Sixties Mini Cooper vs Col de Turini
The Cooper is 50. Can the old-timer teach the Countryman a lesson on the rally that made it famous?
Posted: 25 Feb 2011
The ballsy, plucky Britishness of the Cooper becomes yet more poignant as I switch into the decidedly Germanic Countryman. With permanent 4WD that can push all the power to the axle that needs it, this should be the most snow-proof Mini ever. In the course of one stuttering, flailing corner, it becomes very apparent that it isn't. The tyres are the problem. The Countryman is fitted with summer tyres - entirely our fault for borrowing the car from Mini at too short notice to fit winter rubber - with narrow grooves that jam full of snow, leaving the Countryman effectively on slicks, without traction, stability systems stuttering like King George VI. The centre clutch desperately shoves power back and forth in search of grip, but there's none to be had. Taking your Mini Countryman out in the snow? Fit winter tyres.