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2011 MINI Paceman Concept: 2011 Detroit Show Preview

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The 2011 MINI Countryman is the first four-door in the British brand's lineup--but a new two-door version could be in the works, if the MINI Paceman concept is any indication.

The Paceman concept will make its world debut at the 2011 Detroit auto show on January 10.

Calling the new design study a "crossover coupe," MINI says the Paceman starts identically to the Countryman up front, where it shares a grille with the higher-powered Cooper S Countryman. Behind the front clip, the Paceman chops and channels its way into coupe-dom with a shorter, more sloping roofline that still carries over the notched Countryman roofline. Big 19-inch wheels are fitted, suggesting an uptick in performance for the two-door edition. On the rear, the Paceman has more of a horizontal design theme, with a lower, smaller glass area and taillamps turned 90 degrees from their vertical installation in the Countryman.

The details of the cabin haven't been revealed in photos, but the sketches released today show a close link to today's Countryman. The concept has a center-rail console like the one found in the four-door crossover, and accompanying bucket seats, while restyled interior door and trim panels use ovals to lend an impression of more interior space. The Paceman's dimensions are an overall length of 161.8 inches, 70.4 inches wide, and 60.7 inches wide.

Tucked beneath the hood is the MINI John Cooper Works engine, a 1.6-liter turbocharged four with 211 horsepower and 192 pound-feet with an overboost function that briefly lifts torque to 207 lb-ft. MINI's all-wheel drive system fits an electromagnetic differential to split power front to rear. Electric power steering and independent suspension--some of our favorite pieces on the 2011 MINI Cooper S Countryman--have been carried over to the concept as well.

MINI says the Paceman hasn't been green-lighted for production, but its aggressive plans to flesh out its lineup could include the Paceman on an assembly line in Graz, Austria, alongside the Countryman and the BMW X1. For more on the Paceman--and MINI's upcoming Coupe and Roadster--stay tuned for High Gear Media's wall-to-wall coverage of the Detroit Auto Show.
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