MINI Celebrates 10 Years of Diesel
If there’s one thing offered on MINI’s abroad that’s been coveted by US MINI enthusiasts, it’s diesel power train. With the debut of the F56, many US MINI fans are waiting with bated breath to hear official news of the much-teased Cooper SD power plant making its way to our shores. We haven’t received that confirmation yet, but we do know that MINI USA is trying to make the case. If the numbers line up, we’ll see possibly the Cooper D or Cooper SD become available in the US MINI lineup.
Why care? Many dismiss diesel as an outdated technology only fit for tractor-trailer rigs and hippies. The reality is that diesel, especially in the MINI range, offers two things that MINI fans should care about: fuel-efficiency and torque. In fact, the second most fun I ever had in a MINI was flogging a Clubman SD up the Autobahn between Vienna and Munich — zipping aggressively around cars, watching 100 mph come and go (in Km/h) and still getting about 54 mpg. Big torque on a small car is a great combination. In the Countryman, the SD had much of the needed grunt found in the JCW, and mates especially well with the ALL4 system. It’s these larger MINIs, the diesel makes the most sense. With the expected bumps in efficiency from the new generation of MINI petrol engines, diesel might make its best case in the cars on duty for hauling more than just ass.
Outside the US, it’s been ten years of diesels offered in the MINI lineup. Read on for MINI’s official recap.
Official Release: One man, one engine, and no end of anniversaries: it was 120 years ago that Rudolf Diesel started developing the compression-ignition engine that was soon to be named after him. The very first prototype completed its test run in August of that same year. The first diesel engine factory was founded 115 years go. The engine invented by Diesel was used in ships for the first time 110 years ago, and it has been 90 years since the first diesel-powered truck went on the road. The MINI was first fitted with a diesel engine ten years ago. Each of these anniversaries is reason enough to celebrate the qualities of the diesel engine – and to commemorate its inventor, who died exactly 100 years ago.
Maximum efficiency was the driving force that inspired Rudolf Diesel to develop his novel engine. His design was based on heating the air in the combustion chamber by means of compression to such an extent that the fuel around it would ignite and release large amounts of energy. This is why the diesel engine has such a high level of efficiency. The fact that this principle also generates hallmark MINI driving fun was first demonstrated in the summer of 2003, when the MINI One D was presented as the first diesel model of the premium British small car brand. Its 1.4-litre all-aluminium turbodiesel with common rail direct injection had an output of 55 kW/75 bhp. It combined the characteristic MINI go-kart feeling with an average fuel consumption on the EU test cycle of 4.8 litres per 100 kilometres.
But this was just the beginning of the diesel engine’s career in the MINI. Two years later the MINI One D was upgraded to 65 kW/88 bhp, and though its performance figures increased, fuel consumption remained constant. 2007 saw the launch of the next stage of development: the Geneva Motor Show was the setting for the world premiere of the MINI Cooper D. In this model, the new 1.6-litre turbodiesel now delivered 80 kW/110 bhp. The car’s fuel consumption was reduced yet again in spite of a 25 per cent increase in power output, while 4.4 litres per 100 kilometres once again put MINI ahead of the competition in terms of efficiency.
Thanks to MINIMALISM, however, this was still not the last word. The current MINI models with diesel engines are fitted with further refined injection technology, turbochargers with variable turbine geometry, auto start/stop function, shift point display, brake energy regeneration, on-demand operation of ancillary units, electromechanical steering and cutting-edge exhaust gas purification technology. The result: 120 years after Rudolf Diesel made his pioneering invention, the engine of the MINI Cooper D provides an impressive peak output of 82 kW/112 bhp, a maximum torque of 270 Newton metres at 1,750 rpm , a fuel consumption on the EU test cycle of 3.8 litres per 100 kilometres and CO2 emissions of 99 grams per kilometre.
As MINI diesel technology was consistently refined, the variety of engines which functioned according to this principle increased. There are now three diesel engines available to choose from for the MINI. Their common design features reflect the outstanding development expertise of the BMW Group in the field of engine technology. An aluminium crankcase, turbocharger with variable turbine geometry, common rail direct injection with solenoid-valve injectors and a powerful engine control system geared towards each specific model guarantee a level of efficiency which impressively confirms Rudolf Diesel’s vision of an “ideal thermal machine”.
