MINI USA Delays Engine Upgrade Until Fall 2010

Last month MINI announced updates to the entire MINI line-up with more power and more efficiency. We reported the details earlier this year but to recap, here are the numbers with the new engines.

  • MINI Cooper: 120 hp (up 2 hp)
  • MINI Cooper S: 179 hp (up 7 hp)

The JCW is unchanged thus far but we expect more information later this year.

All of these changes will go into effect with March production in almost every market around the world except for the US. With the mid-life cycle model refresh coming on-line with September production MINI USA has decided to delay the introduction of the updated engines to coincide with the refresh launch. With this change MINI will have a clean differentiation between the 2010 and 2011 models. So for all those on the fence about when and what to get, September production just got a lot more interesting.

For reference, here’s the full rundown on the MC and MCS engine upgrades.

The 2010 Cooper

BMW already had VALVETRONIC in the naturally aspirated Cooper so the extra power would have to be made up with other techniques. Specifically BMW has optimized the ECU and in turn the engine’s output has gone up 2 hp in total. You can read the entire specifications list below in the official PDFs.

+ MINI Cooper PDF (03/2010)

+ MINI Cooper Clubman PDF (03/2010)

+ MINI Cooper Convertible PDF (03/2010)

The 2010 Cooper S

The 2010 MCS has added a fully variable valve control known in BMW speak as VALVETRONIC. What this does is optimize the engine’s responses and enables a significant reduction in fuel consumption and emissions. It does so by adjusting the lift and opening period of the intake valves to the driver’s power requirements within fractions of a second.

All this adds up to more power but also noticeably more efficiency. Technically the 1.6L turbo is now the world’s most efficient unit in this displacement class. You can see the entire list of specifications in the official PDFs below.

+ MINI Cooper S PDF (03/2010)

+ MINI Cooper S Clubman PDF (03/2010)

+ MINI Cooper S Convertible PDF (03/2010)

  • rhawth99

    Wow, now I am glad that I didn’t wait and went ahead and purchased a Clubman from dealer stock. I was kind of waiting on March to order in anticipation of the updated engine. Kind of surprised that MINI would produce two different versions of the engine for a few months (unless they have a backload of engines due to slow sales in the US).

    As always, thanks for the updates Gabe.

  • Minipuma

    Well, that sucks.

    My guess, based on a recent conversation with a salesperson, is that the dealers are sitting on too much inventory and lobbied MINI USA not to introduce the new engines until they could reduce the inventory they already have on the lot, since once the new engines are out the old cars will be harder to move. It’s just a guess but I can’t think of any other logical reason for it. I wonder if there will even be any new MINIs delivered to the states this summer. I can’t imagine they are going to continue producing the old engines just for one market.

  • Timothy

    If you need a Cooper in the U.S., you’re already not focused on horsepower but more on efficiency. So an ECU programming change good for 2 hp just isn’t all that exciting. If you need a Cooper now, go get one, unless you value whatever else is coming in September. Today’s Cooper is just as efficient as the one coming.

    The Valvetronic upgrade to the Cooper S is more interesting, not for the horsepower gain but for the efficiency gain. That might cause some potential new S owners to hold off (if they can) and wait until the next model year.

  • RJ

    I agree with Minipuma’s argument…it very well may be that the dealers are sitting on too much inventory. Does anyone have the current data available on what is sitting in MINI dealer inventory across the US? I believe these stats are published weekly by Automotive News….

  • jpd

    I can’t give you numbers for the entire USA, but the three dealers here in the Pacific Northwest have 300 unsold cars between them, with the Seattle Dealer having well over 100. I suspect more troubling for the dealers is the length of time a vehicle remains in inventory. Since 02 I have had two MINIs a 2003 and 2007, both of these cars required over a year of waiting. Spring sales figures should give us a better handle on the future of MINI until the 2011s arrive.

