MINI’s Next Generation N37 3 Cylinder Engine: Hearing is Believing

One of the biggest concerns about MINI’s upcoming three cylinder (after power) is sound. What do three cylinders sound like compared to the current four? Based on first-hand experiences and the video after the break, pretty promising. The three cylinder has a healthy warble and sounds decidedly more aggressive than the current Cooper 1.6L four.

Keep in mind that we believe (thanks to several inside sources) that the N37 three cylinder will debut on the MINI One, One D, Cooper and Cooper D as the F56 MINI launches late next year. The Cooper S will retain the Prince engine for the time being before eventually switching over.

As for transmissions, what we see below is a rear drive application of the 3 cylinder mated to BMW’s amazing 8 speed auto. What will MINI have remains to be seen. But we believe it’s likely either an 8 or 9 speed lightening quick automatic with a six speed manual standard.

But how does it sound? Click through to find out.

Source: Paultan

  • Brian

    not too shabby

  • R.Burns

    love it

  • I love the grunt and tiny whir as the revs bounce around between shifts! Imagine this with a JCW exhaust system if the opportunity ever arises!

  • Ian

    pretty sharp shifts, too, eh?

  • walk0080

    Not bad at all. Sounds better than a lot of 4-cylinder engines. Look forward to seeing the next 3 or 4-cyl JCW mills. The current MINI needs a transmission like that. Rediculous that the current gen does not have rev-matching downshifts.

  • Jeff H

    Yes, it sounds very good. I have a comment on the transmission. Eight speeds with manual shift option?!? Who wants to shift that much? In my 6 speed manual, I only went through typically four gears in city driving. I certainly hope that some of these upper gears are “highway only” type gears to improve real world hwy fuel mileage. Most cars today are tuned to receive the best mpg at about 55 mph in top gear. I would like to see these higher gears being used to also improve mpg at 80 mph where many folks actually drive on the hwy, and not just making us row through more gears in the city. Is there any indication from your sources about this?

    • The proof is in the marketplace: even GM and Ford are developing 10 speed units.

      • Jeff H

        Yes, but are any of these extra speeds going to be used to improve mileage over 55 mph?

    • Gear ratios are only part of the efficiency equation. Gear a car too high and you’ll be so far out of the power band that the engine will actually be less efficient at a given speed. This is especially true at higher speeds. The force of air resistance isn’t linear. As speed doubles, drag increases by four. This is why Bugatti needs 1000+ horsepower to get the Veyron above 250 mph.

      So while higher gearing can help, aerodynamic improvements and weight reduction tend to make a more profound difference if you’re looking for high-speed efficiency. If power output (especially low end torque) is optimized for a given gear ratio, there’s a sweet spot of engine output that can aid in efficiency as well, but it’s tricky to tune for that AND for power/performance.

      These multi-speed transmissions will bring efficiency gains with them, but we’re talking small, incremental percentages.

  • Jay

    I love the sound! Just imagine that in a roadster 🙂

  • goat

    Just like I had speculated… the relative coarseness of the I3 is actually a plus rather than a minus. It has the growly sound of an old school medium displacement I4 running an open intake. In an age of very boring engine notes, this is a good thing. 🙂