Rumor: MINI Diesel Finally Coming to the US

Exclusive: Thanks to our partners over at BimmerFile we have the first viable rumor regarding a diesel powered MINI coming to the US. Since the moment the first MINI diesel was released in Europe, US MINI enthusiasts have been wondering when they could share in the diesel love. It would now appear that the answer is 2013. However, before we get to the details of the engine and the model, let’s take a look at how MINI was able to avoid the huge costs of certifying a new diesel engine in the US.

The folks at BimmerFile have long held the belief that BMW missed the mark with its current diesel offerings in the US. While the 335d and the X5 35d are incredibly powerful and fast, they were only about 20% more efficient than their petrol counterparts. On the other end of the spectrum, BMW had what is likely the best four cylinder diesel in the world being offered outside the US market – an engine dramatically more effecient. As you can imagine given the times, the pendulum has been slowly swinging from the large and powerful 35d engine to the smaller and fuel-thrifty 2.0L.

The limiting factor all along for US introduction has been certification cost. So how did MINI finally get over that investment hurdle? By partnering with BMW and sharing costs across the X1 and the Countryman, the unit cost of a proposed Countryman Cooper SD finally got down to a level where MINI USA might be able to make a viable business case for diesel on our shores. But make no mistake, this will be priced higher than the Countryman Cooper S. In fact it’ll likely be positioned between the Cooper S Countryman and the upcoming JCW Countryman. Power figures should be basically identical to the current Cooper SD power plant at 143 hp and 225 lb-ft. of torque.

What about the chances of other MINI models receiving the engine? While costs wouldn’t be as considerable once the engine is certified in the US market, re-engineering the body-shell of a car well into it’s life-cycle simply doesn’t make sense financially. Because of that we don’t expect any MINIs other than the Countryman and its derivatives to receive the diesel treatment in the US – at least for the time being.

But this isn’t just MINI USA dropping the current 2.0L engine into US specification R60s. Instead we’ll see a unique, tweaked version of the engine specific for the North American market. BimmerFile’s sources have told them that BMW and MINI’s US market diesel engines will be offered with a new and improved system to meet US emissions standards, including a revised Exhaust Gas Recirculation and Diesel Emissions Fluid (AdBlue urea injection) dosing system.

This new, highly efficient four cylinder diesel, built with this technology, will be shown at Geneva this March and will be destined for both the MINI Countryman Cooper SD and the BMW X128d. This engine was described by the source as the former BMW North America CEO Jim O’Donnell’s “personal mission” — a four cylinder diesel for the US in the X1. His determination may end up as MINI’s gain.

All the German manufacturers are rumored to be planning a major push for more diesels in the US market. All of these power plants will make their true debut in New York later this year but the precursors (aka the EU versions) will be shown at the Geneva Motor Show.

While this information comes to BimmerFile from a very reliable source, it’s not been corroborated by a second source. Because of that we’re are classifying this strictly as a rumor for the time being. However, based on the above and what we’ve heard in whispered tones over the past year, this is the first time we’ve ever felt confident that the US market could soon see a diesel powered MINI. Fingers crossed.

  • jbkONE

    this is AWESOME!  I wonder how hard it would be to retrofit that engine into a Clubman?  Or even a Cooper?  I’m not ever planning on a Countryman.  I also wonder what the mileage rating will be.  Can’t wait to see this hit the shores. 

  • Sign. Me. Up.

  • Guest

    I’m not the “grammar police” but even I have been noticing errors in the stories lately. Not spellings or commas but missing words! Time to hire a proofer. 

    Needs editing:The folks have BimmerFile

    While costs would be considerably once the engine

    • Violetdc

      I totally agree! As a copy editor, I often cringe when reading these posts. I’ve offered my services to MF, but to no avail. Guess they’d rather have their readers guess what they’re trying to say. sigh

  • bavarian racing green

    …bad-ass…me loves me an oil-burner…

  • les

    Sign me up!

  • JonPD

    Glad MINI D might finally make it here, I cringe that its in the least efficient type though!

  • Glangford

    We’ve heard this before, only to have our hopes dashed, so I’m not holding my breath or anything. If its higher than the S and close to the JCW Countryman costs, the VW 2.0 will be a more cost effective solution for the consumer. 

  • If it’s anything like the current Countryman SD I drove in Austria, it’s just what the Countryman needs, in my opinion. All the torque is really fun to play with (especially the All4) and the mileage is is terrific. 

    The disappointment though, is that this engine still won’t likely be available in the smaller MINIs. The Clubman SD I drove in Germany is the best MINI I’ve driven to date. Would buy that car tomorrow if I could. 

    • Frank Granados

      If MINI is going to charge north of $35K for a Diesel, I think I much prefer to get an off-lease 2009/2010 BMW 335d. That is one IMPRESSIVE diesel automobile.

  • Diesel in MINI Cooper Please

    Isn’t the 1 Series diesel 2.0L motor in the UK rated to 180ish horsepower?  Think there is also a BMW 1.6L with 160ish horsepower as well.  Either way, I would really like to see the diesel make its way into the Cooper.

  • Diesel in MINI Cooper Please

    Isn’t the 1 Series diesel 2.0L motor in the UK rated to 180ish horsepower?  Think there is also a BMW 1.6L with 160ish horsepower as well.  Either way, I would really like to see the diesel make its way into the Cooper.

  • Anonymous

    The 2.0d is rated 184 hp / 280 lb-ft and is sensational…. that’s why there is currently no 123d as the 120d performs as well and is  more efficient (ask me how I know 🙂 )

    • Frank Granados

      Diesel engines wipe the floor with hybrid technology any day of the week and twice on Sunday.  I can’t still get off my mind that breath taking drive behind the wheel of a 335d sedan, the best BMW diesel, and why not, best BMW ever offered in the US market.

  • MINIme

    That’s one step in the right direction with the Countryman.  Now, MINI, produce the Beachcomber!!  

    • jbkONE


  • Iespich

    FINALLY!! I have been waiting to see a post like this since 2006. Put my name on the list for a Paceman please!

  • Anonymous

    Much like Gabe ( two kids under two now) My growing family has had me thinking about what to replace my r53 with.  I am going to need 4doors soon.  I have been leaning toward a VW TDI sportwagen.  This news comes just in time for me to hold out hope that I can keep a MINI in the garage. 

    I think I need to call the dealer and get on the waiting list

  • Hemisedan

    Like many other here, I’ve been hoping for a good diesel in something Mini too.  But 140 hp doesn’t cut it, as does 225 ft. lbs. of torque.  Getting a 2.0 with 170-185hp, now we’re talking.  Of course, we all know that the true advantage to diesels are torque and fuel mileage.  Next we’ll have to wake up our representatives in Washington to find out the reason WHY diesel costs 20% more than unleaded.  Paceman with a diesel, now that sounds good for my next Mini

  • Tamer

    Not sure if the first pic is recent, but if it is, a diesel engine certainly does not warrant masking panels. Looks like the Countryman is headed for a minor facelift

  • Cliff Judge

     I will buy one of these if they are available for MY2013. I’ve been reading up on this engine and it sounds really cool. I wondered, at first, why BMW has apparently de-tuned it so much – it looks like they have versions of the same engine which produce appreciably more power – but then I realized that they are probably shooting for fuel economy.