mini's John Cooper Works auto is less highly strung than before but quicker than ever

Faster and more rounded than any ‘Works’ Mini before it. Still a committed prospect – to buy and to use – but rewarding to drive

26 February 2013

What is it?

For the time being, at least, try not to be too perturbed by the new Mini Paceman John Cooper Works’ bizarre styling or its eye-wateringly high price.

Because, beneath its monster-truck-like bodywork and £29,535 price tag, it’s a decent enough car to drive, one whose four-wheel-drive system and clever electric clutch endow it with more on-road dexterity than the Mini has had at any time in its 54-year history.

It’s quick(ish), too, thanks to the fitment of the now familiar 1.6-litre, 215bhp turbocharged engine that powers the front wheels in the Mini JCW hatchback, and all four wheels in the Mini Countryman, the car with which the Paceman shares just about all its basic underpinnings. 

Mini claims a 0-60mph time of 6.9sec and a top speed of 140mph, with close to 40mpg economy in the real world. But what truly distinguishes the Paceman above and beyond its myriad brethren, says Mini, is its go-anywhere ability. This is the direct result of its new four-wheel-drive system, which can aim anything up to 100 per cent of drive at either axle, front or rear, thanks to that brainy electronic clutch.

What's it like?

In the flesh the Paceman looks big, going on huge for a car that wears a Mini badge on its nose. Yet on the road it feels far nimbler than you’d expect given its thick-set styling stance. A Sport button down on the centre console allows you to dial up a touch more bite from the throttle pedal, which is welcome, while the steering weight shifts (slightly) to provide more feel on the move. The exhaust also develops a nice little parp on over-run once you’ve thumbed the magic button.

Even so, at no time, not with its Sport button pressed or its throttle pedal welded to the floorboards, does the Paceman ever feel genuinely rapid. In the final two gears, in fact, it feels like a big car with a small engine that’s struggling to deliver the goods, despite a torque overboost to an impressive 221lb ft for short bursts.

Considering how much it costs and what it’s called, the Paceman’s straight line performance does seem somewhat disappointing, especially when compared with the likes of the VW Scirocco R or, worse, the rocket-sled BMW M135i, which costs only a few hundred pounds more.

Inside, the décor is familiar but still fairly fresh in feel. There’s a huge round dial in the centre of the dash that houses the sat nav (which is brilliantly intuitive) as well as the speedo and numerous other on-board functions.

Despite the over-sized proportions of the Paceman’s exterior, however, space is still quite limited inside, especially in the two specially sculpted rear seats. Which is again disappointing but perhaps not surprising, given the need to accommodate the all-wheel-drive hardware.

Should I buy one?

Leaving aside its price for a second, there’s a fair bit to recommend about the new Paceman. It’s a perky kind of car on the move, even if its performance is wanting besides more powerful, harder hitting rivals. The best bits are the way it steers, the traction and security it generates on all surfaces, and in all weathers, plus its go-kart like handling agility along a winding road.

But in reality the Paceman, despite its name, is neither as rapid nor as alluring as it needs to be considering its price. At £25k it would make sense, sort of, but at £30k it struggles badly to add up, given what else is available at the same money.

Mini Paceman John Cooper Works

Price £29,535; 0-62mph 6.9sec; Top speed 140mph; Economy 38.2mpg; CO2 172g/km; Kerbweight 1475kg; Engine type in line 4cyl, 1598cc, turbocharged; Power 215bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 206lb ft at 1900-5000 (221lb overboost 2100-4500rpm); Gearbox 6-speed manual

Join the debate

Comments
15

27 February 2013

All that needs saying!

27 February 2013

£30,000.  Wow!  I aspire to be on of those fortunate folk with such disposable cash to be able to afford one of these.  Would I have one.....No chance!

27 February 2013

It's way too expensive, as the article rightly points out. That said, unlike most people here (probably) I actually don't mind its looks at all. It looks like nothing else on road and has its own style. For that at least it deserves credit and it's not a bad drive either, going by the review.

27 February 2013

Sorry, this reads like a report which has been written with rose tinted spec's!

Yes, it probably is okay to drive but as a package at that price it is pushing unacceptable.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

27 February 2013

And the rather high price, it's seems distinctive enough, style-wise.
I still wish MINI would have opted for a different design of the front for the Countryman and Paceman. I know they are probably trying to separate them a bit from the regular Mini, but that could have been achieved without the podgy face. If these things hold together good, they might be a steal second hand, since I don't see that big of a market for used ones, so prices will probably drop significantly.
EDIT:
Actually, how hard would it be to fit a normal mini's headlamps and bumper to this? I would suspect that the front crash structure and mount points for the fenders, bumper and headlamps are pretty much the same across the range. 

27 February 2013

Time for a new MINI I think, even this looks old and its new

Myk

27 February 2013

...you might as well go the whole hog and buy an M135i.  Odd that BMW can price two of its cars so similarly when it's obvious that one is far superior. 

27 February 2013

The Mini Cooper has always been one of the most popular cars to have run the streets,The tiny size and the sporty look alone made it one of the most sought after cars in Europe.These cars are the most ideal choices for small streets like in France and Italy.Besides getting this car at about 30k is indeed a real deal.

 

audi repair walnut ca

27 February 2013

EH, no

Peter Cavellini.

27 February 2013

...look a bargain.

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