• Aug 19th 2009 at 2:40PM
  • 7

MINI Crossover concept - Click above for hi-res image gallery

The original Mini Cooper earned its performance credentials back in the 1960s being flung about on the Monte Carlo rally. Paddy Hopkirk won the Monte in 1964 at the wheel of a Cooper S. While modern Minis are still considered fun to drive cars, they have never been used in a major factory-backed motorsports program. In a move that could rectify that shortcoming, AutoCar is reporting that the company's new crossover could form the basis of a World Rally Championship program in 2011. The all-wheel drive crossover first appeared as a concept vehicle last year in Paris and is expected to debut in production form next month in Frankfurt.

The new model possibly called "Countryman" is expected to get a high performance John Cooper Works edition sometime next year which could form the base of a rally car. The demise of parent BMW's Formula 1 program and the restructuring of Formula BMW could certainly make room in the budget for something with closer ties to a production program.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      From a legacy perspective the idea of Mini returning to rallying seems cool, but the "Countryman" seems too tall for it.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Agreed, use the normal Cooper
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think that this is a fantastic idea.

      We enthusiasts have been a little bit down on the variants of the Mini - particularly the Clubman - that BMW has put out.

      The Countryman seemed a bridge too far, a cynical marketing gimmick, a way to spread development costs for this platform across several lines of cars.

      Until now. If they're going to take it rallying, that will lend an air of legitimacy to it, at least to this enthusiast. It'll have a purpose other than posing. Particularly if it doesn't embarrass itself at WRC. I say bring it on!
      • 6 Years Ago
      And to make matters worse it will probably come to market with an outrageously high list price of $30,000 (starting). Oy!
      • 6 Years Ago
      that is literally the most horrible thing i have even seen on wheels. please, please give me an aztec, or some kind of horrible corvette-camino hack job before this turd.

      the mini was a one-car trick. get over it BMW.
      • 6 Years Ago
      i'm turning into a metrosexual just by looking at this.