MINI’s Revised 2011 Engines In Depth
(The following article is a revised version of what was published last week in the MotoringFile Countryman review)
Starting with September production MINI will be substantially revising the entire range of cars for the 2011 model year featuring smoother operation, higher efficiency and more power. In the US and Canada this means that MINI will be rolling out the engine updates that were first debuted in March builds for the European market. We’ve detailed the 2011 refresh in many articles over that past several years, this article will focus on the changes to the 1.6L powerplant found at the core of every MINI model. There are some exceptions; we are not reporting the upcoming refreshed JCW version of the engine because we don’t have information on it yet. However rest assured as soon as we get it, you’ll read it on MF.
First the Cooper. The R60 Cooper has 122 hp up two from the previous configuration of the naturally aspirated Prince engine. Yes it’s just a slight increase but there are a lot of changes under the surface. The naturally aspirated 1.6L gets a new map regulated oil pump that adjusts pressure and volume based on needs of engine (and not just engine speed as before). It results in a 3% fuel savings and allows for the whole system to heat quicker in cold weather (due to it not engaging in cold starts when it’s not needed).
The MPG ratings haven’t been released yet but we expect final figures to be around 2 mpg higher on the highway.
Even more impressive is what MINI have done to the Cooper S. Yes there’s more power, but lets focus on efficiency first. The R60 MCS will reach the same mpg (not a typo) on the highway thanks to a more substantial upgrade. In fact CO2 levels go from only 140 gm to 143 despite the turbo and the extra 60 hp. The MCS sees all the same updates that the Cooper gets but with the major addition of fully variable valve train (Valvetronic as BMW calls it) along with refinements of friction point throughout the engine. The result is an increase of around 10hp for approximately 182 hp (final US figures are forthcoming).
Valvetronic gives the Cooper S the ability to rev quicker, deliver more power yet achieve better miles per gallon. A win win by all accounts.
When I spoke with the MINI engineer that lead the development of the revised engines, he noted that all of these additions to the range are patented and will only show up in the MINI range. I probed a bit more and he expanded on the relationship with PSA a bit. For one BMW handles all development separately and in fact PSA is only in charge of purchasing components. All Prince engines are assembled in the UK at Hamms Hall with only the block coming from France. Additionally he pegged the ratio of British to French parts at around 80/20.
And that cold start issue? It’s eliminated with the new engine. For the sake of the MotoringFile reader I continued to press him a bit and he let slip that the issue was caused by a production problem from a supplier. However problems with current engines have been rectified with a fix sent to dealers earlier this year according to the engineer.
How is this new power translated to the road you ask? It was impossible to feel the difference in acceleration (and power) between a 2010 Cooper S and the 2011 Countryman Cooper S with the new engine simply because of the added weight the R60 carries. However I could detect a difference in the eagerness of the car to rev and some subtle changed to the clutch and shift feel.
The transmissions also see some substantial revisions on the 2011 models as well as the Countryman. The Countryman features unique ratios and a taller shift lever but aside from that all changes carry over to the 2011 models as well.
The biggest upgrade is the entirely new clutch that is now self adjusting. This provides a more consistent pedal feel and we’re told should be a little more robust than the previous version. The flywheel is now a dual mass unit that adds a bit more comfort in regards to smoothness and sound. Also new are carbon based shift cables that add an even smoother feel and should last the life of the car.
The result is gearbox that feels even more slick than before. While it lacks the positive feedback of some of the better BMW gearboxes, it’s certainly a step up from any of the competition (I’m looking at you VW) and a noticeable improvement over the previous system.
The six speed automatic is also upgraded in several key ways. The biggest change comes with a system called neutral control. At idle (with your foot on the brake) the auto equipped Countryman (and any other revised 2011 MINI) will subtly de-couple from the previous engaged gear. Once you lift off the brake the transmission re-engages with the previous gear. The net result is a subtle gain in efficiency. In sport mode this system is off for optimized (and more immediate) acceleration.
Another improvement in the auto is stop and go detection which can tell when you’re in stop and go driving and change the shift program to stay almost entire in 2nd for smoother operation.
