Ask MF: Is a MINI Diesel Still Happening for the US?

We’ve been telling you for awhile now that MINUSA is bringing a MINI diesel to the US. But the big question is when? With that MF reader Rick Talbot (Current owner of a ’15 R59 S & a BMW F31 sport wagon) wants to know if VW’s recent woes have destroyed MINIs plans or emboldened them?

“With all the recent VW Diesel issues and lower fuel prices (albeit recently rising again) do you really think MINI will bring the new Countryman to the U.S. in Diesel format? I’d certainly be interested in learning if this is still a real possibility as we have a car coming off lease in early 2017.”

The easy answer is that we don’t know. Our diesel sources have gone quiet in the past few months and we can’t help but wonder if that is due to a rethink given the diesel market place in the US taking a VW shaped nose dive. Or is it simply the quiet before the storm?

So let’s turn the question to you. If MINI releases a Countryman Cooper SD in about a years time, would you be interested?

  • karrock

    Damn straight I’ll take an oil burning MINI! The good kind anyway, MPGs notwithstanding. And as long as it doesn’t cost as much as their hybrid (guess we’re only getting the plug-in variety?).

    Cost of diesel and premium unleaded can vary but they’re both usually a fair sight more than regular unleaded anyway. So I’d be torn between the two, but it’s nice to have the choice in powertrains.

  • glangford

    I have a F30 diesel. I love it. Lots of torque, tremendous mileage. My recent long range trip averaged about 49 mpgs. I would think a mini could beat that significantly. I’m not sure though with this climate of cheap gas and diesel if the economics are favorable. When I bought my 328d diesel was 3.79, premium gas a bit more. I filled up with diesel last weekend at 1.89. Had prices been this cheap when I bought the 328d, I might have considered the 328i.

    BMW still seems to have problems with carbon build up in diesels. If you get one you can count on an expensive walnut shell blasting at 60-100k miles. It is more involved than doing it for a gasser as well. The 335d e90 was bad about this, the jury is still out on the 328d f30. Time will tell.

  • EvanHVYWGHT

    It needs a manual. If there was a RWD manual diesel option here on the F30 or F31 I’d probably go for it. A manual Countryman diesel would be awesome- especially as the UKL platform X1 drives pretty well before the MINI treatment.

  • Neal

    Naw… I’ll just hold out for the EV… Skipping the “efficient diesel” route…

  • Jan Wojcik

    While I drive a MB 250 GLK and love the diesel for it’s torque and mileage, I just don’t see the value of a diesel in a small car that already gets good mileage. I rent diesel cars when in Europe, but that has more to do with the cost of diesel in France and Switzerland. Last several rentals were Audi A1 with the VAG diesel. Absolutely crude compared to the Benz. Additionally, my impression with BMW 4 cyl motors is that they are not the smoothest it quietest on the market. Drove a 328d and was disappointed. I just don’t see the bean counters letting MINI waste money on a niche car. Thumbs down.

  • Mark @ MINI of the Main Line

    I agree with Jan. Diesels are cool, but in a small car that already gets 30mpg on the highway – it’s not as attractive. I’ve noticed that diesel is generally about 20% more in terms of fuel cost, and even if the car gets 20% better fuel economy, you still need to make up for the increased cost of the car. (which we don’t know yet) With the black eye that VW has put on the whole diesel situation, I could see MINI not making a run at the idea. Financially, it could be a tough sell.

    • Chris Harte

      I’d say this holds true with converting new would-be gasoline buyers into purchasing a diesel, but it seems people that already own a diesel powered vehicle would be the primary share of customers. Those of us that maybe own or would like to own a diesel car generally complain about the lack of variety in the current US marketplace. I don’t see this group really whining about how they regret having a diesel as a result of VW’s dieselgate. Although there is a stop sale (or was) on VW diesels, VW as a brand continues to provide strong sales numbers and has really been unaffected volume wise.

      What works well for VW and most manufacturers that provide the option in Europe are a combination of a few factors; their fuel prices, insurance rates, and the fact that more or less diesel power has reached critical mass for those and other economical reasons.

      • Mark @ MINI of the Main Line

        I agree that the Euro market is vastly different from the US market, and there is a big financial risk for MINI to throw their hat in the ring for diesel. VW sales have slipped, but not by a huge amount. I don’t think the diesel issue has hurt them (VW) as much as the media would like you to believe. I’m in favor of seeing a diesel MINI here, but I don’t think it will happen. My sister replaced her R50 (that i sold her new in 2003) with a 2013 TDI Golf based partly on my recommendation. She loves it, she is just disappointed in the whole issue. Many of the clients I have, use the MINI as an around town car, and mileage isn’t their first priority. It will be interesting to see how it all works out.

    • glangford

      Actually, it’s been cheaper than unleaded premium for quite a while now. In fact for a bit it dipped below unleaded regular for a while. It tends to have the opposite cycle of gas. Cheaper in the summer and costs go up a bit in winter as diesel competes with number 2 fuel oil for home heating in the NE.

      I still think they should bring one over, particularly if they can minimize the carbon build up problem. People have very short term memory. I saw an article yesterday talking about folks ditching hybrids and plug ins because of cheap gas. It won’t take much and prices can sky rocket. One must remember that the current cheap period was orchestrated by the Saudis and OPEC to hamper the growing US oil industry. It’s much cheaper for them to extract oil than it is in the US. Once we’ve shut down those wells, which is already happening, costs will go back up. A quick mid east crisis or a string of gulf hurricanes and gas will be right back up there. I paid 4.79 a gallon for unleaded regular in 2004 after the string of hurricanes culminating in Katrina.

  • TROY FRENCH

    Probably not right away, but if it were a Clubman SD or even Clubman Hybrid I would be all over it.

  • SM0R3S

    YES!