Its revelation time for MINI and its brand-new Paceman series, which will make its grand premiere at the Paris Motor Show at the end of September before it goes on sale worldwide next spring.
Originally previewed by the Paceman Concept at the 2011 Detroit Motor Show, the newest addition to MINI's growing (both in numbers and in…size) range of vehicles is billed as a coupé interpretation of the Countryman crossover.
From bumper to bumper, the Paceman measures 4,109mm (161.7-inches) or in the case of the sported-up Cooper S and Cooper SD variants, 4,115mm (162-inches), making it 24mm shorter than the Countryman.
The styling up to the A-pillar is identical to the five-door model, but the Paceman gains a more rakish roofline, longer front doors, muscular rear fenders and a completely new rear end highlighted by a redesigned set of tail lamps that all work together to offer a sportier appearance.
Inside, the Paceman gets a strictly four-seat layout with individual seating for the rear passengers and a boot space of 330 liters that can grow to 1,080 liters by folding down the rear seats – that's compared to the Countryman's 350 liters and 1,170 liters respectively.
Mini says the lowered chassis and re-tuned suspension will offer the Paceman a more sportier ride than the Countryman.
At launch, European buyers will have the choice of two petrol and two diesel engines shared with the Countryman.
For petrol buyers, the Cooper Paceman features a 1.6-litre 119hp (122PS) unit offering a 0-62mph (100km/h) time of 10.4 seconds and fuel economy of 6.0lt/100km (47.1mpg UK or 39.2mpg US) with CO2 emissions of 140 g/km.
The Cooper S Paceman is fitted with a 181hp (184PS) version of the same petrol unit and sprints to 62mph (100km/h) in 7.5 seconds while returning 6.1lt/100km (46.3mpg UK or 38.6mpg US) and emissions of 143g/km.
Diesel options include the Cooper D Paceman with a 1.6-litre 110hp (112PS) turbocharged engine and a 0-62mph (100km/h) time of 10.8 seconds. This model returns a fuel economy of 4.4lt/100km (64.2mpg UK or 53.5mpg US) and 115g/km emissions.
The top diesel option is the Cooper SD Paceman, which gets a 2.0-litre 141hp (143PS) engine. Its 0-62mph (100km/h) time is 9.2 seconds and fuel economy is 4.6lt/100km (61.4mpg UK or 51.1mpg US) with an emissions figure of 122g/km.
All models are offered with a standard six-speed manual gearbox and an optional six-speed automatic transmission. Aside from the most powerful Cooper S variant that comes with standard all-wheel drive, the other three models are front-wheel driven but can be optionally equipped with MINI's ALL-4 all-wheel drive system.
Mini said that the Paceman will go on sale in Britain on March 15 with on the road prices starting at £18,970.
The BMW Group-automaker has not yet revealed information for the North American market model.