Like its corporate parent BMW, Mini is starting to fill niches we didn't think were missing. Its latest offering is the Paceman, which is categorized as a "sports activity coupe." Or to make it easy for you to understand, it's basically a Countryman with two less doors. For those eager to get their hands on this vehicle, the good news is that local Mini distributor British United Automobiles has formally launched the Paceman in our market.
And because this literally was no ordinary car, the launch was also not a typical automotive event. It started traditionally enough: food, drinks, an announcement...and then the lights dimmed. Then engine sounds were heard, and one by one several Paceman units were driven into the showroom.
There was barely time to gawk at the cars when the attendees were herded to the parking lot, where a Paceman, pro driver Georges Ramirez, a white tarpaulin and several buckets of paint were waiting. Given this scenario, one could tell the distributor was up to something new.
Ramirez climbed into the blue Paceman, revved the engine, and--after the go-signal given by Mini Global City general sales and marketing manager Ryan David Watson--launched the Mini to do a graceful J-turn. Then a bucket of paint was poured over the front wheels, after which Ramirez did a burnout. The wheels sprayed paint behind them into the waiting tarp. This process was repeated several times, and in the end, the audience beheld the masterpiece "painted" by the new crossover.
After the British paint job, a band too hip for us to remember its name started playing, and we finally got to see the cars up close inside the showroom. Among the Paceman colors shown were Light White, Brilliant Copper and Blazing Red. Some cars survive losing two doors in their transition to be a coupe, and some don't. The Paceman falls in the former category, looking as tall, purposeful and fun as its Countryman sibling. That being said, your liking the Paceman depends on how much you like the Countryman.
Despite being a smaller crossover, the Paceman still seats four adults and can swallow 330 liters of cargo with the rear seats up, and 1,080 liters with the rear seats folded down.
For now, two variants are available: the Mini Cooper Paceman and the Mini Cooper S Paceman. The Cooper's introductory price is P2,488,000, while the S badge will cost you P2,988,000. Both variants have a 1.6-liter engine, but the S has turbocharging so its 184hp easily trumps the Cooper's 122hp. A John Cooper Works version is reportedly under way.
The Paceman may not be for everyone, but those who get it will appreciate how it stands out from the cookie-cutter automobiles being churned out today.
Photos by Dinzo Tabamo