Q&A with MINI USA on Diesels in the US

SD

For the past 4-5 years we’ve been hearing from our US readers one question over and over again; when will we see a MINI Diesel. Capable of over 50 mpg (US) and loaded with torque the Cooper D has been a standout product for MINI around the world. And the forthcoming Cooper SD promises similar efficiency with even more performance.

So over the course of our time at NAIAS a plan was hatched that would allow MINI USA to respond to the question in a definitive manner. And of course that meant turning to MINI USA Product Manager Vinnie Kung.

MotoringFile: As definitively as possible, can you tell us and our readers the state of a MINI Diesel in the US market?

Vinnie Kung (MINI USA Product Manager): This may read like a short novel, but just wanted to be as transparent as possible and to share our experiences. I’m sure other manufacturers have been down this same road, except for VW, who, as a large-volume manufacturer, has the benefit of spreading costs over many times the number of cars as we do. MINI is a small group and we like it that way.

I’ve been on a personal mission to get Diesels here in the US since 2007. I’ve owned oil burners myself (PowerStroke F-250, X5 35d) and love the purring clatter of a Diesel that let’s everyone know that you’re smarter than the current crop of Prius drivers on the road. Couple that with incredible fuel economy, great drivability and the 40% increase in fuel economy, it is so obvious that we should have a MINI Diesel in the US. While many people think we’ve been dragging our feet and that we’re anti-Diesel, the opposite is true. I know many claim that they have gone to other makes because we don’t have the Diesel here, but we hope we can win them back. We’ve been pressing for years and despite the countless years that we’ve working on it, we have come close enough to taste the low-sulfur Diesel but were never able make the play on prom night. So let’s talk about how things went down from behind the scenes.

In 2007, we were looking good to have it in the US for model year 2010 (0909 SOP.) The plan was to bring the R56 Cooper D here without urea injection, thinking that it could last “as is” until 2015 or so before the EPA would step in and increase the tailpipe emissions requirements for particulate mass and CO2 on passenger vehicles. It would have been perfect but a year later, the economic crash of 2008 came and the dollar-Euro exchange rate went every which way. This resulted in a rather big dip in our 2009 forecasts as we predicted that most consumers were simply out of the new car marketplace. With MINI going into a necessary (and smart) worldwide stop on all projects that didn’t bring benefit to the company to survive 2009, we had to shelve “Project D-US” until further notice. We then had to understandably prioritize R60, R58 and R59, which at the time, were still just rumors and being prepared for worldwide debuts as concept cars.

Fast forward to late 2009 and with our playbooks back open, we were on a fast-track to bring back Project D-US. Our strategy was to evaluate the One D, Cooper S, Cooper SD and to put them all together on the same table. Then, we’d see which two would work best and then see which would provide the most bang for the buck. Then, a few months later, the changes to the CAFE and EPA regulations by the Obama administration meant that we’d (by law) have to add urea injection two years sooner by 2013, during the lifecycle of the current R5x platform. So, Plan A was to sell a MINI Diesel for two years without SCR and to then add urea injection when it was needed. Plan B was to add urea injection right away, so that we wouldn’t have to worry about it. We asked the engineering team, the Oxford plant and the internal project financing team what it would take. The answer was a STAGGERING amount because of the necessary changes to the body-in-white. We all love our MINIs but often forget just how tightly packages the car is today and to provide a place for the urea mixture tank, pump, lines, wiring and injection system, we needed to re-engineer the car with a new floorpan, left rear quarter panel, inner wheelhouse and attendant hardware (including interior panels and trim.)

