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Auto Show:  2012 La Auto Show

MINI Paceman & John Cooper Works GP: LA Auto Show

author photo by Jeffrey Archer November 2012
  • MINI Paceman is a sporty 2-door Countryman.
  • MINI also revealed John Cooper Works GP.
  • Both models go on sale next year.

MINI showed two new models in LA. The first, a new 2-door model called the Paceman, made its North American debut there. MINI also revealed the high-performance John Cooper Works GP model.

We first saw the production Paceman at the Paris Auto Show in September. MINI also showed a concept at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show. As a sporty, 2-door version of the MINI Countryman crossover, it's brand's smallest niche yet.

On the outside, the Paceman's styling roughly mirrors the Countryman's. That's mostly true in front, as the Paceman wears the same headlights and bumper as the 4-door Countryman. In back, the Paceman features a sporty look with wider fenders, updated taillights, and a steeply raked rear window. Interior changes are minimal compared to the Countryman, with rear legroom staying the same and headroom dropping slightly.

Under the hood, the MINI Paceman keeps the same engines as the Countryman. That means a standard 121-horsepower 1.6-liter 4-cylinder. A 181-hp turbo version is optional. Like the Countryman, the Paceman also offers MINI's "All4" all-wheel drive. The only unknown is pricing, though we expect the Paceman to start around $29,000 when it arrives in dealers early next year.

In addition to the Paceman, MINI also showed a performance-oriented version of its Cooper hatchback. Just 2,000 units of the John Cooper Works GP model will be built, and only a fraction of those will come to the U.S. Despite its hefty price tag of $40,000, its 211-hp 4-cylinder boosts power by just three horses over the regular John Cooper Works model.

But the GP is about more than just power. It boasts a weight savings of more than 160 lbs. It also includes adjustable "competition grade" suspension. Rear seats are removed in favor of a rigid cross brace, while high-performance tires are mounted on lightweight alloy wheels. A 6-speed manual is the only transmission.

According to MINI, the John Cooper Works GP goes on sale next March. Interested shoppers should line up quickly, as the unique hot hatch likely won't have trouble finding buyers.

What it means to you: With the Paceman and John Cooper Works GP, MINI continues expanding its lineup.

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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 & John Cooper Works GP: LA Auto Show - Autotrader