Jan 23rd, 2011
You likely read last week in our interview with MINI USA Product Manager Vinnie Kung. But we wanted to go over the decision and talk about what the broader picture of MINI’s engine line-up in the US.
First off MINI will clearly be without a diesel in the line-up in the US. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be alternatives. But before we get to that let’s recap what was said in the interview. MINI USA had planned on bringing over the Cooper D for the 2010 model year as early as 2007. The plan was to use the engine without urea injection until 2015 when new EPA rules would go into effect. However the 2008 worldwide economic collapse brought some unfortunately realities to BMW and all non-essential projects were cancelled.
Fast forward to 2009 and MINI USA was once again ready to get started selling diesels. However a new problem emerged when the EPA moved up a key date for cleaner emissions and thus urea injection became a mandatory. MINI USA investigated the idea and talked to everyone with the design and manufacturing process. The answer wasn’t pretty. The cost would be staggering considering the body in white would have to be altered to make room for the urea injection system. Once again the plan was shelved.
As we enter 2011 MINI USA is offering two petrol powered 1.6L engines with solid efficiency and good performance. But we all know that the MPG numbers both achieve will look antiquated in a few years. MINI and BMW knows this and engineers are busy within Germany working on the next generation of MINI powerplants. continued →
Jan 21st, 2011
For the past 4-5 years we’ve been hearing from our US readers one question over and over again; when will we see a MINI Diesel. Capable of over 50 mpg (US) and loaded with torque the Cooper D has been a standout product for MINI around the world. And the forthcoming Cooper SD promises similar efficiency with even more performance.
So over the course of our time at NAIAS a plan was hatched that would allow MINI USA to respond to the question in a definitive manner. And of course that meant turning to MINI USA Product Manager Vinnie Kung.
MotoringFile: As definitively as possible, can you tell us and our readers the state of a MINI Diesel in the US market?
Vinnie Kung (MINI USA Product Manager): This may read like a short novel, but just wanted to be as transparent as possible and to share our experiences. I’m sure other manufacturers have been down this same road, except for VW, who, as a large-volume manufacturer, has the benefit of spreading costs over many times the number of cars as we do. MINI is a small group and we like it that way.
I’ve been on a personal mission to get Diesels here in the US since 2007. I’ve owned oil burners myself (PowerStroke F-250, X5 35d) and love the purring clatter of a Diesel that let’s everyone know that you’re smarter than the current crop of Prius drivers on the road. Couple that with incredible fuel economy, great drivability and the 40% increase in fuel economy, it is so obvious that we should have a MINI Diesel in the US. While many people think we’ve been dragging our feet and that we’re anti-Diesel, the opposite is true. I know many claim that they have gone to other makes because we don’t have the Diesel here, but we hope we can win them back. We’ve been pressing for years and despite the countless years that we’ve working on it, we have come close enough to taste the low-sulfur Diesel but were never able make the play on prom night. So let’s talk about how things went down from behind the scenes. continued →
Jan 14th, 2011
We’ve reported that a Cooper SD was coming in the Spring of 2011 for quite some time, now we have semi-official proof. We’ve received word from an inside source that MINI will debut the Cooper SD in Geneva. Expect a web debut a little earlier sometime in Febuary.
Powered by a 2.0L 143 hp BMW turbo diesel, the new line will include the hatch, convertible, Clubman, Countryman and Countryman All4. We don’t have specific torque numbers (225 ft-lbs is rumored), but we’re told it’s the most torque to ever make it into a production MINI. Here’s the kicker: the Cooper SD will reportedly earn an impressive 65 mpg (on the EU cycle)!
Jan 11th, 2011
Todd and I sat down with head of MINI Engineering Oliver Friedman and MINI USA Product Manager Vinnie Kung today at NAIAS 2011. We hit all the topics as requested:
- JCW (lack and standard equippment
- Hot turbos and engine issues
- 3 Cylinders
- Stop/Start tech
- Clean diesels
In short we didn’t hold back on the tough questions. But we also had a great time chatting with two people that are clearly passionate about the MINI brand. continued →
Nov 22nd, 2010
Although some of us are very “get off my lawn” when it comes to MINI diesel talk (since we’re highly unlikely to ever see one of these brilliant oil burners on US soil), MotorAuthority.com has got spy shots of the upcoming Countryman SD. Aside from the diesel badging on the boot hatch, there doesn’t seem to be anything visually differentiating it from its petrol-loving siblings.
Sep 15th, 2010
One of the worst kept secrets of the MINI world has been the Cooper SD. We reported on it almost a year ago and have even shown you pictures of the engine. Now MINI has been caught red-handed by Worldcarfans.com with a pre-production model out on the streets of Munich.
First some facts. This engine is a modified version of the 2.0 turbo diesel found in the BMW 1 and 3 Series. We expect that it will produce around 141 hp (143 PS) and 221 ft lbs of torque. That’s around 20 ft lbs more than a JCW. Most news outlets are reporting that it will have some unique bodywork. We believe (based on photos and sources) that there will be no difference in the way this car looks over the standard Cooper S with the exception of the lower plastic grille. In an effort to allow for more cooling MINI has opened the mesh pattern up further. Otherwise the little “D” badge on the back will be the only way to tell the two apart. continued →
Aug 30th, 2010
Our friends at Bigblogg have scooped the first technical info of the upcoming BMW diesel that will power the Cooper S D. While we’ve reported (along with a few other outlets) that the engine was coming, this is the first confirmed power figure.