Now we wondered to ourselves, how come the platform team didn’t think of this any sooner? In truth, it’s because Diesel vehicles in Europe conform to very rigid but more importantly, predictable, BIN standards that do not require SCR. This is unlike the US where every lawmaker is trying to get a book deal by becoming automotive engineers and petroleum industry experts overnight and to re-write the law as they go. The end result? To break even, we were looking at one of every five R56s being a Diesel without any loss of gasoline Cooper sales. While it sounds like an easy task, when you sit down and do a math, it only takes about five minutes and the numbers get ugly. Basically, if we bring the Cooper D to production for the US, charge $10,000 more than a Cooper, we’d still lose about $5,000 per car until the R5x platform ends. Now, I don’t know about you, but I love my job. And to keep it, I have to make some obvious choices and to concentrate on keeping the “other” cars coming. Instead of a Cooper D, I have a preproduction JCW R58 Coupe on order.

So, at the end of the day, Project D-US is no longer for the current platform. We are now focused on the next generation cars and believe you me, we will up the ante for fuel economy, no matter what fuel they will burn. Read into that any way you’d like.

MF: Ok so it’s not coming to the US. But our international readers have been clamoring for details on the Cooper SD for awhile. We know it’s coming to Geneva and we know it’ll have loads of torque (the most ever in a MINI) and great efficiency. What else can you tell us about it?

VK: Now I know you will all hate me, but I had a chance to drive it and the thing is incredible. It was Pepper White manual R56 Cooper SD on 17s. It rips out of the gate like the current Cooper S and just revs, all the way to 4,500 rpm. It has noticeably more noise than the N18 (about 40% more) but like I said, it’s GOOD noise! Best part, it can get 48 mpg (true US conversion.) But I must say, it makes me appreciate the N18 (the current MCS engine) we have today because it truly drives like the N47 (the current Cooper D engine), but can rev out more and pop on deceleration.

MF: Moving on to some easier questions. We’ve heard rumblings of some changes for March production onward. What can you tell us?

VK: Cool stuff, really. R60 gets the second load floor, and we will see a cool 50th anniversary package for the Clubman with a unique color. Also, we’ll see the discontinuation of the factory aero kit to make room for… uh, well, you know… another aero kit at the plant.

MF: Wow. Our voices have finally been heard then. Great news. So getting back to what we saw at NAIAS; the Paceman looked great, the red roofed JCW is sinister and the Countryman got lots of interest. With all of that plus the Coupe and Roadster on their way, you’ve got to be pretty happy with the line-up and what’s currently in the pipeline.

VK: The Countryman is the most MINI for your buck and the Coupe and Roadster only re-emphasize the MINI ideals that we hold close to our hearts. But it won’t be all fun and games as new competitors will be swarming from every direction for a piece of the MINI magic and we know it. The production version of the Paceman is just the icing for what we have planned in the next few years. Right now, we are working on several special-edition models and the R56’s replacement. I am confident that those both inside and outside of the MINI fold will be very surprised with the next generation Hardtop as it will be the coolest ride on four wheels.

MINI Speedster

MF: One more question and we’ll let you get back to that secret Mr. Fusion powered Back to the Future MINI project. What’s up with MINI Coupe?  Is there anything you can tell us about the timeframe or perhaps something else we don’t know?

VK: As we get closer to production, I am happy to say that it will be very true to the concept car. We’re still working on finalizing the name, but I am all for calling it simply the Coupe. It will have a much more useful trunk area than you’d think and the rear decklid will have a pleasant surprise.

MF Wrap-up: I wanted to add a huge thank you to Vinnie for doing this interview. And I have to add it was Vinnie’s idea to come to MF readers with a real answer to this question. Readers on this site have levied a lot of criticism on MINI USA over the years and I often feel that a lot of it (not all) is unjust. This is a good example of where MINI USA is caught in a difficult place given economic realities and government regulations. Yes it’s unfortunate but this answer should dispel many of the rumors and off the wall theories that have been floating around the web for years.

I’ve known Vinnie for awhile now and I can honestly say I can’t imagine a better qualified person to be in his position – and that’s from an enthusiasts point of view. In fact the same could be said for most the staff at MINI USA. So while we may not always like the answers we get, I can say with some authority that they strive to not only give MINI owners what we want but make the brand something to be proud of.

