If MINI USA Brings a Diesel, Would you Consider it?

As we reported almost a year ago, several of our sources have indicated that MINI USA is currently planning to bring at least one diesel model to the US. We believe this model incorporate the “SD” version of the BMW Group 2.0L diesel engine that produces 143hp and a healthy 225 lf-ft of torque in EU spec. What does that translate into? In the current R56 hatch it means 8.1 seconds 0-60 and efficiency anywhere from 57-65 mpg on the Euro cycle. That translates into something likely close to 50 mpg on the highway for the R56 and, likely 5-7 mpg less for the Countryman. All told pretty astounding efficiency with very respectable performance.

But if it comes, it will at a price. We’d expect the premium over the standard Cooper S to be anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 – at least. And we also expect it to be available on the Countryman and Paceman exclusively with the 3 cylinder petrol powered F56 Cooper returning similar efficiency figures.

So with those numbers in mind, is a diesel MINI something you’d consider if you’re in the US? Would you pay for more efficiency with added torque?

Background on the Diesel

Our friends at BimmerFile have long held the belief that BMW missed the mark with its most recent 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 could MINI finally get over that investment hurdle? By partnering with BMW and theoretically sharing costs across the X3, 3 Series sedan, wagon and both the Countryman and Paceman, the unit cost of a proposed MINI Diesel 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. Additionally the forthcoming 1.5L 3 cylinder Cooper will achieve similar MPG figures. Because of all of this, we don’t expect any MINIs other than the Countryman and its derivatives to receive the diesel treatment in the US.

This 2.0L diesel will likely be the recently tweaked version of the engine. BimmerFile’s sources have told them that BMW and MINI’s US market diesel engines will be offered with a revised Exhaust Gas Recirculation and Diesel Emissions Fluid (AdBlue urea injection) dosing system to meet US emissions standards.

While this information comes to BimmerFile from a very reliable sources, there’s still some grey area. Because of that we’re are classifying this as not confirmed at this time. 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.

  • Neal

    I would buy a Countryman SD in a heart beat.

  • R.Burns

    One advice : don’t buy before a trial ! 😉 (some could be quite disappointed…)

    • tobi

      i totally agree with you. I’ve had a diesel mini and the experience wasn’t the best (noisy, not fun to drive)… reviews of the SD are not the best here…

      • BimmerFile_Michael

        The previous MINI diesels were not from BMW’s current crop- the Countryman SD has been glowingly reviewed here.

        • R.Burns

          Same technology, same tractor sound

        • Dr Obnxs

          Not even close….. Get a ride in a modern diesel and you will be shocked. What I don’t get is how people aligh with tech, instead of results. Ask a traditional racer about full torque at low RPM, even zero, they get a woodie. Tell them it’s an electric motor and they go “don’t wanna hear about it”….. diesels have come a long way, that’s for sure. For heavier cars, it’s the best! The Countryman suffers from an appallling lack of low RPM grunt, cause even the top of the line motor is undermatched to the task. The diesel high torque at low RPM is just what the doctor ordered!

  • I would buy an F56 SD!!

  • Sure, if the test drive checks OK, I would consider a diesel Clubman.

  • Bob Sholtes

    A diesel Paceman sounds like the ideal replacement for my wife’s Clubman.

  • les

    Only if it came with the 8-speed auto.

  • Bob S

    NO !

  • charlie

    in a heart beat that would be great

  • birddog2

    A Roadster that sounds funny, smells bad and goes slower, NO

    • R.Burns

      Except that the SD does’nt sound at all… 😉

      • R.Burns

        Oh, the tractor sound at idle, I forgot

      • birddog2

        But my 1.6 LS Turbo Roadster sounds GOOD.

  • Mark


  • cp3657197

    yeah yeah yeah!

  • The Cooper SD Clubman I drove on the Autobahn two years ago remains one of my most fun MINI experiences to date. That motor in an All4 Paceman just might finally tempt me away from my R53.

  • b-

    Is this a serious question that Motoringfile didn’t know the answer to? The readers said for YEARS that they wanted a diesel! The question you should be asking is, “if it were offered and you test drove it would you buy one?”

    It is clear that high MPG is not the reason we read Motoringfile, it is about the feel of the car and how it performs, if the SD could perform like the petrol version and get bette milage then I am sure that everyone here would consider it.

