MINI has unveiled an all-new model called the Paceman, which will make its debut at the Detroit Motor Show in January 2011. The company claims that it's the first sports activity coupe in the small premium segment.
The Paceman is effectively a coupé version of the existing MINI Countryman. It's not the first car to try and combine SUV and coupé forms, either - the Range Rover Evoque does the same thing - but the MINI is significantly smaller.
MINI won't be drawn on its plans to put the car on sale, but it's thought that the Paceman is very likely to appear in showrooms, possibly as early as 2012. MINI says that it: 'Could form yet another building block in the development of the MINI brand'.
Apart from the obvious lack of rear doors, it's the rear that is the most different from the Countryman 4x4.
The rear screen is very shallow and the 'helmet' roof kinks at the back in a similar style to the two-seat MINI Coupé Concept of 2009. The large taillights are accented in chrome and, despite the sloping roof line, the Paceman can still seat four adults.
The show car that will appear in Detroit is powered by the 208bhp turbocharged 1.6-litre engine found in MINI's high performance John Cooper Works (JCW) cars, and has an All4 four-wheel drive system.
If the car gets the green light for production (which it probably will) then it's likely that only the most powerful engines in the MINI stable will be available. There will be no entry-level 'One' version and possibly no diesel either.
The Paceman will therefore not be cheap, with prices set to start at around £22,000 for a Cooper S, rising to above £30,000 for a JCW model with options boxes ticked.