Building niche models for motorsports homologation is a time-honored tradition, particularly at BMW. The MINI Paceman Concept looks to be a good example of just that, likely as a basis for future World Rally Championship cars. It's due for a debut--as a concept only, for now--in Detroit in a few weeks, but our bets are on a small production run before the 2011 season is out to meet 2012 rules.

Sharing much of its key equipment with the 2011 MINI Cooper S Countryman, the Paceman is basically a two-door crossover sporting MINI's All4 all-wheel drive and a 211-horsepower 1.6-liter turbo. Sound like fun? Yeah, it does to us too. Especially with some smaller wheels, studded snow tires, and another couple inches of ground clearance.