Seventh variation on the theme to grace its lineup, the 2013 Mini Paceman made its U.S. debut in Los Angeles following a Euro-spec reveal last month at the Paris Auto Show. Based on the same stretched platform that also underpins the Countryman, this slickly styled 3-door hatch offers its own unique sporting character and distinctive design theme.  Mini has dubbed it "the world's first Sports Activity Coupe," and believes the Paceman will appeal to buyers smitten with its undeniably attractive combination of practicality and presence.

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Visually, the Mini Paceman features a more aggressive overall appearance than the original 3-door Hardtop or its 5-door Countryman kin. The look is suitably reinforced by more prominent horizontal character lines and a lower overall profile. Like the Coupe, it also features longer doors and a flowing roofline with blackout B-pillars that give the top - which is available in either black or white -- a "floating" quality and culminates in an integral spoiler element. This purposeful Mini "new think" also manifests itself in the rear-end treatment that sees the first application of horizontal lighting elements to help foster the perceived additional width matched with the equally unprecedented presence of its "Paceman" name being spelled out in chrome letters across the hatch.

The new Paceman offers the latest take on Mini design direction inside, as well. While a good many familiar touches carry over, the dash has been refreshed, gaining redesigned air vent surrounds and new accent elements for the center-mounted speedometer as well as relocating the power window switches from the center stack to the newly-redesigned door panels where many feel they should have been from the very start. Providing generous room for four, the Paceman also pairs well-formed front buckets with a new 50/50 split-folding rear bench that features individual seats in a lounge-style configuration that include articulated armrests. The Paceman also comes with Mini's Center Rail attachment system in standard half-length or optional full-length form. When cargo- toting does takes precedence, dropping the Paceman's rear seatbacks increases capacity of its easily-accessed rear bay from 11.7 cu ft to 38.1 cu ft.

While European versions of the 2013 Mini Paceman will be available with both gasoline and diesel engines and in front-drive or ALL4 configurations, the Paceman will launch here in Cooper, Cooper S and Cooper S ALL4 configurations, with the Cooper Paceman getting the familiar gas-fueled 121 horsepower/1.6-liter naturally aspirated 4-cylinder gas and the "S" variants sharing the same 181-horse turbocharged engine found in other Mini Cooper S offerings. Standard transmission will be a 6-speed manual, but a 6-speed Steptronic automatic with steering wheel-mounted paddles will be optional. At some point after the Paceman's arrival here, the U.S. lineup will be expanded with a John Cooper Works edition, likely motivated by the same force-fed 208-horse engine as other JCW Mini offerings.

All versions of the new Mini Paceman will come with a standard -- and lowered -- sport-tuned suspension but offer buyers a more compliant "normal" chassis package as a no-cost option. The Paceman's standards/options roster will be virtually identical to other 2013 Mini Cooper/Cooper S packages, with the same holding true for the bounty of accessories and other personalization touches that are a hallmark of the brand.

Pricing for the 2013 Mini Cooper Paceman will start at $23,900 when it arrives here in March -- a figure that puts it $1,200 above the base Countryman. The Mini Cooper S Paceman is set to open at $27,500 with the Cooper S Paceman ALL4 commanding $29,200.

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