May 14th, 2011
One of our intrepid readers saw this last week on the Pacific California Highway and thought we should have a look. It would appear that MINI is testing some new Countryman variety in California. But with the R60 freshly dropped on dealer lots, what could MINI already be testing behind a BMW X1? The only apparent clue is the fact it has one small tailpipe.
We’ve have a couple theories but the one that seems by far most plausible is that this is one of the first looks at the forthcoming Countryman hybrid destined for a 2013-2014 introduction. The new hybrid has been hinted at before and our sources have dropped some pretty straightforward references to it. Based on our information it will be a plugin hybrid that will pack lithium ion batteries and the naturally aspirated MINI engine. Power figures are pretty foggy at this time but we’d guess it’ll be between the Cooper and Cooper S with an all electric propulsion below certain speeds.
(Full gallery after the break) continued →
Apr 22nd, 2011
We don’t get the brilliant MINI diesel engines here in the colonies, but what do the europeans think of them? One of our favorite automotive magazines, Evo, did a quick rundown on the SD engine in each of the MINI models. continued →
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.