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 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 12th, 2010
New figures from the EPA confirm that the MINI Cooper remains one of the most fuel-efficient cars you can own. It’s tops in its class and right in there with the best performers from its surrounding car classes as well. See the numbers and get the full PDF after the break. continued →
Oct 28th, 2010
For the unfamiliar on this side of the Atlantic, the city of London tries to keep traffic congestion down in the heart of the city by charging certain kinds of vehicles a Congestion Charge of as much as Â£10 a day to be in certain areas of the city. However, if you drive a high-efficiency or zero-emission vehicle such as a hybrid or a MINI E, the charge is waived. The good news for MINI One D and Cooper D owners is that London mayor Boris Johnson has just announced revamped Congestion Charge regulations that now count these high-efficiency MINIs as exempt from Congestion Charges starting in January 2011. Given the numbers, it’s not surprising why. continued →
Oct 26th, 2010
Dr. Klaus Draeger is the man in charge of development at BMW. We’re filing this under rumor for now, but in a recent interview with the German magazine Auto, Motor und Sport he eluded to the possibility of two-cylinder engines in small BMWs and even future MINIs. First the what, then the why. According to Dr. Draeger, the sweet spot for a small power plant of this type would be about 500cc per cylinder with a target horsepower of 80-100 hp. That’s not a particularly tall order given what BMW can do with motorcycles. For example, a BMW F 800 ST sport touring bike is squeezing 85 reliable horsepower out of just .798 liters of opposed twin. At the other end of the performance spectrum, the .999 liter BMW S 1000 RR four-cylinder is blasting an amazing 193 hp. continued →
Oct 18th, 2010
BMW has seen the (near) future and it includes hybrids. After working on various fuel saving technologies for decades BMW recently made the decision to invest heavily in hybrid technology. The first fruits of that labor were the X6 and 7 Series ActiveHybrids released in the last 18 months. But the real mass market products are on their way and they include hybrid MINIs.
This all means there’s more life left in the Prince family of engines. Developed by BMW and shared with PSA to spread costs, the Prince engines debuted in 2007 with the R56 MINI and remain MINI’s only engine architecture.
The hybrid system is being developed in cooperation with Getrag and Bosch and will feature a torque-split and axel split integrated into the same drivetrain. This would allow for all sorts of variations of electric and petrol power at any time.
We believe that the hybrid system is being designed to debut in the Countryman and could potentially find its way to a front wheel drive 1 Series variant. While we’re not 100% sure of this, it would make sense given the platforms longevity and the intended market. After that we’d expect it to show up any potential new Countryman variant (such as the just discussed next generation Clubman). (official press release after the break) continued →
Oct 8th, 2010
Naturally the most gaudy of the numbers belongs to the Cooper hatch at 37 mpg on the highway. But in our minds the MCS hatch is even more impressive at 36 mpg. That’s up 2 mpg while getting a 9 hp boost. Here’s the rundown (full stats after the break): continued →