If you fancy one don't hang around as Mini has no intention of replacing it, as it is being phased out gradually.
We have driven the front-wheel-drive 1.6-litre petrol and range-topping John Cooper Works guises, but our test subject on this occasion is the most powerful all-wheel-drive diesel version of Mini’s new coupé, which we’ve previously experienced in front-wheel-drive 1.6-litre petrol and range-topping John Cooper Works guises.
The concept of a three-door version of the Countryman seems to contradict the big Mini's practical traits of extra space and family friendly versatility. However, with the Countryman accounting for one in every three Minis sold here, the BMW-owned brand is keen to capitalise on the growing market segment and turn the heads of prospective buyers of Nissan Jukes and Range Rover Evoques with a sleeker, more sporting take on its largest offering.
Mini says it is even targeting buyers of the three-door Volkswagen Golf or the Scirocco. The typical Paceman buyer, it reckons, will be looking for a sporty, distinctive car with more space than the regular Mini Hatch.
Billed as a 'Sports Activity Coupé' by its creator, the Paceman is based on the same four-metre-long platform as the Countryman – giving it dimensions that make it 'Mini' in name only – but features Evoque-like tapered rear styling.
Like the Countryman before it, the Paceman's exterior styling will polarise opinion; two less doors, that sloping roofline and broad rear haunches give the car an aggressive stance that the Countryman lacks but, to our eyes, graceful it is not. Still, there is no doubting the fact that it is distinctive, which fulfils Mini’s mission statement of standing apart from the crowd.
This was our first experience of the Paceman on UK roads. This all-wheel-drive SD ALL4 is fitted with a 2.0-litre oilburner that produces 143bhp and 225lb ft and can cover 0-62mph in 9.2sec.
The engine offers a decent, torquey low-end response which both supplies the Paceman SD with a modest amount of sporting verve and plenty of flexibility to make it a good cruising tool, even if the unit's rasping monotone can become wearing on long trips. However, there are other engines available - in the petrol line-up there is a couple of 1.6-litre petrols - naturally aspirated and turbocharged variants, and two diesels - a 1.6 and 2.0-litre options.