Sep 17th, 2014
Over the past five years there’s been plenty of speculation on these pages and others about what MINI would be replacing it’s long in the tooth six speed Aisin automatic transmission. The transmission, first seen in the R53 in 2004 has been a work horse for MINI ultimately finding its way (in revised spec) in the new F56. While improvements have made the unit (enough to even find it in BMW’s halo i8 sports car) six speeds doesn’t cut it in terms of performance or efficiency anymore. Enter BMW’s answer: the Aisin 8 speed AWF8F35
According to sources BMW had considered several options for MINI including the new ZF 9 speed and a dual clutch transmission. It would seem that the existing technical relationship between BMW/MINI and Aisin when it comes to front wheel drive transmissions helped sway them in that direction, there were also other factors at play. For one the BMW felt that the new breed of traditional automatics offers most of the performance of the DCT with greater comfort and higher efficiency.
The more you look at the AWF835 the more it seems particularly well suited for MINI’s needs. For one the 8 speed has a decoupling mechanism that allows for a reduction in parasitic drag which allows for coasting on overrun – something that BMW has been incorporating in across its range. It’s also built from the ground-up to be compatible with MINI’s start/stop functionality.
Estimated MPG Figures
What does this mean to potential owners? According to sources, the AWF8F35 will add up to a 14% improvement in fuel efficiency when compared to the current Aisin 6 speed. Looking at MPG numbers for 2014 (the last that are available as of today), here’s an early look at what we could see out of a 8 speed automatic equipped F56
Cooper S with 8 Speed Automatic
- 29 > 33 city
- 40 > 46 highway
- 33 > 38 combined
Cooper with 8 Speed Automatic
- 30 > 34 city
- 34 > 39 combined
- 42 > 48 highway
Keep in mind this is straight math on our part and there could be other variabilities at play as MINI tunes this transmission to work with the existing engines. However it’s easy to see what a 14% improvement will do – immediately make the F5X generation of MINIs dramatically more efficient than anything that came before. Now imagine what this would do for the current diesel range – one of which, the Cooper SD we know is coming to the US within two years. Then there’s the plug-in hybrid that we will either see on the next generation Clubman or Countryman.
If there was disappointment with MPG figures when the F56 was released, they will be quickly forgotten the second the 8 speed hits dealer lots. But the big question is when? Obviously MINI has to be chomping at the bit to get this upgrade out the door. Given that the improvement is so dramatic, we’d be surprised to see the company wait for the 2018 refresh to make the change. Instead we’d expect something much sooner, possibly coinciding with the launch of another variant like the JCW and Convertible next spring or even the Clubman next summer. However these dates are purely based on our best guesses at this point.
Expect to hear much more on the new Aisin 8 Speed AWF8F35 soon.
Aug 7th, 2014
MINI has a busy 24 months ahead of it. With the F56 rolled out and in showrooms, the brand can turn it’s attention to all the associated variants. But what gets released and when? Read on for the detailed list. continued →
Jul 18th, 2014
It’s been ten years since the R52 MINI Convertible was launched and a new MINI model was born. Since that time we’ve driven every model variation from the very first 2005 R52 to the latest JCW Convertible (across the US during MTTS no less). And then there’s the full-on love affair we had with our long-term JCW Roadster last year. Through it all we’ve grown to love open-top motoring and the visceral qualities it brings to an already emotional driving experience.
As much as ten years is worth celebrating, there’s something else happening here. MINI is subtly prepping us for the all new F57 MINI Convertible. That car will debut next February at Geneva and should hit dealers sometime in late Spring worldwide. Much like the R52 and R57 before it, the F57 will make use of a dual stage top, four seats and a fold-down rear boot. However it will also leverage all of the advancements that the F56 brings with more power, more efficiency and greater technology on-board.
Read on for the full press release covering the last ten years of MINI Convertibles. continued →
May 15th, 2014
Behold, our first view of the 2015 F57 MINI convertible, 2015 F55 Five door hatch and the upcoming 2016 F54 Clubman. The photo, taken this week at the Nurburgring where the trio were undergoing suspension evaluation, shows us just how much larger the new Clubman will be next to the standard MINI and the new five door hatch. Also noticeable is the different design of the Clubman S front bumper as compared to the other two cars (both Cooper S models). And those changes are just the start. Lets take a closer look at each car, the changes we’ll see and exactly when we’ll see each in showrooms. continued →
Jan 6th, 2014
We’re just a few days into 2014 but we already have a clear picture of of the next 18-24 months for MINI. Read on for the complete rundown of the next two years. It’s an inside look at what will see and when we’ll see it.
Nov 6th, 2013
Throughout 2013 we’ve been talking a lot about the F56 – the next generation MINI hatch. And while we’ve reported on other variants we’ve never put the full picture together in terms of what models we’ll see and when we’ll see them. Today we’re doing just that. After the break is a full run-down of MINI’s release schedule for it’s next generation F5X models (excluding any Countryman related models). continued →
Sep 30th, 2013
What automatic will MINI use in the F56? That’s the question I asked MINI USA Head of Product Pat McKenna last week when MINI USA brought MotoringFile to its US Headquarters to discuss the F56’s technology. The response was unexpected; the current 6 Speed Aisin automatic. The immediate follow-up was, why would MINI stick with the six speed when competitors are moving to 8 and 9 speed quick-shifting automatics?
The answer was straightforwart. According to Mr. McKenna, MINI is happy with the performance of the Aisin unit for the time being. With some mechanical revisions and totally revamped software, MINI believes the updated transmission will keep pace with the industry – including the VW GTI’s six speed DSG (which is a DTC or dual clutch transmission). continued →