  • HERR26

    The 50th anniversary special edition of the MINI Clubman is called the MINI Clubman “Hampton”

    MINI Clubman “Hampton” will debut at the Geneva Auto Salon in March.

    I will copy the info from the official spreadsheet.

    Product Highlights for the MINI clubman “Hampton” are as follows.

    • Available in Cooper, Cooper D, Cooper S and Cooper SD derivatives /
    • US Market – Cooper / Cooper S

    Exterior – Exclusive Reef Blue metallic paint – Exclusive 17″ Twin Spoke alloy wheels with centre caps incorporating a Damson Red lining (wheels in Silver or Black) – Bonnet stripes in Damson Red (new design) – Mirror caps with Damson Red pinstripe – MINI 50 Hampton badging on side scuttles and B-Pillar – MINI 50 Badge on front grille – Bi-Xenon headlights with black interior reflectors

    Interior – Exclusive Leather Lounge upholstery in Carbon Black with Damson Red piping – Anthracite Headlining – MINI 50 Hampton designation on door sills – Contents of CHILI Pack included as standard – Satellite Grey or Carbon Black Colour Line – Interior Trim in Damson Red Pinstripe – Floormats with Damson Red piping and stitching. – Anthracite interior instrument faces (Similar to JCW models) – Damson Red central speedometer surround

  • Nick Dawson

    We now know that the R56 replacement will use the new UKL1 modular platform and three cylinder modular engines that will underpin no less than seven new Mini models and five BMW FWD models over the next five years. First up in 2013 will be Mini 3, codenamed F56, a three door hatch which will be followed by a five door hatch the following year. These models will share their platform and engines with the BMW ‘JOY’ a small city car that is shorter than the Mini 3. A launch date has yet to be decided. The Mini 3 Covertible will be launched in 2015, and so too will the Clubman 2, which will be 150mm longer than the present Clubman and is being co-developed with the BMW FWD five door hatch 1-series GT which will launched in 2014 ahead of the Clubman. 2016 will see the launch of the biggest Mini ever with the ‘MAT’ F62(Mini Activity Tourer) which will have five doors including sliding side rear doors, a high roof and a flexible interior. This model is being co-developed with the BMW ‘FAST’ (Family Activity Sports Tourer) to be launched a year earlier than the Mini. 2016 will also see the launch of the Mini mini at 3.1 metres long. 2017 sees the launch of Countryman 2 F60, a co-development with the all new BMW X1 to be launched in 2015. Finally in 2018 the replacements for the Coupe and Roadster will be launched, which are being co-developed with the BMW Z2 Coupe and a Roadster to be launched in 2016.

  • Snarfit

    “R60 gets the second load floor.”

    Huh?

  • JonPD

    Great interview Gabe, and a huge thank you to Vinnie for answering a lot of tough questions.

    I know I have leveled more than a little criticism at MINIUSA over the years. I believe some of its just but likely a large amount of it is over simplification of their goals and aspirations. Still have huge respect for MINI and MINIUSA for sure, lots of amazing and cool people for such a cool little brand for sure.

  • Midnight Blue

    The second load floor was supposed to be available at launch but was summarily dropped from mu order and everyone elses. Itsimply covers the well in the boot area if you use the standard boot floor in it’s upright position to create a bulkhead between the rear seats and the boot.

  • jbkONE

    So you’re saying the 2nd load floor is just an extra? So now you have 2 of (almost) the same thing so you can use one to block off the pass. compartment and one to go on the floor? Interesting.

    A huge THANK YOU for that eye-opening piece. Would just be nice if they’d communicate stuff like that earlier. You know, back in 2009 when they decided to shelve it they could have said “we’d planned on bringing a diesel to you in 2010, but due to the financial-pocolypse and an uncertain future, we are halting development.”

