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Auto Show:  2011 Naias

Mini Paceman Concept - 2011 Detroit Auto Show

author photo by Autotrader January 2011
January 14, 2011

Before we describe the Mini Paceman concept, we have some news  -- Mini will be launching two more models, both once concepts themselves. First will be the Mini Coupe. It’s like a normal Mini, only with a chopped, more rounded top and only two seats. It comes out later this year, probably the fall.

Following in its tracks will be the Mini Roadster, an open-top version of the Coupe. This is different from the current Mini Convertible because it’s a two-seater. The Roadster is due next year. And both of these cars are perfect examples, along with the next one, of how Mini is slicing and dicing the niches.

So welcome to a new sub-niche: the small premium sport activity coupe, as embodied by the Mini Paceman and introduced at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show. It is tangentially related to the most recent Mini addition, the Countryman compact premium SUV crossover (perhaps the product planners at Mini just get a lot of words together on separate pieces of paper, throw them up in the air and see what categories are formed once these pieces hit the ground).

It has a similar height, but the roofline is more sleek, the rear windows more tapered, and there are two passenger doors to the Countryman’s four. Inside, the dashboard is dominated by a huge central speedometer (a Mini hallmark) and, in common with the Countryman, a central rail runs between the front and rear quarters.

Under the hood is the most muscular engine the marque currently has to offer: a 211-horsepower, turbocharged, 1.6-liter four found in the John Cooper Works models. And again like its Countryman sibling, the Paceman could offer the option of all-wheel drive.

This much was already known going into Detroit. What Jim McDowell, vice president of Mini USA had to add at the auto show was that there will definitely be a new street-going model based on this concept.

Whether it will retain the Paceman name is still open to speculation, although it seems as good as any. But it won’t be available until after the launches of the Coupe and Roadster, so we’re looking at the last half of 2012 or possibly even later.

author photoCOLIN RYAN has driven hundreds of cars thousands of miles while writing for BBC Top Gear magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Los Angeles Times, European Car, Import Tuner and many other publications, websites, TV shows, etc.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Mini Paceman Concept - 2011 Detroit Auto Show - Autotrader