The latest generation of the MINI One D is powered by a 1.6-litre engine which delivers 66 kW/90 bhp and a maximum torque of 215 Newton metres that goes on stream at 1,750 rpm. Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are the same as those of the 82 kW/112 bhp MINI Cooper D. The entry-level diesel engine is also available in the models MINI Clubman and MINI Countryman, transferring its power via a 6-speed manual transmission in each case. For the MINI Cooper D there is also the option of a 6-speed automatic transmission which is combined with a 2.0-litre version of the 4-cylinder engine in each model version. The choice between the two variants applies to the MINI, MINI Clubman, MINI Convertible, MINI Countryman and MINI Paceman.
The latest and most powerful way to experience the kind of pulling power and efficiency so typical of a diesel engine is provided by the MINI Cooper SD. Also operating with a capacity of 2.0 litres, this 4-cylinder power unit generates a peak output of 105 kW/143 bhp and provides a maximum torque of 305 Newton metres between 1,750 and 2,700 rpm. And this engine offers exemplary economy as well as supreme power delivery. The MINI Cooper SD sprints from zero to 100 km/h in just 8.1 seconds, achieving a top speed of 215 km/h. Its average fuel consumption on the EU test cycle is 4.3 litres to 100 kilometres, with CO2 emissions of 114 grams per kilometre.
The most powerful diesel in the MINI engine portfolio is available for all seven models – the MINI, MINI Clubman, MINI Convertible, MINI Coupé, MINI Roadster, MINI Countryman and MINI Paceman. In each model it is combined as standard with a 6-speed manual transmission or else an optional 6-speed automatic transmission. Its power can also be optionally transmitted to all four wheels by means of the all-wheel drive system ALL4 in the MINI Cooper SD Countryman and the MINI Cooper SD Paceman.
As the range of variants has expanded, so the popularity of the diesel engine in MINI models has continuously increased. Despite the fact that the market for this engine type is largely focused within Europe, nearly one in four MINIs supplied to customers in 2012 was fitted with a diesel.
Written By: Nathaniel Salzman
Sort by MINI model
- The 2015 MINI Clubman Hits the ‘Ring
- Exclusive: An Early Look at the 2nd Generation 2018 MINI Countryman
- MINI Final Final Test Drive Winner Announced
- White Roof Radio #506
- MotoringFile Review: The 2014 MINI Cooper Manual
- MINI’s Final Test Test Drive Videos are Up and They Are Hilarious
- (UPDATED WITH OFFICIAL STATEMENT) MINI USA Delaying all Cooper Deliveries Due to Defect
- MINI USA Sales Down 40% for March While Waiting for F56
- MINI Shoots and Scores: The MINI Paceman GoalCooper
- Fancy a Cooper T?
MotoringFile on Instagram
- BMW Investigating Building 3 Series Plant in North America
- BMW Team RLL Race Results at Long Beach
- BMW Team RLL Qualifies Second and Third at Long Beach
- Video: BMW M235i More Than a Bargain M?
- BMWi Video: The Carbon Fiber Journey
- World Debut: BMW X5 eDrive Concept
- BMW Voluntarily Recalls 156,137 Vehicles to Fix Variable Camshaft Issue
- Comparing the M235i to the M36 M3
- BMW Sell 200,000 Vehicles in a Month For The First Time Ever
- The M4 Convertible and What Else to Expect at the NYC Autoshow Next Week
- Three Houston Scooterists To Run the Cannonball for Cancer Charity
- Piaggio Group Worldwide Profits Plunged in 2013
- Opinion: Will the Vespa Sprint Hurt 946 Sales?
- Yamaha Unveils the Tricity 3-wheel Scooter
- Vespa Officially Announces the 2015 Sprint
- Video: A Baja Vespa Surf Adventure
- The Piaggio / Vespa Rumor Roundup
- Review: Hands-on With the Genuine Buddy 170i Brit Special Edition
- BMW Recalls C-Series Scooters Over Side Stand Switch Issue
- Review: 2014 Stella 125 Automatic First Ride
MINI Model Cheat Sheet
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
R53: MCS Hatch
2nd Gen MINI
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F55: Five Door Hatch
F60: MINI Crossover
Advertise with MotoringFile
MotoringFile Buyers GuidesR50 ('02-'06 MC) Buyers Guide
R53 ('02-'06 MCS) Buyers Guide
'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
BMW M3 SMG Vs. MCS
'04 MINI Cooper CVT
'02 MCS 3 year Review
Autocrossing the MINI Range