MINI road cars are going off-road with a Dakar Rally based Countryman.
The Dakar Rally is an annual Rally raid event formerly held between Paris, France and Dakar, Senegal, showcasing some of the most intense rally and off-road vehicles from around the world. Recently held in South America and Saudi Arabia, the rally has claimed the lives of many drivers – and the sanity of others, as amateurs battle with professionals during an intense 10 – 15 days and thousands of kilometres of dangerous rallying.
MINI based racers have shown continuous success in recent rallies, namely the 2020 Dakar Rally in the hands of team Bahrain JCW X-raid. This presents quite the achievement for MINI, as building an endurance rally car is no easy feat.
As a celebratory gesture, MINI themselves have found the opportunity to make a road-going tribute to the rally raid machines – called the Cooper S Countryman X-raid. The special package was co-developed with German motoring team, X-raid, and it features some seriously impressive upgrades.
Most visibly, the X-raid Countryman has been fitted with extremely robust wheels, protected by hard-wearing rim rings to mitigate the chance of cracks from sharp rocks and debris, and tough-looking factory fitted Cooper Discoverer AT3 tyres increase overall off-road gripping capability. Additionally, a revised suspension setup has been employed for stronger durability, with changes including new top strut mounts and dampers; and a notable increase in ground clearance sees the car raised by 40mm, again further enhancing the car’s potential on rough terrain.
Unfortunately, the X-raid is unlikely to see any on-road performance benefits, as it is built on the current MINI Cooper S Countryman, which pumps out 141kW (189 hp) and 281Nm from it’s 2.0L turbocharged inline-four.
The special edition MINI is also made specifically for the German market, so it’s unlikely we’ll see it reaching our shores.