NEW FOR 2014:

– No major changes.

Bigger than a standard Mini hatchback, but more stylish than the Countryman crossover on which it is based, the Paceman may very well be the most niche vehicle that BMW Group has ever created. A late introduction for 2013, the baby Sport Activity Coupe carries over into 2014 virtually unchanged.

Effectively, the Paceman is a vehicle without rivals. There aren’t any two-doors in the compact crossover landscape other than the Range Rover Evoque Coupe which is considerably pricier. On the other hand, there aren’t any performance-oriented compact two-door hatchbacks that offer all-wheel drive. While we’re a bit stumped as to who would buy the Paceman, it hasn’t stopped Mini from conjuring up three different trim levels, ranging from mild to wild.

The Cooper Paceman is offered with a 1.6-litre 121-hp four-cylinder engine mated to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed auto. The Cooper S uses a turbocharged version of this motor, which generates 181 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque. It comes standard with Mini’s ALL4 all-wheel-drive system.

Topping the lineup is the Cooper S John Cooper Works which features an upgraded version of the S’ motor – it develops 208 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque, which is enough to propel the crossover to 100 km/h in 6.9 seconds. ALL4 all-wheel drive comes standard, and both manual and automatic transmissions are offered.

Features on the Cooper include 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, roof rails, power mirrors, chrome door handles, leatherette upholstery, manual seat adjustment, sport and rear seats, 50/50 split-folding rear seat, single exhaust tip, tilt and telescopic multi-function steering wheel, cruise control, auto up/down windows, luggage compartment light, keyless entry with pushbutton start, rear wiper, vanity mirrors, centre aluminum storage rail, trip computer, AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary input, and satellite radio pre-wiring.

The Cooper S models add rear spoiler, lower front air scoop, dark anthracite interior surfaces, double exhaust tips, and stainless steel pedals.

The JCW adds bespoke sports seats, sports steering wheel, electronic locking differential, Piano Black interior trim, bi-xenon headlamps, front foglights, anthracite roof liner, dark coloured dials for the speedometer and rev counter, sports suspension with 10 mm lower ride height, larger anti-roll bars, stiffer springs, 18-inch wheels, red brake calipers, and a Sport button which tweaks the engine’s throttle response and gives the exhaust a more aggressive sound.

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