    With the F56 coming in lighter than the R56, the new 3 cylinder engine is this even going to happen? I know that it a numbers game and will the numbers be there?

    • R.Burns

      “it is about the feel of the car…” That is exactly the problem when you drive a 143hp diesel car i have the feeling some people don’t imagine how boring it is to drive, compared to the classical 184hp Trust european people… Make your own experience…

      • I’ve driven both the Clubman SD and the Countryman SD and found that neither was boring to drive. Quite the opposite, in fact.

      • Aaron

        Funny…I find that given the option between my beloved MINI Cooper S R53 and my 140 hp VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI, I’ve been finding myself in the VW lately. I don’t find it boring to drive, it has better ride quality and plenty of torque. If I know I’m going to be hitting some twisty roads over to the coast, I’ll take the MINI, but for driving down the 101, I’m in the VW TDI. And I’m not bored (never bored in a manual).

        • I considered trading in my R53 on the VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI a few years back when I reached the end of my warranty. It was definitely a fun car on the test drive. Not nearly as much character, but not a bad car.

  • JBFromOZ

    I have 10,500 kms down on an SD All4 countryman manual, from day one til now, the fuel is sitting at 7.2L/100kms, my MY05 JCW MCS was closer to 11.5L/100kms. I love the car, but it is not a racecar. I still have my license though 😉

  • Why wouldn’t I want a diesel Countryman is the better question

  • bavarian racing green

    …yes, yes, and yes…

  • BimmerFile_Michael

    First- Let’s clarify! The motor will be exclusively used in the Countryman and the Paceman; nothing else if the green light is given. The 3 cylinder gas engine will return almost identical EPA numbers when in the the other FXX models so the wait for a hatch will continue as it almost a non-starter in that application at this time. The improved torque and efficiency will impact the Countryman and Paceman the most- they also have the most (extra) room to donate towards the urea injection storage tanks. We’ve hear this all before, so it should not come as a surprise, but it has taken a turn towards reality with BMW bringing the 20d engine over… but once again this is still a rumor as unlike BMW making announcements MINI has been “officially” mum.

  • Not me. Doing a quick calculation using current local fuel prices ($3.84 preimum $4.15 diesel in Niagara Falls, NY) I figure that you will have to drive over 37,000 miles before you would see any savings in the extra mileage diesel gives.

    • BimmerFile_Michael

      Since most people that buy keep it for 100K miles this is really a bargain then… isn’t it?

      • That’s what I’m thinking. If I purchase a diesel, it’s for the long haul as the longevity would be part of the appeal.

        • BimmerFile_Michael

          I have this engine (minus the Adblue) in our 2012 F20 1 Series hatch and I am getting around 50 mpg mixed and 55+ on the highway. Weight wise it should be close with the CM off the top of my head.

  • Jason

    I would want one in either an F56 or Paceman. I commute 60+ miles to work everyday, and would love the efficiency. The torque would be great for a daily driver as well.

  • mkortering

    Yep – I’d trade my ’12 ALL4 for it – if I could get the stick and ALL4…in a heart beat.

  • wetwolf

    in a F56 SD with 50 mpg, yes. In a F56 SD with 42 mpg, no. I figure you are getting close to the pricing of the A3 TDI and you better beat it in some aspect.

    • The diesel engine would only be available in the Countryman or Paceman. The 3 cylinder petrol engine in the forthcoming F6 Cooper will have similar MPG figures.

      • Ryephile

        MINI has been teasing the USA with Diesel since 2002. If MINI wants to recover the attention of the Diesel faithful, they need a new 1.5L 3-cyl turbo-Diesel that at least matches VW’s GTD engine for HP and torque per displacement. That means a Cooper D hardtop with 130 HP and 194 LbFt. A 7-speed manual would bring them back to Par. Obviously they have to price it under a Golf GTD, or there’s no point.

        To MINI: stop beating around the bush and belly up to the table with some legit offerings! If you want to capture the awe and wonder you did back in 2002, you have to actually try to blaze some new trails instead of pandering to the lowest-common-denominator.

        • The three cylinder BMW diesel is coming and will be more impressive than the VW diesel. However BMW Group can’t compete with VW on pricing generally because it’s a small independent automaker. It doesn’t have the buying power of the corporate behemoth that is the VW group. Therefore it has to rely on better tech which it often has.

