Auto Start/Stop Coming to US MINIs

According to sources inside MINI familiar with future product features, the US market will finally see an auto start/stop system for both manual and automatic transmissions. The first version of auto start/stop made a European debut in 2007 and since then MINI USA has been interested in adding the feature to US bound cars.

The reason for the delay is two fold; there’s been little incentive since the EPA doesn’t recognize such systems in an overall efficiency index and the bigger concern is that the system isn’t free. Again, according to those same sources it adds over $200 per car, thanks to the beefier starter motor, the added electronics and programming. MINI USA couldn’t absorb that cost and didn’t want to pass it on to the consumer. But as BMW has moved to add the technology to almost it’s entire fleet, that price is rapidly decreasing as volume of the system is increasing. Likewise things are changing in the US that make the technology more relevant to the way the EPA measures efficiency- there is an added benefit to automatic transmissions with the current EPA test procedure. This makes a much stronger argument for bringing the system stateside.

We expect the system to debut with the next generation MINIs – the first (the F56 hatch) set to debut in the fall of 2013 as a 2014 model. After that MINI will roll-out other derivatives (the five door hatch, the convertible, Clubman etc) that will all share the technology. Other MINI models such as the Countryman should see the system added over the lifecycle as well.

The system will work identically to the current set-up, which is the second generation of the system. On the manual the Auto Start/Stop function switches the engine off automatically when the car comes to a stop, such as at intersections and in traffic when the car is placed in neutral. When the clutch is depressed to shift into a gear the engine reignites. The manual setup will also feature a shift point display in the cluster that advises the driver of the most efficiency-enhancing moment to change gear and the proper gear to be selected.

On the automatic, the system engages (ie the engine turns off) when the driver comes to a complete stop while in “D” and pressure is applied to and remains on the brake. To start the car again the driver simply lifts their foot off the brake (as they would normally) and the engine seamlessly engages.

The system protects the engine by not allowing the start/stop function until the car is up to proper operating temperature. Likewise it won’t engage if the ambient temperature is too hot or cold or if the demands of the climate control are not being met. The system is able to be turned off manually, detects stop and go traffic (disengages) and can be overridden by turning the steering wheel or relaxing pressure on the brake pedal.

It seems all a bit backward to US that the EPA hasn’t had the forsight to change it’s system of measuring to include such systems. It’s pretty clear that auto start/stop saves fuel (and potentially a lot of it) in commuting situations. It’s nice to know that MINI will finally be taking the initiative (as BMW has). We have long term experience with the European version of the system and have seen the fuel economy gains.

Written By: Gabe

  • Aurel

    is there a detailed explanation on how exactly this works? I can’t imagine my engine having to restart 20 times during a short stop and go commute in NYC. how is this a good thing again?

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

      It saves a not insignificant amount of fuel.

      The system only kicks in under certain circumstances. For example, if you come to a stop light, put in the clutch, shift into neutral, then let off the clutch, the system will shut off the engine. Put the clutch back in to shift into first and the engine will have started again before you finish shifting and are ready to move. Meanwhile you weren’t idling that while time. You can also turn the system off.

      • Aurel

        how does it know when to do it on an A/T car?

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Eaves/100002517570191 Scott Eaves

          Aurel – explained in the 5th paragraph down in the article. I had a Honda Civic hybrid loaner once with the auto start/stop and it was pretty seamless. come to a stop, it shuts the engine off, take your foot off the brake and it starts right up.

        • Aurel

          thanks. i missed that. not sure how this is a good thing though …

        • BimmerFile_Michael

          In city driving it saves a good amount of fuel. We have had the system in our cars since we moved to Germany last year and we have run the numbers and for something that is truly non-evasive and that does not impact performance one bit it saves a good 3-5% of fuel which is truly savings at the pump here and it helps emissions as well.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Eaves/100002517570191 Scott Eaves

          For probably the first time ever, I’m in agreement with you. I’m glad it’s coming to the US. This will definitely help save on fuel.

        • BimmerFile_Michael

          @facebook-100002517570191:disqus See there is a first for everything! All kidding aside, I think you may have agreed with me more than you think ;)

    • Mysticeti

      This sort of tech has been used for many years in hybrids and I’ve yet to hear of any complaints. Far from it, the additional peace and quite is most welcome (in addition to the savings at the pump).

  • AstonM

    What happens to your a/c? If you are in stop-and-go traffic in PHX AZ for an hour, where reported temp is easily 118* (higher on the highway in traffic for sure,) what is going to happen to the cabin temp of your car? It’s a challenge for a passenger to wait in the car long enough for a petrol fill-up with the engine off around here, let alone face an afternoon commute without a/c. I really hope no one gets the bright idea to make auto start/stop mandatory.

    • les

      In our BMW, if the temp is over 90 the auto stop start won’t shut the engine off. If below 90 then the engine shuts off, everything else stays on. The a/c continues to blow, but it’s not cooled. Tolerable, but not cooled.

    • BimmerFile_Michael

      Not be a a pain but if you read the post it would have answered your question…

      “The system protects the engine by not allowing the start/stop function until the car is up to proper operating temperature. Likewise it won’t engage if the ambient temperature is too hot or cold or if the demands of the climate control are not being met. The system is able to be turned off manually, detects stop and go traffic (disengages) and can be overridden by turning the steering wheel or relaxing pressure on the brake pedal.”

  • otter

    I have seen override devices that claim to disable the start/stop in a manner that eliminates the need to deactivate it every time you start the car (assuming even that will be an option). Provided that a device like this actually works and doesn’t cause issues with the car or its warranty I guess I could live with start/stop being on the car; however, if it is not possible to disable the system in a manner at prevents it from coming on every time I start the car it becomes a deal breaker for me.

  • 2013 JCW

    So the 2013 JCWs won’t come with auto start/stop as mentioned in the World Premier: 2013 JCW MINIs on May 18, 2012?

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

      Not in the US

      via mobile

  • Rj

    Off-topic-is Bimmerfile still up and running? No new articles in 2 weeks it seems.

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

      Odd – we’ve had stories everyday since them. Can you tell me what you’re seeing and what on?

      via mobile

      • Hoover

        I noticed this, too. When you click on the link from the MotoringFile page to the BimmerFile page, it goes to a story from July 31. I refreshed and nothing happened. I typed in http://www.bimmerfile.com and the new posts showed up. Weird.

  • Bilbo Baggins

    US backwards about new things? Shocking!

Sort by MINI model

MotoringFile on Instagram

MINI Model Cheat Sheet

1st Gen MINI
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
R53: MCS Hatch
2nd Gen MINI
R55: Clubman
R56: Hatch
R57: Convertible
R58: Coupe
R59: Roadster
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F54: Clubman
F55: Five Door Hatch
F56: Hatch
F57: Convertible
F60: MINI Crossover
F58: Traveller

Advertise with MotoringFile

If you or your company are interested in advertising on the most influential MINI website in the world, please visit our Advertising section. If you have further questions about becoming a sponsor or would like to see our rate sheet please feel free to contact us directly.
mini mini
Translate MotoringFile with Google: 
2015 F56 JCW

MotoringFile Buyers Guides

R50 ('02-'06 MC) Buyers Guide
R53 ('02-'06 MCS) Buyers Guide



MotoringFile Reviews

'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
'04 MINI Cooper CVT
'02 MCS 3 year Review
Autocrossing the MINI Range