Kiwis eager for Mini's new Paceman

2013 Mini Paceman now 'highly likley' for NZ release. Photo /  Supplied
2013 Mini Paceman now 'highly likley' for NZ release. Photo / Supplied

The seventh member of the Mini family is highly likely to be offered for sale in New Zealand.

The Mini Paceman, which debuted at the Paris Motor Show, was originally not going to be considered for this market. But consumer reaction to the vehicle has been overwhelmingly positive and customer inquiries have forced a rethink.

Having only three doors is the limiting factor in the appeal of the Paceman, as the New Zealand market heavily favours five-door models.

The Paceman is styled as a coupe interpretation of the Mini Countryman with a sporty exterior design and lowered suspension. It joins the Hatch, Clubman, Convertible, Countryman, Coupe and Roadster bodystyles in the expanding Mini family.

It's built on the Countryman platform and from bumper to bumper the Cooper S Paceman and Cooper SD Paceman is actually 5mm longer than equivalent Countryman models.

When it goes on sale in Europe next year there will be four versions including a Cooper S Paceman with a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine that accelerates from 0-100km/h in just 7.5 seconds.

The styling features prominent horizontal lines and dynamic curved surfaces with details including an upright front end design with hexagonal radiator grille and broad chrome surround.

A coupe-style stretched side profile features long doors, while the blacked-out pillars create a "floating" roof concept, as already seen on the Mini Coupe.

Available in either black, white or body colour, the roof gently slopes towards the rear of the car, ending at the integrated spoiler.

The horizontal arrangement of the rear lights, which accentuates the car's width, is a first for Mini and the Paceman is the only member of the brand's line-up to be identified by a rear nameplate.

A four-seat interior designed specifically for the Paceman is highlighted by two individual rear seats providing generous head, shoulder and knee room.

Armrests are integrated into the rear trim and a two-section version of the Mini Centre Rail storage and attachment system - first seen in the Countryman - is standard with a full- length variant available as an option.

Folding down the rear seats expands the rear load-carrying capacity from 330 litres to a maximum of 1080 litres with loading access via a large and high-opening tailgate.

Inside, the instrument panel includes many familiar Mini themes including the large round central speedo.

However, its black surround and decorative inner rings in high-gloss black or chrome are new, as are the redesigned air vent surrounds.

Buttons for the windows, which have been toggle switches below the speedo on every Mini to date, have moved to the door trim panel.

From launch, Paceman will have the choice of four engines - two petrol and two diesel.

All come with a six-speed manual gearbox, or the optional six-speed Steptronic automatic.

There is a 1.6-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine for the Mini Cooper Paceman with 90kW output and the turbocharged unit for the Cooper S Paceman is tuned to deliver 135kW.

Diesel customers can choose from the Mini Cooper D Paceman with the 1.6-litre turbocharged engine developing 82kW and the flagship diesel is the Mini Cooper SD Paceman gets a 2.0-litre engine with 105kW.

The Paceman also offers a four-wheel drive choice with Mini's ALL4 system available on the Cooper D, SD and Cooper S Paceman models. A John Cooper Works Paceman is also in development.

- NZ Herald

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