Prodrive-tweaked hot Mini Countryman in the pipeline
Prodrive, the outfit that prepares the Mini Countryman for the WRC, is working on a tuned road-going version of the big Mini.
The Countryman might not be your first thought of cars to modify for the road, never mind the car-wrecking stages of the WRC, but Prodrive has more than a little experience in modifying motors.
The Banbury-based tuning outfit was the brains and brawn behind the WRC Subaru successes of the likes of Colin McRae, Richard Burn and Petter Solberg and now campaigning the Countryman, Prodrive is again turning its attention to the road.
Reports suggest that the tweaked Mini starts life as a standard four-wheel drive Countryman S before Prodrive chuck a bulging body kit – complete with carbon fibre wing – and some snazzy alloys at the exterior.
Inside there's little change, but under the bonnet there's a new Superchips-tuned version of the peppy 1.6-litre turbocharged four pot that shares it's architecture with the WRC car, and a Prodrive-branded Miltek exhaust system, so it should definitely sound the part.
It's thought the new engine is pumping out around 230bhp but that a new larger turbo is in the pipeline to give a good bit more go.
As the standard Countryman S ALL4 tips the scales at a rather lardy 1455kg, we're sure it'll need a bit more muscle to make it move like a proper Prodrive product should.
Unashamedly too, the marketing men will latch on to Mini's Monte Carlo giant-killing rally exploits with Paddy Hopkirk in the '60s.
According to Prodrive boss and team principal Dave Richards: "Mini has the Cooper and John Cooper Works brands and it will want to work out ways of harnessing this campaign and its rally heritage through its road cars."
A bit more power would do the trick we reckon, Dave.