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Mini Thinks Dakar 2019 Is Payback Time

Mini Thinks Dakar 2019 Is Payback Time

The X-Raid Mini team has last won the Dakar Rally in 2015 before Peugeot took over

The factory-backed Mini X-Raid team returns to the Dakar rally with both the Mini All4 Racing model loosely based on the Countryman and the two-wheel-drive Transformers-esque Mini John Cooper Works Buggy. Their aim? To win. The main hurdle? Japanese manufacturer Toyota and its Hilux trucks.

Believe it or not, Mini has made quite a name for itself in the world of rally raid in the past few years. The X-Raid team that manages the BMW-funded program has won the event four years in a row between 2012 and 2015 before Peugeot’s breakthrough win in 2016 followed by a Toyota success in 2017 and a return to form for Peugeot last year.

Now, Mini’s assault will be massive with a total of five all-wheel-drive Minis as well as three two-wheel-drive Mini buggies all aiming for that coveted first spot in the overall classification. They’ve surely got the driving talent needed to win this bigger-than-life event with Carlos Sainz, Stephane Peterhansel and Cyril Despres all aboard, but can they dodge all the curveballs that the rally throws at its competitors? The rally starts in merely two days, and it’s crunch time!

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Wallpaper of the Day: 2017 Mini Countryman

Wallpaper of the Day: 2017 Mini Countryman

Significantly larger than its predecessor, the new Countryman boasts a new exterior and a revamped interior with modern features and new technology. Although Mini claims that the new crossover "remains firmly rooted in the tradition of the British brand," the modern-day Countryman has very little in common with the original two-door estate from the 1960s.

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2018 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works

2018 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works

Mini has finally started testing the 2018 Countryman JCW

The Mini Countryman was added to the Mini family back in 2010, and it was refreshed for the 2015 model year. Since then, we’ve seen spy shots of the next generation Countryman testing, with the most recent shots coming back in January of 2016. Now, we’ve got some more spy shots, but this time, they are shots of the next-generation Mini Countryman John Cooper Works. This comes as no surprise, as the next-gen Countryman is reportedly due to hit showrooms in the second half of this year, and the JCW version is sure to follow shortly after that.

As far as information goes, we have very little concerning the Countryman JCW, but the spy shots at least give us an idea of how the JCW variant will differ from the base model. Of course, the JCW models never really vary that much, but there is at least some difference to talk about. The model will, of course, get all of the new design and styling from the soon-to-be-released base model, but it will sport a few differences of its own.

With the base model Countryman debuting soon, this thing will likely hit dealerships by the end of the year. So, with that said, let’s take a closer look at these spy shots and see if we can make out anything significant on the Countryman JCW.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works.

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Mini Gears Up For The Dakar Rally: Video

Mini Gears Up For The Dakar Rally: Video

For those of us residing in the northern hemisphere, January kicks off the gradual countdown to spring – that long thaw to lengthier days and warmer temperatures. But that means summer is already in full swing south of the equator, which provides the right sort of climate for one of the most ruthless long-distance races on the planet – the Dakar Rally. Spanning well over 5,500 miles of brutal, car-killing, spine-shattering terrain, the Dakar is a challenge unlike any other, but for four years running, Mini has walked away with top honors. This year, the marque looks to add a fifth notch to its belt, as evidenced by this desert shakedown video.

Hit play, and one thing will become abundantly obvious – this is no ordinary Mini. The composite body panels are fashioned after the showroom model, but that’s where the similarities end. Underneath, the beastly machine you see here is actually a tube-frame chassis stuffed with a torque-monster diesel engine, ultra-heavy-duty suspension components, and copious underbody skid protection.

Of course, that’s to be expected, considering what the Mini is up against. Sharp gravel, high heat, treacherous mountain passes, hidden boulders – it’s all in a day’s work when racing the Dakar.

