Last Thursday night saw the public launch of the MINI Paceman in Sandton, with this new model aiming to get more male drivers behind the wheel of the MINI brand.
In true MINI fashion, the reveal was something different, what with the Paceman wrapped up like a Christmas present and everyone had a helping hand to unwrap it. An excellent choice of venue, with music from Goldfish and DJ Fresh as MINI pulled out all the stops on the entertainment side.
An interesting choice of route in and around Sandton took the Paceman through some tight turns, terrible tarmac and traffic light dashes.
The Paceman divides opinion in the looks department. Countryman front-end styling, and radical sloping rear roofline with gigantic rear brake lights and MINI badge. From the side, it’s MINI Evoque and in certain colours, with the right wheel choices can look actually look pretty hot.
We got to take out the Cooper S variant, with automatic gearbox. Producing the familiar 135kW and 240NM from the 1.6 turbocharged unit, the Paceman with its much larger body isn’t exactly as brisk as the standard MINI Cooper S. The whiney 6speed auto and weightier body was a bit disappointing. The weight counts against it, and as it’s built on the Countryman platform, the larger interior, which boasts more space for 4 adults and a lot comfier ride, does inhibit the real go-kart type handling of the Paceman. Boot size also increases dramatically to 330litres. The interior is standard MINI styling, except for the window controls which have now been moved to the DOORS?! Atrocities! Mini should know the window controls must be down in some obscure location that takes your eyes off the road as you look for them. The more comfortable ride does have its downsides, with considerable body roll in corners, and less twitchy handling. That said, over potholed rolls in Joburg, this is by far the most comfortable MINI.
The Paceman is a looker. Love it or hate it, it stands out of the crowd and will keep heads turning for some time. (Whether it be towards or away from the Paceman) That said, it’s style over substance here, and it unfortunately doesn’t deliver against the true MINI handling and performance credentials, which I’m not sure is going to appeal to the manliest of men.
Available starting at (Incl. VAT but excl. CO2 emissions)
Cooper Paceman – R292 500
Cooper S Paceman – R357 500
Cooper S All4 Paceman – R405 500