The 2017 Mini Countryman has been revealed, but we understand a more rugged variant with a raised ride height and skid plates is in development
28 October 2016

Although the new Mini Countryman majors on premium feel and urban sophistication, Autocar understands a more rugged and off-road-capable spin-off version of the new Mini is under development.

Sources say it will feature a raised ride height and skid plates front and rear. Other tweaks could include bigger driving lights, new wheels and modified front and rear bumper designs.

The Countryman is based on the same UKL2 platform as the BMW 2 Series and new BMW X1. Some time ago, Autocar drove an all-wheel-drive version of the Countryman’s 2 Series sister car at BMW’s test track in southern France, where it proved surprisingly adept.

The platform’s inherent stiffness clearly contributed, but much of the car’s ability on the off-road course was down to carefully managed electronic control of the brakes and how the power was put down, plus impressive cross-axle torque distribution.

Although the more rugged Countryman is not going to have the wheel travel needed for hardcore off-road driving, evidence from driving the prototype 2 Series suggests that it will be able to handle surprisingly tough tracks, especially if the conditions are not waterlogged. The Mini’s shorter overhangs provide another distinct advantage in off-road use.

Although the original Mini didn’t spawn a production off-roader (Mini creator Alec Issigonis did experiment with the tiny Mini-related Austin Ant 4x4 prototype), the iconic Mini Cooper rally cars and the modern Mini Dakar off-road racer would give authentic backing to the proposed rugged Mk2 Countryman.

Our Verdict

Mini Countryman

The Mini Countryman represents the biggest stretch yet for Mini – for the car and the brand

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    23 March 2018
    Fully-loaded, big-hitting diesel CLS shows the potential perils of ticking too many options boxes on your order form. A good car with a bad suspension combination.
  • BMW M5
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    Super saloon deploys four-wheel drive to improve every facet of its driving experience. Faster and more capable than any, and more exciting than most, of its celebrated predecessors
  • Range Rover Sport SVR
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    More power and an intoxicating soundtrack have breathed new life into our love affair with the biggest, baddest Range Rover Sport variant
  • First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new Vantage has been developed as a Porsche 911 beater, and our first taste on UK roads suggests it can live up to that bold claim
  • Nissan Leaf Tekna
    The is the new Nissan Leaf
    First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new version of the world's best-selling electric car gains a bigger battery and more power. How does it compare to rivals such as the Volkswagen e-Golf?