MINI has chosen the 2012 Paris Auto Show to mark the world premiere of its Paceman 'Sports Activity Coupe'.

Based on the slightly larger, five-door Countryman, the Paceman extends the MINI brand into yet another niche market, competing with fun-to-drive mini crossovers like the Nissan Juke.

With its large headlights and grille, and contrasting roof, it's unmistakably a car from the MINI stable. You'll either love or hate it depending on whether you're already partial to the brand or not, but it certainly stands out.

Despite its pseudo-SUV pretentions, MINI boasts lowered suspension on every model--so despite the availability of ALL4 all-wheel drive on Cooper S models, this is more a slippery surface car than any kind of off-road vehicle.

Inside the traditional MINI styling continues, with design cues like a large, central speedometer dominating the dashboard.

Rear seat passengers get two individual chairs, which can also be folded down to extend luggage space to 38 cubic feet, 5 cu ft more than the Clubman wagon.

The Paceman will launch with a range of options in Europe, but once it hits the U.S. it's likely to offer the usual 1.6 and 1.6 turbocharged options.

Of more interest for those wanting better gas mileage, a 2.0-liter, 143-horsepower diesel could also be an option.

In the European MINI Cooper SD, the engine returns up to 54.7 mpg on the combined economy cycle. It's almost certain to be offered in the European Paceman, so we're hoping MINI sees fit to bring it here too.

The MINI Paceman will be on display at the Paris Auto Show from 27th September.


Follow GreenCarReports on Facebook and Twitter.