Meet the latest member of the What Car? fleet the Mini Paceman. It arrived this week flashing more bling than you can shake a big gold medallion at. I have to admit, it cuts a pretty distinctive presence out in our car park with its Blazing Red body paint, chrome detailing and white roof and door mirrors.
The Paceman is essentially the Countryman crossover with sportier styling, 4cm shaved off its roofline, two fewer doors, one less seat, and almost a grand added to the list price.
Thankfully, the premium price 22,355 gets you plenty of toys, including DAB radio, all-round electric windows, twin chrome exhaust tail pipes, stop-start, rear parking sensors, front sports seats heated windscreen and washer jets, and basic Bluetooth with USB connection.
We also specified a fair few options, together worth 6510 well if youre going to buy this statement car you might as well go the whole hog, and Mini does have a tempting, if bewilderingly extensive options list.
We specced metallic paint, anthracite roof lining, adaptive headlights, chrome interior detailing to match the exterior, heated leather seats, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, the luggage compartment package, a Harman Kardon stereo and the Maintenance pack.
We also added the Chili pack, which gets you the shiny bits around the headlights and grille, multi-colour interior ambient lighting, automatic air-con, front foglights, rain sensor and auto lights, passenger seat height adjustment, multi-function steering wheel and the piece de resistance velour floor mats.
The media pack we chose, meanwhile, promises to keep us in the loop with the Mini Connected apps system, full Bluetooth preparation, voice control, and sat-nav.
That little lot should keep me busy for a while, but I do wonder if Ill actually have time to drive the car. Ill give it my best shot, anyway. Next week: out on the road with the Paceman.
By Emma Butcher