The MINI Paceman is a unique car, but it still shares its engines with the rest of the MINI lineup. The base engine powering Cooper models is a 1.6L 4-cylinder engine making 121 horsepower. The Paceman Cooper S is powered by a turbocharged version of the same engine, producing 181 horsepower. The top-of-the-line Paceman John Cooper Works again features the same engine but with even more tuning, to produce a stout 208 horsepower and 192 foot-pounds of torque. All engines are mated to 6-speed manual transmissions with 6-speed automatics being optional.
There are four basic trims for the Paceman: Cooper, Cooper S, Cooper S ALL4 and John Cooper Works ALL4.
The base Cooper offers 17-inch wheels, a leather steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, stainless steel pedals, an onboard trip computer, remote entry, air conditioning, a climate controlled glovebox, power windows, Bluetooth and an auxiliary input jack for an MP3 player.
Cooper S versions get the more powerful engine along with a rear spoiler, a flat black grill, power adjustable outside mirrors, color-adjustable ambient lighting and leatherette upholstery. The Cooper S ALL4 features all-wheel-drive, in addition to all the amenities offered on the Cooper S.
The John Cooper Works also comes with all-wheel-drive, helping to more effectively utilize all of the 208 horsepower the car makes. The John Cooper Works edition is equipped with sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, speed sensitive wipers and heated mirrors and washer jets.
As is typical of MINIs, the Paceman offers many customization and luxury options. Most of the interior trim, along with the roof, are offered in several colors, ensuring that every Paceman ends up looking somewhat unique. Luxury options include a Harman/Kardon sound system, heated seats, a panoramic sunroof, a navigation system and 6.5-inch display, power folding mirrors, rear park distance control and several types of leather seating.
MINI considers safety on the Paceman to be of great importance, and MINI's engineers have come up with plenty of solutions for keeping occupants safe. Electronic brake distribution and stability control systems work with anti-lock brakes to keep the Paceman on the road in extreme conditions, while seven airbags and a crash sensor do their job in the unfortunate event of an accident.
As I swooped the 2013 Mini Cooper S Paceman into turn after turn, window open so I could hear the tires sing their tortured song, the car repeatedly admonished me about "Dangerous cornering." At first I thought it was a compliment, but it was apparently too much excitement for the Driving Excitement feature in the Mini Connected app.
The Mini Connected app is one of the coolest features of the Paceman, combining Google local search, Web radio, social media, and a unique connection to the car for driving enthusiasts.
However, for the Paceman, the app might have been right about the cornering warnings. Where the standard Mini hatchback was lauded from its 2001 launch for its go-kart handling, the Paceman sacrifices that attribute in favor of size. The new Paceman model, introduced at last year's Paris Motor Show, follows the lead of the plump model in its larger dimensions.
The Good The Mini Connected app brings many informative and fun connected features in to the 2013 Mini Cooper S Paceman. The turbocharged engine delivers a good mix of economy and power. The Paceman retains Mini's unique styling language.
The Bad The Paceman gains size and weight, sacrificing Mini's go-kart handling. The navigation system uses an odd color scheme and has limited zoom levels. The Mini Connected app only works on the iPhone.
The Bottom Line A stylish and easy-driving car with many fun connected features, the 2013 Mini Cooper S Paceman works fine for mundane driving, but enthusiasts should stick to its smaller sibling.
The potent little hatchback is nevertheless a fun alternative to your traditional small hatchback.
While the Mini John Cooper Works Clubman isn't the last word in hot hatch thrills, it should appeal to those who want a fast alternative to the plethora of small crossovers on the market.
The project was first announced about two years ago.
It has between 146 and 168 miles of range by European estimates.
It'll go on sale in 2020, but supplies will be rather limited.
With only 3,000 units available, you'll need to be as quick as the car is if you want one.
We drove an early prototype and walked away quite impressed.
Don't try this at home, not that you have a 777 lying around.