Top Gear drives the Dakar-winning Mini
Before it conquered South America, we took the 311bhp X-Raid Mini Countryman for a shakedown
Posted: 26 Feb 2014
I appear to be piloting a Chieftain tank. The piercing turbo whistle blended with unsilenced diesel is a sound straight from the battlefield. And I'm off to do war with the North African desert. I am Field Marshal Montgomery. In Nomex.
I find myself saluting our desert guardians from my lofty perch. I'm away before they can reach for anything more threatening than a quizzical look, gunning the diesel, nose rearing up, out onto the only tarmac road in these parts. The steering, I quickly realise, has all the accuracy of a Kalashnikov (sorry, must stop the military theme), at least on tarmac. The engine's strong, but the car itself feels heavy, so the performance is Cayenne-esque, 0-62mph in under six, I reckon. Just use a short sprint of torque in each gear, and then you get to tug the mighty white-topped lever. Just tug 'n' bash it about, like a proper rally driver. Ace.