Love or hate MINI's ever-expanding lineup, you've got to admire the company's ability to spin seemingly endless niches off a basic small hatchback.
Latest to join us, whether we like it or not, is the Paceman. Based on the largest MINI, the Countryman, the Paceman is the five-door car's three-door, coupe-roofed brother.
Superficially similar to the Countryman, you'll first notice the slightly lower roof (with a subtle nod to the baseball cap-like MINI Coupe), redesigned light clusters and chunky plastic cladding. And, of course, the relative lack of doors.
A choice of petrol and diesel models are available across a variety of trim levels. As with any other MINI, and indeed dozens of other cars these days, you can mix and match paint finishes, roof colours, tasteless decals, alloy wheels, interior furnishings and more to come up with your own horrifying interpretation of "style".
Those less inclined to visually poison everyone within fifty feet will be pleased to know this also involves spending less money on the already expensive Paceman, kicking off at 18,970 for a 122-horsepower, 1.6-engined Cooper Paceman.
It'll get you to 62 mph in 10.4 seconds and do 47.1 mpg. Trade up to the Cooper S Paceman and you'll drop only 0.8 mpg, but also reach the same 62 mph in 2.9 seconds less.
Diesels all break past the 60 mpg mark and get you to 62 mph in anything from 9.2 to 10.8 seconds, while pumping out no more than 122 g/km of CO2. Unlike some rivals though, there's no ultra-frugal model offering zero road tax. Still, all models get MINI's MINIMALISM range of features, including stop-start, a gearshift indicator and brake energy regeneration, ekeing out extra miles on every gallon.
ALL4 four-wheel drive is optional on all but the base Cooper Paceman, and you'll find it on the 218-bhp John Cooper Works Paceman too, which reaches 62 mph in 6.9 seconds. The whirring sound you'll hear in this particular model is John Cooper spinning in his grave.
There's plenty of equipment available, including aircon and powered mirrors, while sport seats are standard. Xenon adaptive headlights, Park Distance Control, an electric glass roof and MINI navigation populate the options list.
The press release says something about go-kart handling, but then it would. Expect it to drive like a slightly taller MINI, or a slightly smaller Countryman.
Priced from: 18,970
Available from: Now
The words above, no matter how acerbic, probably won't change your initial opinion on the Paceman. If you're a fan, chances are you've already had a string of other MINIs and the company's niche-hunting is bound to hit perfection at some point. If you're not, then no amount of Cooper badging or racing stripes will convince you otherwise.
Check out our new MINI Paceman review page. With a full guide to the Paceman, plus more photos, videos, stats and engine guide.