Meet the N37; The F56 MINI’s Three Cylinder Engine

This week BMW brought the curtain up on the new family of three cylinder engines and the new front wheel drive BMW. Both are incredibly informative to us in understanding MINI’s future but it’s the new 1.5L three cylinder that we have the best view of.

The fact that the MINI was going to be getting a three cylinder engine in its next iteration has been blown for years of course. But would MINI be replacing all four cylinders with equivalent 3 bangers? Our sources are now telling us that looks unlikely for at least the first iteration of the next generation MINI family. Instead we now believe that MINI will likely continue to use an updated version of the four cylinder “Prince” engine for Cooper S and JCW models through at least 2015. That said we believe this engine will eventually range from under 100 hp to up to 200 in front wheel drive form.

We believe that MINI intends on spreading the three cylinders across the MINI One and Cooper models initially. Sources are telling us that power ratings should be slightly higher than the current range on both the three and four cylinder models. But it’s the efficiency gains and the weight losses that are the big story. We’ve been told to not be surprised to see US Spec Cooper achieve upper 40 mpg figures on the highway. Additionally the engines should be measurably lighter and allow for better weight distribution front to rear.

Ultimately we believe that the three cylinder engines will not only make their way to the hatch based models but also other MINIs as well. For instance don’t be surprised to see the base Cooper Countryman eventually get the ultra efficient power plant in a late cycle update.

Another update will be the packaging. In most markets MINI will be adding a hard plastic engine cover under the hood (or bonnet) designed to insulate the engine and make it cooler and more economically. How it works we don’t know but our sources were adamant that It could be a way for MINI to dress up the engine compartment while reducing noise and adding some level of efficiency.

The N37 will publicly debut in the front wheel drive BMW Active Sport Tourer shown at Paris this September. While it’s be officially labeled as a concept, it should be very close to production in technology and drivetrain – the very two things the new MINI hatch will be sharing with it when it hits the market in late 2013.

  • Boost

    The header is N37, but the URL is N38, which one?

    • BimmerFile_Michael

      it is the N37.

  • is that a dip stick on a BMW engine!?

    • BimmerFile_Michael

      It appears to be, maybe this is a MINI variant? The engines will have slight differences and that will more than likely be one of them. Only a few diesels have dipsticks these days.

  • Magnus

    Will the strongest 3-cyl be Cooper with slightly more power than today? Hope there will be a way to enjoy the 3-cyl but with more power and still have the warranty intact.

    • Magnus

      Cooper JCW with 160bhp??? Cooper S 190? Cooper S JCW 220 bhp?

      • SK12

        Probably more like base cooper 130-140hp, cooper S 200 hp and JCW 220-ish hp. Though this is just me guesstimating from what I’ve read so far. IT could be probable that the JCW could go higher in hp while the Cooper S jumps to 210, considering they stay with the 1.6 turbo 4 for the Cooper S and JCW.

        • Magnus

          Yes I was expecting the regular Cooper @ 130-140 bhp, but I feel the gap to the Cooper S is to big and that there is room for a JCW package for the regular Cooper lifting bhp about 15-25 bhp. I see no need for the four cyl when the displacment is only slightly larger. I belive the 3-cyl will be a massive hit due to economy, sound and character.

  • BimmerFile_Michael

    The range topping N37 will be 220 hp or thereabouts. It is still within reason the only engine that will remain 4 cylinder in the F56 will be the JCW as it just was updated, the rest of the lineup will see the 3 cylinder trickle in over the rest of the life cycle- BMW has a history of doing this so it is nothing new to the group. The F20 1 Series hatch will also be getting this engine sooner than later, phasing out the Prince engine that just debuted there this Spring.

    The other thing to consider in all this is that PSA is strapped for cash, is hemorrhaging money and is likely backing out of the BMW joint venture in hybrids- so the idea that BMW will be producing the 3 cylinder in Hams Hall is significant to what engines will end up where. BMW will also not support PSA is they are not upholding their end of the agreement.

    SOP is rumored to be 3/13 for the BMW CAT and 9/13 for the F56…

    • ulrichd

      Sorry, “SOP”?

      • BimmerFile_Michael

        @ulrichd Start of Production… my bad 🙂

        • ulrichd


    • SK12

      Will the JCW engine be tuned for extra power and is it also receiving new transmissions as detailed in the latest F56 article?

      • BimmerFile_Michael

        It is peculiar why the JCW did not receive more of a boost now… it is entirely possible to get a boost in the next gen though I have not heard that as of this time and with the GP numbers final, from a marketing standpoint it makes limited sense.

        • SK12

          The extra power–however much they can get out of it–should still make the car better on gas considering the lighter weight and a new 6MT and either a DCT or a new auto option.

  • Kev50027

    I’m sad to hear MINI will begin covering up the engine as BMW did a while back. One of the things I like about my car is that I can see the engine, while a glance under the good of any current BMW just shows a huge slab of black plastic.

  • GP0256

    Finally you don’t have to pull off the entire front of the car to change an alternator!!!

  • yetti96

    I’m excited to see that the dipstick doesn’t go through the timing chain guide rails, but now it goes to the oil pan…as it should. Hopefully this dipstick will be easier to read and people won’t drive their cars with only a couple of quarts of oil because they cant read the level..