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
This is a surprise. I'd assumed comfort and stability would be the order of the day for a car - and occupants - tasked with tackling stages several hundred miles long, but this thing appears to be spooked by every rock and furrow. It jitters and slides, I can't hold the sensitive throttle steady, and it has a rear end so waggly and mobile you could pop it in a bikini and call it bootylicious. It never stays still. In fact, it's not often in contact with the ground, kicking into the air like a mule.
"It gets better the faster you go," Filipe informs me. He looks calm, so I press on, believing I'm getting more of a feel for this. "In testing, we come through here at 180kmh", Filipe informs me. I chance a glance. 110kmh. Going in pursuit of the missing 70kmh would not be sensible. Particularly given what happens next.