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New Mini Paceman Concept to Debut at 2011 Detroit (NAIAS) Auto Show - VIDEO ENHANCED

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MINI Paceman Concept

By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor

THE HAGUE - December 18, 2010: Soon after production of the classic Mini came to a halt in 2000, BMW, the new owner of the Mini brand announced a successor.

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2001 MINI One
It was a brand new model that had been under development by Rover and BMW jointly, after the takeover of the British company by BMW AG. After the Germans discarded itself from Rover, the Mini project became a point of focus.

But it did not last long until the Mini brand was relaunched, which happened by means of the presentation of a prototype at the Paris Auto Show and in 2001 the production of the new Mini was a fact.

In the past decade Mini has built up a record, not only as a cult car, but more important as a commercial success. Between the market launch of the new Mini in 2001 and last July, more that 1.7 million units were sold through 1,300 dealers in 90 markets world wide.

Dr. Wolfgang Armbrecht, CEO of Mini, said earlier this year during that the Mini Countryman would be a very important model for the brand's strategy to reach anual sales of 300,000 units. Last year over 215,000 Mini's were sold, while some 109,000 left the dealerships in the first half of this year, an increase of 7.7 per cent.

The Mini brand has a huge amount of followers - fans rather - who communicate with each other on the internet via Mini Community.

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MINI Paceman Concept

In January, at the 2011 North American International Auto Show, Mini will present a concept for another new model, the Paceman. With the Paceman Concept car the Mini brand shows a sporty body concept with coupe looks and as big as the four-door Countryman, of which is it derived.

Since BMW already introduced a similar concept with the X6 SAV, it is no surprise that Mini also uses the term Sports Activity Coupe for the Paceman.

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MINI Paceman Concept

In the wheel wells of the sporty styled body of the concept car, large 19-inch wheels will underline the bold stance of the four-seater that has a length of 4,110 mm (161.8 in.), a width of 1,789 mm ( 70.4 in.) and a height of 1,541 mm (60.67 in.).

The interior is on par with the Mini design language, but as you can expect with a concept, with the centre rail that we know from the Countryman, running through the middle of the cockpit up till the rear seat back rests.

Click PLAY to watch the MINI Paceman promo video

The Paceman Concept is equipped with the John Cooper Works 1.6 liter four-cylinder engine with twin-scroll turbocharger, that develops 155 kW/221 hp and has 260 Nm (192 lb-ft) of torque, up to 280 Nm (207 lb-ft) during over boost. The Paceman has also All4 permanent AWD, while its chassis technology has been further developed for even more powerful engines than the I-4 under the bonnet.

Even though Mini is entering the World Rally Championship in 2011 with the new Countryman, we can expect the next step in a couple of years. Then Mini may enter the sleeker styled Paceman. But first we will have to wait for the market launch that will probably take more than a year. At least the Mini Community has something new to talk about.