What is it?
The production version of the Mini Paceman - the three-door offspring of the Countryman we’ve only previously driven in development form. Dubbed, optimistically, a Sports Activity Coupé, BMW insists this is the car to bridge the gap between its family-focused crossover and the now ageing hatchback.
A new design has been penned around the deletion of the Countryman’s rear doors, which necessitates a retooled rear end, including a lowered roof line and altered tailgate. The subtraction continues inside where the standard rear bench has been replaced by Mini’s individual rear seats (formerly an option on the five-door).
Despite sharing all of its running gear with the Countryman, the Paceman’s racier brief means it gets Mini’s sports suspension, dropping the car a further 10mm closer to terra firma. The engines and transmissions are all direct carryovers: the familiar 1.6-litre petrol unit comes in both 121bhp Cooper guise and 181bhp Cooper S format (driven here).
Similarly, the diesel options are split between the 110bhp 1.6-litre Cooper D and the 141bhp 2.0-litre Cooper SD. Every powerplant (with the exception of the entry-level Cooper) can be mated to Mini’s ALL4 four-wheel-drive system for a premium, although front-wheel-drive variants will form the bulk of sales.