The motoring press keeps complaining how Mini is turning its lineup into a bloated mess with pointless cars, to which Mini responds by making even more of them. Meet the new Mini Paceman JCW.
The Paceman is a two door, therefore less practical version of the Countryman with a chopped roof for less headroom in the back, and an unnecessary all-wheel drive system so you can go through some snow. It's too big to be a great urban explorer, and too soft for the occasional forest duty. So what would make it better? Mini thought giving it more power and getting rid of the ground clearance by adding a sports suspension and 18-inch alloy wheels.
They call it a "sports activity coupé with a racing flavor and intoxicating performance." I call it slowish. 0-62 in 6.9 seconds and a top speed of 140 mph. Or 139, in case you choose the optional automatic. But it's not like the engine is not doing its job. The 1.6 has a twin-scroll turbocharger, direct injection and variable valve control, which gives it 218 horsepower and 207 lb-ft. Torque can also rise to 221 lb-ft for short periods between 2,100 and 4,500 rpm thanks to overboost. The Paceman is just too heavy.
Firmly tuned springs and dampers, strengthened anti-roll bars a 0.39 inch lower ride height supports the power, just like red brake calipers and stripes everywhere. And now some practical information: the Paceman can only seat four, it has a 11.65 cubic-feet trunk, and will do 30 mpg if you don't use the John Cooper Works performance too often.
It's also very nice inside, just like all Minis. Still, I say no, thanks.
Photo credit: Mini