Roadshow Video Reviews
2013 Mini Cooper S PacemanThe 2013 Mini Cooper S Paceman continues the line of Mini cars, with a hot engine and some nifty tech, but ultimately falls short of the original Mini Cooper.
It's a MINI with 2 doors. front and rear seats, and a turbo, but it's not the standard Cooper S. This model is called a Paceman, whatever that is. Let's motor in the 2013 MINI Cooper S Paceman. MINI basically makes one car, the Cooper with a ton of variants. This Paceman is the latest in the lineup joining the standard Cooper, the Convertible, the Clubman, the Countryman, the Coupe, and the Roadster. All of these cars can be had with a Turbocharged S engine. This Paceman is the top of the line. It's got the Turbocharged engine so it's a Cooper S. It's also got MINI's do all-wheel drive system. Now even though it's a 2-door with front and rear seats same as the standard Cooper, it's got a very different design. We get the slanted back roof here which I guess is kind of modern, looking a little different. Maybe they wanted to change it up, but it's also a lot bigger than the standard Cooper. It's a full 4 inches wider, it's 4-1/2 inches taller. It's also a foot and 3 inches longer than the standard Cooper, but the seating arrangement is different. So let's take a look inside and check that out. I'm not crazy about the rear seat arrangement here. MINI puts 2 buckets instead of a bench. That means you can definitely only fit 2 passengers back here. Between these 2 buckets you get this railing. This is something that MINI started putting into the Countryman and they put it in this car as well. The idea behind this railing is you can get accessories like cup holders or cellphone holders or something that snap into place. It's kind of a goofy idea, but you can also fold these rear seats down and maximize your cargo areas so that gives you a little more utility. And on the Paceman here, we've got the technology package with navigation. So that puts a screen and LCD in the middle of this big round speedometer that's a MINI signature, and we have this nice sort of elliptical menu here. You control everything from this little dial down here. There's a button to get to the main menu. We got navigation here and the maps, I'm not crazy about the look of these maps. They've got this weird sort of green lines with the streets that make them look a little, I don't know, odd. And then we've got our media sources. And here we've got Bluetooth streaming audio and also this iPod connector down here. Now this is the bad thing. It still uses this Y Cable down here so you have an auxiliary cable plugged into the auxiliary port ending in a 30-pin connector, so that's an old style iPod hookup, but we also have this adaptor here. I put in this adaptor for my iPhone 5 so I can hook that up. It's not the best setup but that's the only way to work it, but the most unique part of this technology package is the MINI Connected feature. So I've got this MINI Connected app on my phone and that means I can access this part of the menu, this little blue globe thing, MINI Connected, and those are all the connected features and there are a ton of them in this car. For example, we've got Google search. That's of course the most useful for navigation. I can just punch that up, do a search for you know just about anything and it'll find all the local businesses that correspond to that search. It's also got Facebook integration and Twitter. So with Facebook they show your feed on the screen. It's not too distracting because they don't give you a lot to read. They only have the first little bit of text from each update and this thing actually can read the updates out to you. I don't know if you wanna sit here listening to your car read these various different updates, but what you really use Facebook for is you can actually post some templated updates to your own status. Web radio is actually a really cool feature here. So this gives you radio stations from around the world that are broadcasting on the internet. You can even choose Antarctica, see what stations they have going on there. Well, there's one called 'A' Net Station playing folk radio. I guess that's probably one of the Antarctic bases down there. MINI Connected has a few other features that are useful that actually interact with the way you're driving the car, but the one that I found recently that is really interesting, it's called Driving Excitement. So the main screen is called the Excitement Analyser and that has a couple of different gauges here that show your acceleration, your steering, and you actually earn points depending on how well you do each driving task. And if you look on the phone, you can see like what level you're reached. There's also the series of badges you can earn. There's a badge for acceleration for your getting a decent 0 to 60 acceleration. You also have a sports instrument display which here will show your horsepower and your torque. Those are gauges you don't normally get in the instrument cluster, so it's kind of nice to be able to see that if you want. You also have a force meter which shows how hard you're taking the car around the corners. That nice display shows the MINI kind of in the center and drifting to the side as you're taking the corners and putting the G forces on it. All right and I mentioned this fact that this car comes with the automatic transmission. That's a $1250 option, comes standard with 6-speed manual and I would've preferred that. It's much more fun for a MINI. The 6-speed automatic transmission isn't too bad. We've got paddle shifters here and uniquely it's more of a BMW MINI thing, as you actually instead of having one side be up, one side be down, you'll actually pull up for upshift and push on them for downshift. This transmission shifts pretty fast, but again the manual would be more fun. There's also a Sport mode in this car. That's just by flipping this toggle switch puts it in Sport mode, puts the transmission into Sport mode and makes the throttle a lot more responsive. Now under the hood here, we've got this 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine. That's pretty much the same engine that all the Coopers have, but because this is the Cooper S it's also got direct injection fuel delivery and a turbo. That brings the power up to 181 horsepower, 177 pound feet of torque. Those are pretty decent numbers for this relatively small car. It's also an economical engine. Now interestingly enough, this is putting much the same type of engine I looked at in the Nissan Nismo last week. Let's take this guy on the road and see what it can do. The MINI Coopers when they first came out under BMW, they were really noted for their go-kart style handling. This car, I don't know, it's bigger, I think it's heavier. There's still a good responsive steering rack here, but it just doesn't have that. I wouldn't call this go-kart handling at all. It doesn't have that same feel. It's pretty quick. You can have fun with it, but I think, you know, the standard MINI hatchback is a little better that way. I also note that this is the Cooper S so we got 181 horsepower; I think that's necessary. I would never get a MINI without the S behind the Cooper because you just don't get much power with that basic engine. With the turbo and direct injection, you get much more efficiency and power. It's worth it. But one thing that really, I don't know, suffers somewhat in this car from the fact that it comes with a sports-end suspension standard and it's got fairly low profile tires. The ride quality is a little rough. I mean I'm not supposed to hate the handling so as to keep it a little, you know, more stable in the corners, but you can really feel a lot of the road with you know this road is fairly rough and this does not feel like a free and level car. This one is supposed to be shake free on contact. Now the base Cooper Paceman goes for $23,900 delivered. This model the Cooper S with the all-wheel drive is $29,200. Now to go CNET style, you'll wanna add the technology package with navigation and that's a $2500 option. You can save a little money by shaving off navigation from that. That brings it down to $1750. All told, that's $31,700. The automatic transmission is $1250 option. I would get the manual transmission. It's a lot more fun, and in fact I would get the standard Cooper S, not the Paceman because I think that smaller car is a lot more fun too.