Written By: Gabe
Sort by MINI model
- MF Garage: The F56 Sport Suspension Has Made Believers Out of Us
- MINI Challenge F56 Profiled by XCARFilms
- Woofcast #537: The Coffee Mug is Mine!
- Petrolicious: The Classic Mini Visualized
- MINI USA Updates Hardtop Configurator: JCW Exterior Pkg & Chili Red
- MINI USA Names New Head of Sales
- The Motorer Obsession Program and 2015 MINI Sales
- New BMW & MINI Parts Distribution Center Opens in California
- Car Purists vs. Active Sound
- MF Garage: Our Long-Term F56 Cooper S is Here – Most of It
MotoringFile on Instagram
- BMW’s i3 Superbowl Commercial Debuts
- BMW Team RLL Results at Daytona
- BMW at the 24 Hours of Daytona – Live Blog
- BMW Performance 200; Team TGM scores third in Street Tuner for team’s best ever CTSCC finish
- BMW, VW & ChargePoint Announce Electric Car Charging Partnership
- BMW Team RLL Returns to the Rolex 24 at Daytona This Weekend
- The BMW M2 Will Hit Showrooms a Year From Now – Here’s What We Know
- BMW’s ActiveSound Has Been Hacked
- No Surprise. BMW Motorrad Sees Record Sales in 2014
- BimmerCast #73 – BMW’s 2014 in Review
- Video: Resurrecting a Ruckus
- Video: The Gogoro Electric Scooter
- New Scooter-related Laws for 2015
- Two-Wheel Injuries and Fatalities Dropped in 2013
- ScooterFile’s Top Five Stories of 2014
- The Morning Scooter Commute
- The 2StrokeBuzz 2014/2015 Cold Weather Challenge
- Honda Recalls 10,000 Grom and Forza Models For Fuel Pump Issue
- Report Predicts Bright Future for Electric Maxi-Scooters, 3-wheelers
- Video: MotoGeo Rides the Vespa 946
MINI Model Cheat Sheet
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
R53: MCS Hatch
2nd Gen MINI
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F55: Five Door Hatch
F60: MINI Crossover
Advertise with MotoringFile
MotoringFile Buyers GuidesR50 ('02-'06 MC) Buyers Guide
R53 ('02-'06 MCS) Buyers Guide
'12 JCW Coupe
'11 Fiat 500 Sport
'11 Tesla Roaster 2.5 '11 Countryman Comparo
'11 Cooper S Hatch
'11 Countryman MCS (FWD)
'11 Countryman MC (auto)
'10 Mayfair MCS (auto)
'11 Countryman MCS (ALL4)
'10 MINI E
'10 Tesla Roadster Sport
'09 Cooper S Convertible
'09 JCW Hatch
'09 JCW Clubman
JCW Stage I vs JCW Stage II
'08 Clubman S (Auto)
1st Drive: '08 MINI Clubman
'08 Smart Fourtwo
Comparison: '08 BMW 135i
'06 R53 MCS vs '07 R56 MCS
'07 R56 JCW (Stage 1)
'07 MINI Cooper S Long Term
'07 BMW Z4 M Coupe
'07 MINI Cooper & Cooper S
Audio: '07 MC/MCS at the Track
'06 JCW GP Long term
Reader Review: JCW GP
'06 JCW Cooper S Long Term
Comparison: '06 Lotus Elise
Comparison: '06 Mazda MX5
Comparison: '06 UK Focus ST
Comparison: '06 Civic Si
Comparison: '04 TVR T350
Comparison: '06 Nissan 350z
Comparison: '06 VW GTI w/DSG
Podcast: Cooper S Auto
Podcast: BMW 325i
Podcast: JCW MC Soundkit
'04 JCW MINI Cooper Tuning Kit
'05 MCS: One Month Review
'05 MCS Auto
'05 JCW S 1st Drive
'05 MINI Cooper
'05 MCS Conv. Long Term
'05 MINI Cooper S
'05 MCS Cabrio 1st Drive
'04 JCW MCS First Drive
'04 MC w/JCW Tuning Kit
BMW M3 SMG Vs. MCS
'04 MINI Cooper CVT
'02 MCS 3 year Review
Autocrossing the MINI Range