    And I love the line “…every lawmaker is trying to get a book deal by becoming automotive engineers and petroleum industry experts overnight and to re-write the law as they go.” I see he feels about the same way I do about our “representatives”.

  • JB

    Thanks U.S. Gov for protecting us from the evil Diesel.

  • simbaloco

    @JB, are you serious? The US Gov is not here to protect anyone but their interests. They are a bunch of vultures all lobbying for personal gain.

  • Chilly

    ” I am confident that those both inside and outside of the MINI fold will be very surprised with the next generation Hardtop as it will be the coolest ride on four wheels.”

    Hmm, I think he’s peaked our interest there!

  • http://www.miniusa.com Vinnie Kung

    Several speculations on the future MINI platform are not correct. Just sayin’…

  • Mark O’Neill (MINI Sales)

    Thanks Vinnie! This article makes life easier. (when I have to explain why we don’t have diesel)

  • JM in NH

    Already drooling over the coupe and roadster pictured in this article…I’m gonna need a bib!

  • dr

    Does MINI think that they would lose sales if the Cooper was offered exclusively in diesel? Seems to me like the Cooper should be a diesel only as the efficiency option and the Cooper S gets only a turbo petrol engine as the performance option.

  • Axel

    Thanks Vinnie you were like the saying goes” You Fkd up a wet dream” LOL I guess I’ll have to buy a VW or go upscale to the 335d or wait for the new Twin turbo X1. Who knows

  • bee1000

    Thanks for the explanation of the diesel situation. I, for one, never saw anyone discuss the packaging issues involved as a reason for the engine not making it to the US. As always, the real story is more complicated than we could guess. Here’s hoping the 3-cylinder petrol engines make us forget about the diesel entirely, or at least that the diesel doesn’t cost anything like $10,000 more than the petrol!

  • Jon

    Great interview, MF. We really appreciate you bringing this to us.

  • Nick Dawson

    The backbone of the FWD BMW project is the UKL1 platform, a highly versatile archtecture which derives its codename from untere klasse in German, meaning lower class.

    Developed for the new Mini F56 which arrives in 2013, this tranverse engine component set is incredibly flexible, allowing for bodystyles of different length, width and height to be spun off the architecture. The engineering brief was to create a light, rigid base, to deliver the most dynamic small car on the market.

    Both three and four cylinder engines will fit as will FWD and four wheel drive, as required for the next generation BMW X1 and Countryman 2. The AWD technology is being developed from scratch with leading systems supplier Getrag, along with a new dual clutch transmission.

    At BMW’s annual general meeting, the Chairman Norbert Reithofer laid down the marker. He acknowledged the growing demand for premium small cars, and their role in introducing young customers to a brand. ‘All the more reason for us to to offer new models in the small car segment in the future – at Mini and at BMW’ he said.

  • alpinamike

    Thanks for a little more info Vinnie, I know its hard not to spill the beans and as much as you want, tell everyone on MF that the diesel Business wise and finically viable.

    I remember when Bosch brought the Bosch Diesel to MTTS 2008, talked to the product manager and his friend about bosch ecu’s all night till we were on diesel Motoronics.

    I wonder if the SD is a quite diesel at idle or the famous older diesel “tick tick”, if it shares similar engine developments of current BMW 3.5’s then it will get louder as you accelerate mostly exhaust noise , not the diesel “truck noise”.

    So, If the diesel does come sooner or later will we get trucker hats as a promo? Vinnie? Maybe saying “super duty”?

  • http://www.facebook.com/ron.myers Ron Myers

    Vinnie is the man! Some of the most forthright information I’ve seen ‘on the record’ from a corporate rep in recent memory.

    He doesn’t give away the store, yet whets the appetites of MINI watchers.

    I wish more auto company spokespeople would adopt his style.

  • don griffin

    wonder if the coupe is going to have a 2 piece clamshell hatch?

