According to Autocar MINI is planning on adding a model to the Countryman range more focused on off-road cabilities. While this will primarily focus on aesthetics, Autocar believes this will also include a raised ride height and functional skid plates front and rear. Visual additions could include the accessory driving lights, a more aggressive wheel/tire package and modified front and rear bumper designs.
Product planners in the US in particular have been clamoring for a off-road version since the first generation of the Countryman. Several we spoke to recently referenced the recent Clubman Scrambler concept as a blueprint for what’s possible.
What this rugged version of the Countryman will be called remains to be seen. While MINI doesn’t have a history of off-road vehicles (the Moke was more of a beach-comber) Alec Issigonis did experiment with a Mini-related off-roader called the Austin Ant. Other than that MINI has plenty of rally racing history and one could easily make a connection to the recent Dakar winning Countryman run by the X-Raid team.
When and how much? We’d expect something like this to be at least 18 months away given the JCW Countryman is scheduled to launch a year from now. Costs are obviously unknown but one can expect this to comment at least JCW money given the modifications.