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Raphael Orlove Drives Dakar-Winning Mini In The Desert: Video

Raphael Orlove Drives Dakar-Winning Mini In The Desert: Video

For the uninitiated, here’s a bit of background info: the Dakar rally raid is quite simply one of the most punishing race events in the world. It’s an ultra-long off-road event that sees pros and amateurs alike blasting across over 5,000 miles of some of the roughest terrain Mother Nature can muster. Vehicle classes encompass cars, ATVs, bikes, and enormous heavy-duty trucks. To even finish is considered a gigantic accomplishment, but the Mini ALL4 Racing team has taken gold in the car category four years running. “Capable” doesn’t even come close to describing the abilities of this world eater, but that didn’t stop Jalopnik’s Raphael Orlove from getting it stuck in the middle of the UAE desert.

Of course, I mean no offense towards our comrades in gasoline, but still, it is a bit humorous, which is a point not lost in the video: “BMW gave me every preparation to drive this thing,” Orlove says. “They flew me out to Dubai, they built the simplest, easiest Dakar winner in modern history, they gave me as much instruction as possible, and access to some of the best engineers and drivers in the world. But look, sometimes you’re shifting down from flat-out in fifth gear on the desert floor into the dunes, and you crest a rise, and you go to downshift, and you pull for fourth gear instead of push for second. So the engine bogged and the wheels sunk and we were stuck.”

No worries, Orlove, it happens to the best of us. Next time, though, make sure to bring an extra water bottle. You know, just in case.

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2014 Mini Paceman GoalCooper

2014 Mini Paceman GoalCooper

With a little more than two months left until the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off in Brazil, the folks over at Mini are gearing up for the big sporting event — or should we say April Fools’ Day? — with the Paceman GoalCooper special edition.

Based on the John Cooper Works Paceman, the GoalCooper pays tribute to Brazil’s national soccer team by wearing a body wrap that combines the green, blue and yellow colors adorning the aforementioned country’s flag.

Inside, the football (err, soccer)-related theme continues with Astro Turf floor mats in a color the company calls Brasileiro Green, a similar mat to cover the entire cargo space when the rear seats are folded and a miniature table football set mounted on the center rail.

Additionally, a "floodlight" LED interior lighting package, a net attached behind the front seats and universal holder for smartphones give the GoalCooper "a stadium like feel" that fervent soccer fans are likely to enjoy.

Click past the jump to read more about the Mini Paceman GoalCooper.

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2013 Mini Paceman

2013 Mini Paceman

At the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, Mini unveiled the Paceman Concept and soon thereafter, rumors began that the company was preparing the production version. Now those rumors can be laid to rest as Mini has unveiled the production version Paceman, just a few weeks before its official debut at the 2012 Paris Auto Show.

The new Paceman is the seventh model in the brand family and is also the world’s first Sports Activity Coupe in the premium small and compact vehicle segment. It is a two-door version of the Countryman and will be offered with the same technology and engines as its five-door brother.

This means that customers will have to choose between two petrol and two diesel engines, with power ranging from 112 HP to 184 HP. These engines will be combined with a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic as an option. Mini has also announced that a John Cooper Works is in the works.

UPDATE 09/14/2012: This review has been updated with the official details and images of the new Mini Paceman.

UPDATE 11/28/12: MINI has officially released pricing details for the Paceman. Check out how much a model’s going to cost after the jump

Hit the jump to read more about the 2013 Mini Paceman.

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Here It Is: The 2013 Mini Paceman!

Here It Is: The 2013 Mini Paceman!

Mini’s one formula, multiple cars gig got another rendition added when the company unveiled the Mini Paceman Concept at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show. Concept cars usually can’t be counted on to make it to production every time, but Mini already knows the sales are in the bag considering their success with the original Countryman. The production version is scheduled to be unveiled at the 2012 Paris Auto Show at the end of this month, but the secret has been turned out a little early thanks to the first leaked images of the 2013 Paceman.

As these spy shots reveal, the design language of the production version Paceman will remain faithful to the concept car unveiled in 2011, leaving little need for these leaked images. The new Paceman is the two-door version of the Countryman, so it will borrow all of the tech features from it. This will also include the engine line-up, meaning that the 2013 Paceman will offer a choice of a 122 HP 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine for the standard model and a turbocharged variant with 184 HP for the S version.

Full details on the 2013 Paceman will be unveiled next week, so stay tuned!

