Make no mistake: Mini is the force to be reckoned with in the Dakar Rally. Former champion Nasser Al-Attiyah has just taken his second win in the famously grueling trans-continental rally, making it four in a row for BMW's premium small-car brand.
Mini is continuing to update its models onto its latest UKL front-wheel-drive platform that it shares with parent BMW. Here, our spies caught an early glimpse of the next-gen Countryman testing on the new chassis.
While there are those who watch automotive exploits hoping (secretly or otherwise) for a spectacular crash, most of us are happy when everything goes smoothly. But at the end of the day, a daring stunt wouldn't be a daring stunt if there weren't some element of danger. And make no mistake about it, Guerlain Chicherit's recent long-jump record attempt was a daring stunt if ever there was one.
When Mini introduced the Countryman in 2010, it emerged as the brand's first crossover, its first five-door model and its first to offer all-wheel drive. It also arrived mid-lifecycle in the last generation of Mini Cooper hatchback, with which it shares little more than a passing family resemblance. Now that the Anglo-Saxon automaker is moving on to its third generation of retro hatch, it's given the Countryman a bit of a refresh to keep it current.
Turn A Cool Little CUV Into A Mess For Just $7,000
The standard Mini Countryman is a bit of an odd duck against the backdrop of 'normal' small crossovers like the Mazda CX-5 and the Ford Escape, but I sort of get it. Apply the same winning Mini formula to a CUV, and you get a smaller-than-average entry in the segment, one that is far more entertaining to drive than the norm, more stylish inside and out and pretty expensive when cross-shopped. That list of qualities doesn't appeal to all crossover shoppers, sure, but it intrigues a big enough lis
Mini has introduced three generations of retro hatchback since its revival in 2001, with numerous bodystyles spun off that core model. But the Countryman has always stood apart from the rest (save the Paceman which was in turn spun off of it). The Mini crossover is bigger than the rest of the lineup, has more doors, more driven wheels and a familiar yet different look.
Does the name Guerlain Chicherit ring any bells? It definitely should if you're into competitive skiing, as he was crowned world champion in off-trail freeriding four times. But he's also a rally driver, winning the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup in 2009 and even a stage of the Dakar Rally the following year. What really set him apart, though, was when he back-flipped a Mini Countryman rally car to set a world record last year. And now he's after another.
Contrary to popular belief, it seems that Mini's growth plans do have a limit both in size and number of models. During the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, it unveiled the six-door Clubman concept (pictured above) that was 4.4-inches longer and about two-inches wider than even the current Countryman crossover. Mini design chief Anders Warming says that this is the new size limit for its models, and the BMW subsidiary isn't building a larger, seven-passenger vehicle above the current Countryman.
With Jay Leno off the Tonight Show, he has all the time in the world to focus on his passion for cars and can even travel a little. Leno teamed up with two-time Dakar Rally winner Nani Roma to jump and slide a Mini Countryman All4 racing truck around the dunes in Death Valley, CA.
We recently reported that the new family of Minis could balloon from eight models to ten or more, but it's not only the model line that's expected to grow: so too could the largest model itself. That, of course, would be the Countryman, which is already bigger than anything else ever to wear the Mini badge. But if you think the current Countryman is already big enough, the latest reports suggest that it could get even bigger. Apparently parent company BMW feels a larger Mini crossover would bett
With the next-gen Mini Cooper hardtop set for its big debut next week at the LA Auto Show, we're getting a good look at what will be coming next for the BMW brand. Mini will follow up the introduction of the Mini Cooper with the new convertible model, but our spy shooters have proof that a plus-sized model (rumored to be called Traveller or Spacebox) is coming along quite well.
BMW has been offering Frozen editions of its cars for several years now highlighted by matte paint and very limited production, and now Mini is getting in on the game with Frozen Black versions of the Paceman and Countryman. Unlike our report from earlier in the week, these models will not wear the Batman-sounding Black Knight name, but instead, like the BMW models, will be dubbed Frozen Edition. That previous intel also had it that production of the Frozen Edition Minis would be limited to just
Mini is certainly no stranger to a special edition, as unique option and styling packs have been a staple of the Mini line since its return to the US market, but it's next special trim is quite a big departure from previous cars. It's based on the Countryman, and is called the Black Knight Edition.
When Mini first introduced the Countryman, it only came as a four-seater, with a center rail between the two seats that could house things like cup holders and could be slid back and forth. Buyers could even opt for a full-length center rail that ran from just aft of the gear shifter all the way back between the rear seats, like we did in our long-term 2011 Cooper S Countryman All4, shown above.