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Die-hard Mini fans will want to bury their faces into their Italian Job pillowcases because the company is about to unleash a new concept for the Detroit Motor Show.

It is this, the Mini Paceman, and is essentially a Coupe version of the Mini Countryman, continuing the lightweight car’s gradual ascent into Foreman-esque plumper.

Click here for more pics of the Mini Paceman concept

Lots of brand identity has been hurled at this car to ensure image conscious types will flock to its chubby charms in droves; Mini claims it is the world’s first premium miniature SUV coupe, and its design is ‘horizontal’ rather than the Countryman’s ‘vertical’.

The concept on display in Detroit will be fitted with the JCW’s cooking 211bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged four-pot pumping out 192lb ft of torque (207 on overboost), and the Countryman’s ALL4 all-wheel-drive system, which in extreme circumstances sends 100 per cent of power to the rear wheels. This gets a gold star from us. There will also be the option of front-wheel-drive.

Be assured that despite its rather generous heft, it will handle with the agility of a standard Mini - they always do. It gets a MacPherson type front axle coupled to electric speed-sensitive steering, while the rear is a multi-link setup using “proven BMW Group chassis expertise”.

The interior is built to emulate a ‘club lounge’ feel, and comes with light shades of leather, front sport seats and two rear seats which blend into the sides to create a cosy environment. No word on whether your legs get breathing room in the back, but the Countryman was generous, so this should be sufficient.

We’ll let you come to your own conclusions about the styling, but a few words from us: Mini says the roof is almost ‘suspended’ on top of the windows, and is thus known as a ‘helmet roof’.

It’s only a concept but could very well go into production very soon…watch this space. Until then, feast your peepers over the gallery, and let us know if you like the idea of driving a car with a ‘helmet roof’. Brand extension too far, or the car you’ve had sleepless nights waiting for?

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