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
We yomp through some dunes, get lost in our own sandstorm, tow a cloud of dust that's still hanging there when we turn round and head back a few minutes later, and, across it all, it feels like you could point the Mini at any point of the compass in this barren brown emptiness, and get there by the shortest route possible. It feels unburstable. I, on the other hand, am the weakest link.
When I get back, I think through sheer relief, Stéphane volunteers to take me out. I won't bother describing the pain, but he manages in 20 minutes to dish out what took me 12 hours of Baja to acquire. The car blatantly doesn't get smoother the faster you go. But it felt so much better when he drove it - it skipped across the surface like a pondskater, flew level off jumps and held a lovely neutral four-wheel drift through fast corners.