  • Smyers

    I wonder of the “additional aero package” is for the Coupe, or if they may finally produce the JCW properly in-house……

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    I wonder of the “additional aero package” is for the Coupe, or if they may finally produce the JCW properly in-house…

    Hmmm interesting idea. I had heard it was for the JCW kit finally done in house.

  • Adam F.

    here’s a suggestion vis-a-vis diesels that i hope vinnie kung reads: the mini diesel should be as “outside the box” as the mini itself was when introduced here.

    here’s how to do it: biodiesel compatibility. now, i’m aware that biodiesel doesn’t burn hot enough for modern diesel engines. that’s why current diesel offerings (BMW, VW, MB, etc.) always insist that you run a blend of biodiesel/regular diesel at a max ratio of 10% biodiesel.

    but here’s the “outside the box” implementation: what if the mini D had a button (sort of an inverse of the SPORT mode on current MCS models) that loaded an engine “map” that dialed the engine down to where it could accept pure biodiesel?

    that would be an instant marketing advantage over all other diesel and hybrid competitors. moreover, if factored in by the EPA, it could markedly improve MINI’s fleet efficiency ratings.

    i realize this would take a bit of engineering derring-do to implement, but what an amazing home run for mini this would be.

    my motives are of course selfish: i’d be first in line to drive one.

  • http://www.miniusa.com Vinnie Kung

    What does everyone here think of Plug In Hybrids?

  • Nick Dawson

    Vinnie – With BMW’s new modular engines promising 70 to 100 mpg, who really needs Plug in Hybrids?

  • JackMac

    Thanks MF and VK for this article. One of the most informative interviews and follow-up that I can recall. A lot of new information to digest.

    Regarding questions of PIH and diesel availabily in the U.S., overall I am in favor of anything that MINI USA can do to ensure variety and choice in our market. Whenever certain products or features are not available here from BMW or MINI, there will always be some level petitioning from the enthusiasts.

  • Smyers

    If we could get a true JCW with suspension and aero from the factory, I would be first in line tomorrow. Having owned several ///M cars, I have always been let down by the lack of direction for JCW as the pinnacle mini. Had the WC50 been focused from the factory the way that the GP’s were, Mini would have had my money…

    I will now return to my life of not criticizing approaches/processes that are immensely complicated from an internal and marketing perspective, and be happy/stop whining. Oh and Connaught Green is the bestest thing ever!

  • CraigE
    What does everyone here think of Plug In Hybrids?

    I think a range extended electric is the better way to go. Rather than trying to connect the IC engine to the driveline, just run a small gasoline or diesel generator set. A small gasoline or diesel motor can be much more finely tuned for use with a generator since it can run at a constant RPM. This also eliminates the need for things like variable valve timing since it doesn’t need to produce power over a wide RPM range. This should also leverage what BMW/MINI have already learned about electric drivetrains.

  • http://www.miniusa.com Vinnie Kung

    While BioDiesel brewing may be on the rise at home, our fear is that most petroleum corporations may never offer it at their pumps (and why should they when they have a perfectly good petroleum-based product to sell you from existing manufacturing facilities.) Also, temperature optimization and homogenation is more important for biodiesel and both require a dedicated tank, lines, and pump. So, that is why we and all manufacturers are not completely onboard with offering biodiesel from the factory.

    If you were able to tell the design team for the ’06 GP to make the car any color, what would it have been? I mean, Thunder Blue was hot, but what would you have liked even more?

  • Smyers

    I think everything on the GP was spot on, including the color. The non-metallic green on the WC50 is for me, the quintessential color for a Mini/British automobile. I would pay with Spanish gold to get that color on a refreshed Mini with nav. Back to smiles!

  • Versus

    Thanks for the updates Vinnie, I can’t wait to hear more on the coupe & JCW in general.

    • Smyers, totally with you on the color of the WC50.
  • http://minicalgary.com Trevor Z

    Hi Vinnie. Thank you very much for the informative interview and for checking and commenting here!