  • Great news. I’ll wait until next year before I buy my second mini; unless, at that time they are giving massive discounts on the older models???? Good news. I just wish they had released the new engine in US: what are we the step child?

  • Please keep us updated on the JCW changes as soon as possible since that is the car I want!

  • mcoupe

    This sucks! The rest of the world gets the new engine but us. So our market which is the main market for all these German manufacturers gets treated as a second thought…Let the suckers buy the rest and then we will give them the new engines while the rest of the markets get it! Got to be kidding MINI! Do not care about the HP or efficiency, but on principle MINI loses me here. We are a bunch of suckers I tell you!

  • rhysargon

    all very interesting, but i am holding out that one day a mini with a diesel will be available in the states. until then i will baby my 04 cooper and if need be drive it until it craters

  • that.guy

    Really want to know that the plan is for the JCW version… Golf R will be here soon…

  • If I were revising an engine, I’d want to give it some real-world experience close to home, before shipping it across the ocean to my biggest customer.

  • Hmmm, talking to the MINI guys here in Canada, they were adamant that the new Motor would not be available until the 2011 refresh. This makes sense now, as we are always subject to what happens i nthe states. I guess the 2011 model year will be a non-stop roller-coaster of new products as we will have the refresh AND the Countryman hitting dealers… Now, is there any updated info on the Coopster and Roadster???

  • I love my jcw convertible, don’t get me wrong but I’ll wait for the engine upgrade before I get my next mini.

  • C4

    Haha. The R56 generation is as stale as it gets. Cars are piling up in dealer lots so keep your eyes peeled for incentives.

    This pales in comparison back in 2006 when MINI dealers could not keep up a stock of R50/R52/R53 MINIs right until the last ones were made.

  • r.burns

    Do we have to say new engines are pure marketing ?

    Only to have better “theorical” fuel consumption and emissions, and not consumption “in the real life”

    Absolutely no performance gains

    BMW is doing the same thing for all the BMW motors since 2 years, with no performance gains, open your eyes

  • MKH

    Almost 300 unsold new MINI’s on the two Dealer’s lots in Dallas.

  • C4

    Hey MF, why not send out a few “secret shoppers” around the country to see how many unsold MINIs are gracing the back lots of MINI dealers around the country?

  • C4- all it takes is a MA to do a complete US search to get the stale number. I am not surprised by this theory of too many cars on lots (as I have stated and been flamed a lot before). The MINI customer base is saturated- not many are in the market for an expensive small car and this is why the brand needs to expand to survive and it has little to do with the current vs. past models.

    I contemplated a Clubman S for a while for my wife; until we priced it out and the total was stupid- no thanks, for the “premium” they are trying to charge for the “premium” small cars they are selling I rather spend a bit more to get something that is actually premium.

    The other thing is that certifying the new engines for this model year may have dipped into earnings so they are just putting that off for financial reasons.

    BMW has no issue producing motors for one market as they are built in lots essentially- There are US only BMW motors from the N54 to the Advanced Diesels this is not a big deal for production but the certification is what is expensive.


  • andy


  • glangford

    I know my dealer has a bunch of cars on the lot. I agree Micheal the premium small market can only go so far, so they really need to expand the lineup. The economy has been in the tank for a while and is just now starting to try to claw its way out of the doldrums, probably the main reason for too much inventory.

    Agree with above, if you want just a Cooper, go for it, no real difference in the engines to speak of. The current NA engine is real nice. MCS, you may want to wait.

  • boldchrome

    So, does this mean that BMW will continue to sell an inferior engine with an inherent design flaw (cold start nightmare, etc etc) and hold off on the real fix until Sept?

    I hope consumers vote with their feet and stay away in droves.

    As a consumer of BMW’s “prove you have a problem” cold start death rattle, high pressure fuel pump failure, and coil pack failure.. all in 2k km, I can safely say they should install the new engine now.. and move the whole line away from Oxford asap.