The British have been in motorsport for a long time. And MINI has been around for a lot of it. At the same time, the little British cuties have transformed quite a lot over the years. The once truly tiny car has grown into larger forms and finished with the MINI Countryman.
The four-door, shrunken SUV caught flak from many in the Mini community for not being a true Mini. But, there is now a version that cuts directly to the little British/ German automaker’s heart. Dakar truck building masterminds, X-Raid offer the same desert dominating setup for Mini Countryman owners – and it’s a beautiful thing.
X-Raid Dakar pedigree
The X-Raid team is currently the incumbent winning team at the Dakar rally, according to BMW. X-Raid special tunes everything from chassis and suspensions to motors to compete in the toughest race in the world. The Dakar now takes place in multiple areas, but the spirit remains the same, an off-road race through the toughest parts of the world.
The Mini Countryman gets the X-Raid treatment
It starts with a significant increase in ground clearance to allows for deeper and nastier trails. It also got specially designed HD wheels and higher flanked tires for mastering the rough track. The X-Raid Mini Countryman is a four-time winner at the rally in South America from 2011-2015 and, most recently, in the 2020 rally through the sands of Saudi Arabia. Needless to say, X-Raid knows how to make a tough Mini.
It’s official, MINI will let us have one
MINI has officially announced for 2021 the Mini Countryman powered by X-Raid. CarBuzz reports that MINI has been working closely with the Dakar winning team to make the Countryman something off-road-ready but can still be bought from a dealer.
Like we mentioned earlier, X-Raid raised the height, 1.6 inches, to be specific. This not only gives the Countryman more ground clearance but also increases the Countryman’s fording depth. The lift also allows the Mini to be fitted with the much larger custom wheels and tires. These wheels are designed specifically for rough off-road use. The rim rings can deflect rocks, limbs, and any other hindrance without breaking the wheel. It is worth mentioning that the new X-Raid version’s lift makes the Dakar Mini look like a million bucks.
MINI is still keeping a tight lid on some details
MINI hasn’t released much more information than the lift and custom wheels. They still haven’t given us a clue about production numbers or price for the new badass Mini.
Seeing how it still has the S badge pictured, we assume it will still have the 189-hp inline-four turbo engine from the normal cars. The BMW press site doesn’t say if it will be coming to the states or not. But seeing as how it is still based on the Mini Countryman S All4, I don’t see why we couldn’t get it here.
The X-Raid Mini should be great, it started with good bones
The current Mini Countryman S All4 is a uniquely exciting and refreshing car for the automotive world. For one, they are sporty cars that still come in manual. Not only that, but they are peppy and light cars that still offer decent interior space and a playfully canted wheelbase that encourages fast cornering. The all-wheel-drive system, along with the peppy 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder, is plenty of power to put a smile on your face.
With some added toughness and a lift to truly take the little thing out into the wild, I dare say the Mini Countryman X-Raid seems to be damn-near perfect.