Mini takes the new Countryman through Scotland’s Lawers and lochs
The third-generation Countryman is rumored to debut this year, and Mini has been busy sorting all of its bits and pieces to ensure it is up to snuff when it launches in late 2023. Its most recent romp was at the Scottish Highlands – from the town of Stirling, through Munros, and then to Loch Fyne – with gorgeous views and vast landscapes.
Winding roads are a good test of a vehicle’s balance and driving dynamics, and there was no shortage of it from the start of the testing through the dense forests of the Munros. Roads like these always pose a challenge, which is why it was important for the Mini team to pack enough gear. With a trunk like the Countryman’s, cargo space was not a problem.
There is a chase scene in “James Bond: Skyfall” along the banks of the River Etive. This was stage two of the test drive, and here is where engineers confirmed the grip and traction of the new Countryman’s intelligent All4 four-wheel-drive system and its off-road tires.
The finisher of the 153-kilometer route was the highway to Loch Fyne, which had waterfall views and tested the powertrain that will supposedly use a gas-electric engine that makes up to 322 horsepower. Mini confirms that there will still be a variant with an internal combustion engine and an all-electric version.
Since 2011, the Countryman has been winning global rally tournaments – on land and ice. Most notably, five wins in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, four consecutive Dakar Rally wins, and two Andros Trophy ice racing championships. So, it is no surprise that it easily tore through the Scottish Highlands. Maybe they should call this one the Mini ‘Highlander.’