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Next-Gen X1 Will Go Front-Wheel Drive and Share Mini Driveline Components

While we are all anxiously awaiting the debut of the X1 in the U.S., which is set to happen this fall, BMW is hard at work piecing together the next-generation model. According to Autocar, this work involves figuring out how to fit Mini Countryman drivetrain components under the next-gen X1. This combination of the Mini and BMW lineup is expected to help reduce production costs and hopefully reduce its cost to the buyer.

In addition to sharing underpinnings with the Mini Countryman, the next-generation X1, which is expected to debut in 2015, will come standard with front-wheel drive, as opposed to the standard rear-wheel drive that the 2013 X1 will bear. It will, however, retain its optional all-wheel drive. This new chassis, dubbed the Unter Klasse (UKL), will also eliminate the possibility of a 6-cylinder option for the next-gen X1, as BMW has no plans to transversely mount a 6-pot in any of its cars.

In reality, there are chances of the X1 getting an even smaller engine, as BMW is supposedly considering dropping the petite 1.5-liter 3-cylinder engine in the 2015 X1. This all comes as a huge surprise to us, as the X1 is just now making its way to the States, and BMW is already planning on pretty much scrapping the entire thing. Plus, to start throwing Countryman parts onto this crossover SUV is just going to make it that much more irrelevant to buyers that may need to haul anything more than the kids and luggage around.

We guess we’ll just have to wait and see exactly how BMW plans to set this whole system up, as one of the key components to a crossover SUV is its ability to haul light cargo. The Countryman’s 860-pound max payload capacity doesn’t quite fit the bill. We’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available.

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Spy Shots: 2014 Mini Countryman Coupe caught testing for the first time

Mini has a knack for developing vehicles that are as appealing to the market as donuts are to our boys in blue. This is evident in the fact that all of their models have been well-received by all, production as well as concept versions. Now, the company is adding another ace in the hole with a production version of the Paceman Concept unveiled at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show. The model will be sold as a coupe version of the Countryman and has just been caught testing for the first time. The new Countryman Coupe will be making its world debut at the 2012 Paris Auto Show and will be sold on the US market as a 2014 model.

The Countryman Coupe will feature the same technologies and engines as the standard Countryman, which means it will get a 122 HP 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine for the standard model and a turbocharged variant with 184 HP for the S version. Customers will be able to choose between both a six-speed manual or an automatic transmission. We just hope that Mini will also bring out a JCW Countryman Coupe.

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Mini's future MK3 lineup gets more powerful engines and a 'Traveller'

Mini’s future MK3 lineup gets more powerful engines and a ’Traveller’

After being refreshed back in 2010, the new generation Mini is preparing to be released on the market in 2013. This new generation will consist of 10 individual models, including Mini’s take on a revised Clubman and an MPV variation being called the "Traveller."

Mini’s MK3 family, codenamed F56, will be built on a brand-new BMW-engineered platform called the UKL1. This new platform will come in two wheelbase lengths and will adopt three-door and five-door hatches, a super-compact SUV, and a tall 5-series GT-style car.

Most of the new models will be powered by a new range of advanced BMW three-cylinder engines that will replace the current four-cylinder engines, but will be much more fuel efficient. These new engines are said to deliver between 120 HP to 160 HP, but there are rumors suggesting the new Mini family, especially the John Cooper Works models, will also use BMW’s new 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine with an output of 230 HP. The new UKL1 platform is also suitable for at least one type of hybrid drivetrain so expect to see this in the next Mini family.

The new Mini family will make its official debut by the end of 2012 and will go on sale in 2013.

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Mini Countryman Has A Price

Mini Countryman Has A Price

We finally have a price for the 2011 Mini Countryman; $22,350. Mini USA headman Jim McDowell just announced that figure at the North American launch in Austin Texas.

We have had a chance to see the Mini Countryman up close and it looks better than some might think. This vehicle will split opinions so not everybody is going to like it, but we think it’s the perfect utility Mini.

A Mini Countryman with some good options on it will run you around $30,000, that’s more than the Nissan Juke, Nissan Rogue and the Volkswagen Tiguan. On the road, the Countryman will be able to manage 35 miles per gallon with a manual transmission on the Cooper model, 32 mpg for the Cooper S, and 31 mpg for the All4 Cooper S Countryman.

Buyers needing extra space, but still wanting to carry a Mini badge should love this thing. However, diehard Mini lovers might find it to be sacrilegious. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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