The new rally car has been built with experience gathered from rallying the earlier Mini All4 Racing, and it's based on the Countryman. Key areas reworked were the aerodynamics and the weight distribution to enable a lower center of gravity.
As X-raid (Mini's motorsports partner) CEO Sven Quandt puts it: "The center of gravity has gone down substantially – we placed about 50 kilos [110 pounds] downwards by some 50 centimeters [19.7 inches] in the center of the car, which helps the handling and makes the car much more comfortable over all types of terrain, and aids the handling on a rally track with lots of corners." There is a new chassis frame, and the powertrain benefits from an updated engine mapping and thermal management. The interior has also been redone.
Speaking of the powertrain, the Cooper Works Rally runs a 3.0-liter straight six from BMW's turbodiesel portfolio. In this guise, the TwinPower unit produces 340 horsepower at 3,250 rpm and a very respectable 590 lb ft of torque from 1,850 rpm. The retained ALL4 four-wheel-drive system has a six-speed SADEV sequential gearbox, together with lockable, oil-cooled Xtrac diffs with a central SADEV unit. The 2017 Dakar Rally runs from January 2-14.