Ever since partaking in MINI UNITED earlier this year in France, we’ve become addicts of the BMW-owned MINI sub-brand and its quirky family lineup of go-kart handling vehicles. While fans of the pre-existing Hardtop, Convertible, Coupe, Roadster, Clubman and Countryman lines have had their hands full with the brand’s ultra-customizability of paint and design options to suit any lifestyle, the natural progression toward larger vehicles for the American market has yielded the newest member: The Paceman.

Developed as a concept beginning in 2011, the Paceman is essentially a sporty coupe version of the SUV Countryman with additional styling cues. Promoted by the company as the world’s first “Sports Activity Coupe,” the Paceman exudes a powerful body design for the premium compact market seen through the emboldened masculine front and rear fascias and strong body lines that help to exaggerate the vehicle’s height.

The departure from the four-door Countryman to the two-door Paceman has also seen the repositioning of the roof line into a gradual slope towards the rear, flaring back up just so slightly at the tip. This design feature can be nicely compared to the markedly larger Range Rover Evoque (above or check out the convertible concept), which received strong accolades upon its unveiling. While completely different marques and targeting different fiscal demographics, these two vehicles are both aimed at the younger, more active crowd who are more likely to be heading to the great outdoors or a biking excursion rather than just social or regular driving opportunities.

Offered in two engine variants, the V4 121-pony Cooper and 181-pony Cooper supercharged, the vehicles can hit a top speed of 117 or 127 mph, respectively. In addition, the Cooper S can hit 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds and provides a torque of 192 lb.-ft. which can be pushed with a sick overboost function to 192 lb.-ft. for brief moments between 1,700 and 4,500 rpm. Six-speed manual is standard on the Paceman, with a six-speed automatic transmission as an option with AWD. While we’re really digging the optional 19” alloy wheels to boost the vehicle’s height (17” standard), the choice will mostly depend on the driver’s preference of if he feels like playing with the big boys.

We won’t get to test one of these out until early next year before they hit showrooms in the second quarter, but we’d imagine official specs and pricing to hit around the holidays.

For more information, check out www.miniusa.com