Automotive

Published on October 27th, 2020 | by Joshua Chin

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Limited Run MINI Countryman Powered By X-raid Unveiled

A Dakar winning rally team has kitted out this maxi MINI to be off-road ready. 

MINI is a name that has long been associated with rallying. The original MINI Coopers were Monte Carlo rally winners after all. This long standing rally heritage continues to this day, as the marque is still active in this form of motorsport, particularly with its partnership with the X-raid rally team. 

Partnering with this German motorsports team, the German-owned British automaker has achieved five victories over the last decade in the gruelling Dakar Rally. So in recognition of this successful motorsports partnership with the the incumbent overall winner of the Dakar Rally, MINI has launched this limited-edition MINI Countryman Powered by X-raid. 

Based on the all-wheel drive MINI Cooper S Countryman All4, the Countryman Powered by X-raid features some impressive off-road upgrades over the standard car. No concrete details have yet been provided on the specific ‘chassis modifications derived directly from rally sport’. However, a suspension lift seems to be on the cards, as well as 17-inch rally-spec wheels with a robust rim ring. 

 

Wrapping around those rugged black wheels look to be a set of Cooper Discoverer AT3 high-flanked off-road tires with bead locks. Meanwhile, orange decals on the bonnet, doors and tailgate further distinguishes this X-raid special edition Countryman. Not to mention the orange X on the centre caps of the wheels. 

Although these upgrades might not sound as extreme as the Dakar ready MINI ALL4 Racing and the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy, the off-road centric modifications here are similar to ones on the Countryman support vehicles that accompany the rally team in the race stages, that often span over the hundreds of kilometres on punishing off-road terrain. 

What this all means then is that this limited-run MINI with its incredibly long name is still be quite a capable off-roading machine. The engine may still be the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that is good for 189 hp and 281 Nm of torque, but these upgrades here have increased this limited run Countryman’s ride height by 40 mm over the standard trim. Likewise fording depths and ramp angles have also been improved thanks to the modifications detailed above. 

So for those who always fantasied about owning a part of MINI’s rallying heritage, or just dreamed about taking their maxi MINI off-road, this could be the car for you. 

PRESS RELEASE: The MINI Countryman arouses the desire for adventure. The biggest model of the British premium brand has been designed with five doors and an interior compartment that can be used in a variety of different ways. This automobile is a true all-round talent and not simply in everyday traffic. Its robust vehicle concept, powerful engines and the optional ALL4 all-wheel drive ensure limitless driving fun even away from paved carriageways. And that’s not all. As a support vehicle in the entourage of the X-raid Team – currently the incumbent overall winner of the Dakar Rally – the MINI Countryman has already put in an impressive performance under extreme conditions a number of times, displaying dynamic performance and versatility. MINI fans are now also able to benefit from the experience of the successful offroad specialists. Chassis modifications derived directly from rally sport transform the five-door series vehicle into a MINI Countryman Powered by X-raid.

A significant increase in ground clearance, particularly resilient wheel rims and tyres with higher flanks are prominent features of the upgrade for driving on challenging terrain that is now offered by the X-raid Team in Trebur, Hesse. These features were specially developed for the MINI Countryman and for outings on offroad terrain.

MINI, the X-raid Team and the Dakar Rally – for a decade, this triad has represented exceptional success in motor sport. From 2012 to 2015, the X-raid Team achieved overall victory for MINI four times in succession in the editions of the classic rally held in South America. An additional overall success followed in 2020. This time the marathon rally covered thousands of kilometres through the sands of Saudi Arabia. The MINI Countryman Powered by X-raid is a truly authentic vehicle, epitomising not simply the flair of five victories in the Dakar Rally but also the technology that contributed to these triumphs.

The X-raid Team is familiar both with the features of the MINI Countryman that are specific to the model and with the tough conditions besetting competitors and materials alike in endurance rallies played out on desert sand, rough terrain, mud and stony ground. The team’s know-how flows not only into the development and creation of winners in the Dakar Rally like the MINI ALL4 Racing and the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy but also into continuously optimised preparation of the service vehicles. This involved extensive modifications to the chassis and bodywork to make the MINI Countryman a particularly reliable support vehicle over race stages often extending along hundreds of kilometres.

Increased ground clearance and measures to avoid flat tyres enabled the service vehicles of the X-raid Team to travel without mishap along tracks mined with potholes and strewn with sharp-edged rocks that are typical of the Andean highlands between Argentina and Chile, and on the rough terrain of the Saudi Arabian desert. Naturally, this means that the MINI Countryman Powered by X-raid is now well equipped for individual challenges on offroad terrain. Increasing the ride height of the vehicle and the large format for wheel rims and tyres raise the ground clearance for the MINI Countryman overall by up to 40 millimetres. As a result, the fording depth and the ramp angle are significantly optimised.

The wheels developed specially for rallying provide effective protection against tyre damage. A robust rim ring ensures that it is not necessary to change the entire wheel if damage is sustained on rocky ground. It also creates a powerful visual impact and masks the high tyre flanks.

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About the Author

Automotive journalist. Professional work on dsf.my and automacha.com. Personal writing found at driveeveryday.me. Instagram: @driveeveryday



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