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by Jay Traugott
Performance version of Mini's quirky crossover coupe officially released ahead of Detroit debut.
Only a day after pictures of the new John Cooper Works Paceman were leaked online, Mini has officially released specs and details of its new three-door performance crossover. But just looking at it, we can't help but ask, does anybody really care about a car that wasn't necessary in the first place? Let's look at the details. The Paceman is a three-door version of the Countryman, which itself was a controversial addition to a brand that made its name making smaller cars than the competition. But at least there was a business case for it.
The Paceman, however, scuttles the Countryman's versatility, so does adding more power make it any more sensible? Of course not, but let's take a look at the specs: Power comes from a twin-scroll turbocharged 1.6-liter four pot with 218 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque - the same as the JCW Countryman and GP, and more than the rest of the Works range - driving to each corner through Mini's All4 all-wheel-drive system with electronic center differential. With either a manual or automatic six-speed transmission, it takes 6.5 seconds to hit 60 and reaches a top speed of 127 mph. Preliminary EPA estimates project it'll return 26/31 mpg city/highway with the manual and 23/30 mpg with the auto.
As with other JCW models, the Paceman's exterior is the recipient of a number of bespoke features inside and out, including 18-inch alloys, chrome sports exhaust, logo door sills, a lowered suspension and an aerodynamic kit. There's a total of nine exterior finishes, such as the exclusive Chili Red paint with contrast-color roof and exterior mirror caps. The interior can be decked out with, among other tidbits, a sports steering wheel and Carbon Black Championship Red leather sport seats. While we can applaud the extra performance kit, the crossover it's based on still leaves us scratching our heads.