  • Cooper S Hardtop, yes!

  • that.guy

    I would “consider” anything, but for now am content with my 20mpg AWD über sedan.

  • Double no!

  • Electric / hybrid or bust!

  • glangford

    40-45 mpg for a countryman. Whats not to like? But you can get about the same mileage out of a golf tdi, jetta wagon, or audi a3. Price wise it needs to be competitive. I’d love to see it though.

  • gruswitz

    I’d want to take it for a test drive first, but cost wise it doesn’t make much difference. By my calculation if premium locally is $3.99, diesel $4.29, if mpg is 32 vs 44 respectively, and there is a $2500 premium for the Countryman SD, it would take 92,000 miles to start having savings. CO2 output is similar as well. It would come down to the driving fun. I’d love to give it a try. I think the added torque may help the Countryman SD a fair bit as reviewed.

  • minipuma

    Would definitely consider the diesel.

  • I changed my mind. I would by a MINI D if they offered up these:

  • Bilbo Baggins

    I’d buy a diesel MINI, just not in a Countryman.

  • Robyn

    Would I consider a diesel? Absolutely. If it only comes in a hideous Countryman or Paceman? Absolutely not! Fortunately for my wallet, MINI has yet to come up with anything that can make me even remotely consider giving up my R53.

  • Kage

    I won’t buy a Countryman UNTIL it comes in a diesel or hybrid. Bring it on!

  • Aaron

    Unfortunately, I couldn’t wait any longer for MINI USA to get their $*&@ together on diesels and am now out of the market for one, having just bought a VW Sportwagen TDI (6MT). The torque and HP numbers you are citing are very close to what VW/Audi puts out (140 HP, 236 lbs ft torque). But the VW costs $25K. It’s not like my R53, but it’s a pretty good ride for a family of 4 and the <$25K I paid for it. Mileage so far is around 40 mpg in mixed driving in the SF Bay Area.

    I would LOVE to see MINI USA bring an SD to the Hardtop, Convertible, Clubman and the Countryman. The keys that MINI needs to do on this is make it available as a manual transmission (the 335d was automatic only…grrr), and try to keep costs low.

    They will be competing against VW and Audi in this market in the US. Between an Audi A3 TDI and a MINI Countryman SD, I imagine prices would be similar. The only reason (as far as I can tell) to buy and Audi A3 over the VW Sportwagen is the styling (weights are nearly the same). Same engine, etc. So In this case, MINI would be competing with the Audi A3 on price, styling (please no LED DRL's EVER, MINI!!!), and standard features vs. available options. In that case, I'd personally go MINI. However, with the VW Sportwagen likely $5K to $10K lower (with a fantastic standard features), it could be a tough sell.

  • Pyrrhusmj


  • L

    YES! YES! YES! YES! I’ve been waiting or a diesel cooper since 2002. Please MINI bring the diesels here! I’d rather not have a countryman, but I’ll consider it. If MINI bring over the Cooper coupes, I’ll run, not walk to get one!

  • Jono


  • CP3657197


  • LucB

    Yes! They should make the Countryman and the Paceman Diesel! That would be the only reason to get one. I love my 09 Mini Hardtop S with the 1.6 turbo, I was just talking about this yesterday. I get around 40 mpg now, it would be outstanding to get 50-60 with a diesel!

  • jbaillie

    I would buy one in a heart beat. Been wanting the diesel version for 4 years…please bring to US.

  • jbaillie

    Diesel cars are less air polluting the regular petrol cars. You are thinking of the big semi trucks there birddog2. Have a VW Jetta diesel and it burns cleaner than my wife’s Ford Edge and gets 54 mpg. Bring the Mini Diesel to the US.

  • firstcarmini

    I would go for a mini diesel roadster. Good mileage, excellent lifespan of a diesel. More torque so you feel like you have more hp. Why not. Probably the only one that would but I think it would be great. My first car was a 1960 morris mini. I have had a real classic cooper S and various other first generation mini’s Not to mention the car I imported from the Netherlands. Most recent 2006 mini cooper S convertible. What a fun car…. I like the look of the roadster though…. But I have been around mini’s all my life with my Father round track racing one and then auto-crossing the Blue Max mini with hardly ever lost a race…