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When we first drove the new Mini Paceman, we opined that - while Mini might not like to hear it - it’d be ace for grandparents, what with its high-entry position.

Well, here’s the one for the grandparent that’s had one too many Red Bulls and watched an old episode of The Sweeney: it’s the brand new Mini John Cooper Works Paceman.

That’s right, the seventh - seventh - model in Mini’s line-up gets the full JCW treatment. And looking at the picture above, it seems to have all gone a bit Dark Side of the Force. It’ll make its worldwide debut at the upcoming Detroit motor show in January 2013, so for now you’ll just have to touch your computer screen and ingest these details for a feel of it.

Underneath sits Mini’s now-familiar 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine producing some 218bhp at 6,000rpm, and 207lb ft of torque available between 1,900rpm and 5,000rpm, with a six-speed manual as standard, or a six-speed auto as an option. There’s also some overboost on offer too between 2,100rpm and 4,500rpm which increases the torques to 221, opening up - in Mini’s words - “gratifyingly vivacious acceleration”. Bravo.

Such vivacity expresses itself through a 0-62mph time of 6.9 seconds and a top speed of 140mph (139mph for the auto), making it the second-slowest JCW Mini behind its sober-suited brother, the JCW Countryman (0-62mph in seven seconds).

It’ll get an appropriately tuned exhaust to match this sprint, along with Mini’s ALL4 four-wheel-drive system as standard, which uses an electromagnetic centre diff to distribute drive between the front and rear axles. Normal driving results in around 50 per cent of the engine power being sent to the rear, but in “extreme conditions” (the only conditions TG fully understands), all 218 horses can be sent to the rear axle.

The Paceman sits 10mm lower than standard, on sports suspension that’s been ‘dynamically optimised’, together with DSC and DTC stability and traction systems. Outside, its sporting intent makes itself known through 18in light-alloy wheels (with 19s an option), an aero kit with added beef, and of course, the all important JCW logos on the grille, boot and door sills.

Prices start at £29,535, around a grand more than the Countryman JCW, and it’ll go on sale 16 March 2013. A step too far, or the car you’ve been silently crying out for?

Vijay Pattni

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