    Personally, I think the MINI E should be continued, and made available to all. Don’t worry about plug in hybrid, bring out the full electric. It appears to me from electric owners, that Mini is viable from an operational point of view. Can’t say cost wise for the batteries and such. I live in Canada, and would be very interested in one up here! Same goes for a cost effective diesel. However, if petrol can be made almost as efficient, for less cost, then overall the economics for diesel starts to disappear (as you have already proven). I have to say though, and oil burning countryman seems mighty enticing!

    For colors… Please liven the color gambit up. I agree, the WC50 green was very nice.

  • JonPD

    Vinnie, how about a plug in hybrid MINI D with a 3 cylinder. I still believe that combo would be epic.

  • bee1000

    Re: Plug-in hybrids

    They’re not something I’m interested in. I think a small car like the MINI hardtop should be able to provide enough efficiency without resulting to electricity. Reduce weight, don’t add complexity.

    On the other had, a flywheel KERS like Porsche has in its race car could make for a whole new idea of a JCW MINI.

  • woj

    So I presume that the “Hamilton” edition of the Clubman will be offered once the “Soho” is no longer available…

    I would offer that the plug-in hybrid is a dead-end route as the weight of the system and the poor performance of batteries in cold weather would make the vehicle an Edsel. Next gen diesels would be more likely to sell…..

  • kathy

    well, i’ve read ad infinitum about concerns for Mini diesels, but my question is about plain ole’ color choice. Mini has been stuck in the Honda rut of only prime color choices for years, with the exception of the Ice Blue color option on the Clubman. I have been wanting to buy a Mini for several years, and was SO excited about the R60, but just when I had decided I could “live with” the Sparkling Silver, it wasn’t offered on the R60 AWD. Please, please come out with some lighter (pastel) colors for the Mini. The Ice Blue would be great on the R60!

  • lavardera

    WC50 green is also my wish list color.

  • GregW

    Countryman is offering a configured BMW 2.0 diesel. The snag is that it is “detuned”, so not a true 2.0 in the sense of output. The 2.0 thing is being downplayed. So – you’re not missing out on anything. As for the Obama comment, there’s not going to be much happening on the Hill this term thanks to Fox and the Tea Party. So the Urea thing may not happen.

  • JackMac

    Another vote for Connaught Green, please! I would buy that tomorrow, as long as it was available on a car that can be customer configured.

  • JonPD

    Connaught Green and Thunder Blue will never make it to other cars. I am sure MINI is very aware that the owners of either cars would likely not like it.

  • Dr61

    Another vote for a production plug-in MINI! My next car will be plug-in. I make the ‘fuel’ already with solar panels on my roof. My R53 will be my last with only petrol based fuel.

  • Chris

    Re: What does everyone here think of Plug In Hybrids?

    As for the plug in hybrid we would be interested in this now because of the tax incentives for this. Once the tax incentives go away, it would be a harder sell. It would come down to true cost of ownership. If it was going to cost $3,000 more it better save us $3,000 through reduced fuel use, increased resale value or other.

  • Evan

    The weight and so-so performance of a plug-in hybrid plus questionable 150k mile plus ability of the battery to keep on charging well along with very cold and very hot weather performance and durability make these a poor alternative. Not until we can make all the batteries easily recyclable will this be an option. Or make the life cycle of the vehicle long enough. Nor will electricity really be an option until it’s made by all renewable resources. We need to be conscientious about our resources, where we’re putting them in products and where they will be in the years to come.

    On another note, I’m really excited about the next gen MINI. And I as doubt the USA will be victim to the FWD BMW (we already have our MINIs), the advances in packaging and efficiency seem very promising. Also, Vinnie, where’s the word on the R60’s three seat bench for the USA? 2012 model year?…

  • Nick Dawson

    According to some of the major manufacturers, battery EV hybrids are not the future of motoring, and agree that hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEV) ‘remain the end game’ for the long term, which will be made feasible in Europe by a massive investment in hydrogen fiiling stations.

