Next MINI to Use Future BMW 3 Cylinder & 4 Cylinder Engines

As we reported a few weeks back BMW has determined that the way forward with the MINI brand isn’t through partnerships with outside companies (Fiat was rumored for quite some time) but through internal component sharing with the next generation BMW 1 Series.

Through our work at BimmerFile we know that the next generation 1 will be designed on a very flexible chasis that should accommodate this. However it’s the next generation BMW engines that really tell an interesting story. According to our sources at BimmerFile, BMW will be introducing a new range of small and effecient four and three cylinder engines for both the 1 and 3 series. Now our sources are telling us that the smallest of these powerplants will find their way into the next generation MINI.

However the story isn’t just about efficiency. It’s true that the 3 cylinder powerplants will be developed using BMW’s Motorrad division (the part of the company responsible for BMW motorcycles) but several of these new engines will also come with eye opening power and torque outputs thanks to advanced turbocharging technology. Through our sources at BimmerFile we’ve confirmed that the list published in Auto Motor und Sport is legit. We’ve bolded what we believe may make it into the Next Generation MINI.

  • 1.35 liters I3, 122 hp/190Nm (140 ft lbs)
  • 1.35 liters I3, 150 hp/220Nm (162 ft lbs)
  • – 1.35 liters I3, 180 hp/260Nm (192 ft lbs)
  • 1.80 liters I4, 204 hp/300Nm (221 ft lbs)
  • 1.80 liters I4, 240 hp/350Nm (258 ft lbs)

Does this mean that future Cooper and Cooper S models will be three cylinders? It’s too early to tell how MINI will market these engines but they’d be fools not to use them in some capacity with increasing fuel prices and more stringent environmental regulations becoming a reality in the coming years throughout the world.

Not seen here are BMW (and MINI’s) next generation diesel options. With news that MINI will be transitioning over to the incredible 2.0L BMW diesel powerplant (found in 123d) later this year, we should expect a range of BMW diesels to be heading to MINI. Also not seen here is an ultra efficient petrol powerplant below the 100 hp level. We wouldn’t be surprised to see something along those lines pop-up in conjunction with BMW’s Megacity project (which, as a side note, sources have confirmed to us won’t be marketed as a MINI – at least in the US).

All this means that MINI will be expanding the engine line-up and offering up some pretty impressive efficiency and performance figures in the next generation car.

  • Ron

    But when will we see these in the states? I’m sure a lot of people would love to get their hands on a MINI One, a diesel Cooper, or a 4-cylinder or diesel 1-series. Just start shipping them over.

  • JonPD

    Logical move for BMW/MINI. Although gas prices right now are fairly cheap I am sure nobody lives in the illusion that they will do anything but raise over the years due to increasing profit ratios and taxes.

    I still believe that if BMW/MINI where truly honest about wanting to increase mileage and performance on their cars one thing that really needs to happen to all manufactures is a serious diet. Give me a option at a segment leading performance car with much less weight and a more efficient engine and I would purchase one without hesitation.

    Still seems rather funny though that while BMW is honestly pursuing more efficient cars all they seem capable of turning out lately are SUV’s.

  • DCMotoring

    I’m liking the sound of that 1.8L I-4 with 204hp! Either that or I really hope we’ll get the 2.0L diesel here in the U.S.

  • recently going from R52 to R55, I think the gain in efficiency (somewhat at the cost of performance and mostly character) has been good enough to justify a redo. But what I do not understand is why MINI does not try to move its models on like the New Beetle – they have been milking that current design for what must be ten years or more now and throughout this period made notable changes to the body and engines, etc.

    I just think 5/6 years car replacement is a little to quick for me – I already feel my new Clubby is going to look old in a years time

  • JeffH

    Wow, that’s impressive power for a 3. I would like to know what the estimated MPG is on these engines. Also, how about vibration issues on a 3 compared to a 4. Regardless, a 3 cylinder engine would be a tough sell in the US, without astronomical MPG. People will recall past “winners” like the Geo Metro.

  • Mk1

    I just wish they would settle on a “good” engine design/platform, and stick with it for a while. Instead they keep changing partners and engine designs before they recoup their costs which keeps pushing up their costs, and our price. Going to redesign themselves right out of the marketplace.

  • MK1, this new move a was necessary reaction to increasing CAFE standards. As of last summer, BMW was openly saying that they wouldn’t be able to meet the fleet average requirement of 27.3mpg (that’s across MINI, BMW and Rolls Royce combined), 30.2 for cars, and 24.1 for trucks. Now that they have to get it done by 2011, they’re scrambling to get new fuel efficient, low CO2 engines out or face major penalties.

  • glangford

    1.35L sounds kind of large for a 3 cylinder, so will this cause engine vibration problems? The metro was 1.0 L.

    Also it sounded like all these variants were turbocharged. I personally like my 1.6L normally aspirated Prince engine, and would prefer normally aspirated engine variants from a life and reliabiity standpoint.

    The 1.6L normally aspirated prince engine is about the most efficient non-hybrid engine on the market, why change?

  • bee1000

    A: 1.35 liters I3, 122 hp = 90 hp/l B: 1.35 liters I3, 150 hp = 111 hp/l C: 1.35 liters I3, 180 hp = 133 hp/l D: 1.80 liters I4, 204 hp = 113 hp/l E: 1.80 liters I4, 240 hp = 133 hp/l

    Engines B and C look to be engines D and E, respectively, minus one cylinder.


    hmm, a 150hp 3 cylinder turbo in a MINI that is smaller than the R53 and weighing about 900kg would be brilliant.

    I hope that after the R60 is released MINI shocks us all by releasing a smaller version of the coupe using one of these engines

  • right. nobody is talking about vibrations in these 3-cylinder engines. and 3 cylinders are quite a tricky configuration. i guess they would use a balance shaft or something of that sort? that’s some extra weight to begin with, and smoothness compromised at least a bit….

    as someone has already suggested, it seems like 3- and 4-cylinder engines are very related, so we may see a curious design where outer cylinders are like inline two and the middle one is “hanging out” at 180 degree offset?….so, basically like a straight 4 with the 4th cylinder sawn off. some older bike engines used to be like that, and as it was mentioned motorrad division will participate, it maybe makes sense (even though motorrad made its reputation using boxers)….

  • Michael

    I’ll bet a 3 cyclinder will be very rough.

    Why doesn’t MINI just bring out good 4-bangers – Diesel or gas and just be done with it.

  • Timothy

    You know, MINI could get rid of the (now fake) hoodscoop to improve fuel economy.

  • Skeptic

    Introducing a BMW line under the MINI while increasing the BMW lineup as a whole gives me the impression the MINI brand will be phased out eventually. Why compete with yourself when the MINI was originally branded to get young buyers into BMW showrooms in the first place? As cycles go, everyone knows the MINI is made by BMW now so it seems a very logical and efficient move.

  • Chris B.

    Again, sounds nice for the rest of the world but is this something those of us living stateside can look forward to? If it’s not well, “yipee”. And I meant that in the most unexcited sense.

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