The aesthetically challenged Mini Countryman has a coupe brother. The Paceman, as it's set to be known, delivers most of the practicality of the bonkers Mini crossover, but is easier on the eye.
This "coupe interpretation of the Countryman", features a slightly more aggressive front bumper, tweaked rear lights and a lovely new roof design, which features a blacked-out central pillar and a sleek, sloping, almost Evoque-like lid that ends in a spoiler.
Mini says the entire interior is based on a 'lounge concept'. This means you get two individual leather rear seats with integrated arm rests so you can sit like a boss. Televisions, games consoles, fireplaces and other essential lounge accessories seem absent from the car at this stage.
Up front, the centrally-positioned circular speedometer remains in place alongside decorative inner rings that now come in either high gloss black or chrome. It also boasts redesigned air vents and the centre console-mounted window buttons have been relocated to the doors.
This sportification of the Countryman means practicality is compromised somewhat. Boot space drops from 350 litres to 330 with the rear seats in place, and total luggage capacity falls from 1,170 to 1,080 with those lounge-style pews folded down. That puts it in the same sort of class as a standard hatchback.
The Paceman will be available in Mini Cooper and Cooper S petrol versions or Cooper D and Cooper SD diesel guises. The former will be use the same 1.6-litre petrol engine in several states of tune -- 112bhp, 122bhp and 184bhp. If it's diesel that floats your boat, Mini will also offer 1.6- 2.0-litre oil burners. Manual and Steptronic automatic transmissions are available, both with six gears, and most of the new models can be equipped with Mini's ALL4 4-wheel drive system to ensure grip is plentiful.
The Paceman will go on sale in the UK from March 16th 2013 starting at £18,970. A John Cooper Works performance-focused version is in development, but no time frame has been given for its release. We'll keep you posted.