    GM has just just revealed that its first FCEV will go on sale in 2015, while Mercedes has stated that ‘hydrogen is still our long term goal. BMW is also among those showing fuel-cell concepts.

    GM says that its development units are lasting 81,000 miles today and by 2015 that will increase to 124,000 miles. Weight will be cut by half as will the volume, matching a combustion engine when it comes to packaging and ultimately cost.

  • JonPD

    There isn’t one technology that will own the future. EV, FCEV, and many other technology are likely to be part of the future for economy.

    While I am a huge fan of hydrogen vehicles the biggest limitation of them still reamains the fuel itself, to produce hydrogen can be done at a lower cost if your take a lot of time to create, other than that it takes a large amount of energy to produce quickly. Still for for me I still see a 3 cylinder diesel with low hp that uses in wheel electric motors that alows the vehicle to use either technology alone or together to provide more raw power. Whatever the future brings to us I honestly believe dual power solutions have a lot going for them.

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  • Nick Dawson

    JonPD – Thanks for your comments.

    The main drawback with duel power is the compromise, complexity and cost. The availability of petrol will ultimately limt the life of hybrids. One GM specialist thinks that because of range and cost limitations, ‘the battery EV will ultimately disappoint’.

    Hydrogen is already produced through oil refining and ammonia production at a rate of 50 million tonnes a year, enough to fuel 300 million fuel-cell cars. Later, sustainable production methods will include solar, wind and hydroelectric power, and distribution will switch to pipeline. In Europe the planned first phase of 900 hydrogen filling stations will support 10,000 hydrogen cars increasing to between 13,000 and 20,000 stations by 2020.

    In the meantime for small cars such as Minis, BMW’s highly efficient variable-rate turbo charged 1.5 litre 3 cylinder combustion engine is the way forward.

  • Eric Francis

    Every hybrid owner I see in the road is driving in such a manner that they are using their fuel driven motor. That negates the purpose of the hybrid in my eyes. With a marquee like Mini very few owners will be driving for economy with a hybrid.

    Having owned a VW TDI I can honestly say that unless Mini brings a diesel over my next car will be VAG diesel product (not VW though they hired a blind person for styling). The fuel economy being superior to nearly every hybrid in real world driving and the fuel (source to road) being cleaner than plug in electric/gas hybrids is a no brainer.

    I just wish a manufacturer other than VAG had the balls to buck the trend of hybrids and educate people that when a vehicle that has to be plugged in to the coal fired electric grid for power it is no longer “green”.

  • http://www.miniusa.com Vinnie Kung

    SD Card? Compactflash? Memorystick? It’s all about what you like as an individual and it’s nice to have a choice. I like SDs myself.

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  • Prionel

    OK – I got it! When my 2002 Mini Cooper bites the dust – just go get a VW Passat TD. at around $25K – they are a bargain! As a Mini owner since its “original days” (1969 Morris Mini Minor for 22(!!) years) and now a Mini Cooper owner for 11 years (one of the first to own a Mini Cooper in the USA), I can’t even begin to tell you how deeply disappointed I was to read this lengthy “no can do” article… And yes – I do have a 2011 F-250 Diesel…

    • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

      I’d love to have a MINi SD Clubman myself. Drove one in Germany a couple years ago and it was so much fun. And just to be clear, our info is that diesel (the SD specifically) is actually likely to come to the F56 in the US. We don’t have confirmation yet, but MINI USA has been talking about it a lot, and in the past, they didn’t really talk about it at all. So I’m actually expecting it until we hear otherwise.

      • Prionel

        Well, I wish I could share your optimism, Nathaniel, but Mini of Westchester recently told me to forget it! They said there won’t be a 2014 Diesel Mini in the USA, and not to get my hopes up for any Diesel in a US Mini in the foreseeable future. So, now my Diesel is an awesome F-250 and in 2 years – most likely a Passat TD.