AutoExpress has gotten it's hands on the MINI One D – the highly anticipated diesel MINI available everywhere but the US – and has a first take on the car and the new powertrain. Here are some highlights:

Italian Job

Over the years, Mini owners have done some pretty bizarre things to their cars. Film legend Peter Sellers once ordered a Cooper with fake wickerwork on the sides, while Beatle Ringo Starr had his converted into a hatchback so he could carry his beloved drum kit.

So now in an effort to broaden the car's appeal – BMW is about to introduce the first- ever oil-burning MINI. Powered by the same 1.4-litre common-rail engine fitted to the excellent Toyota Yaris D-4D, the MINI One D delivers 75bhp to its front wheels.

However, what the oil-burner lacks in horsepower, it more than makes up for with torque. The turbocharged four-cylinder motor produces a healthy 180Nm of thrust at only 2,000rpm – 40Nm more than its petrol counterpart.

The gearbox – a revised six-speeder borrowed from the Cooper S – is wonderfully precise and allows the driver to exploit the 1.4-litre's potential to the full. It also makes cruising a remarkably relaxed affair, with just over 2,500rpm showing on the tacho at 70mph. …Even from a cold start, the engine is incredibly refined.

BMW claims a combined cycle figure of 58.9mpg, yet the trip computer on our car read only 34mpg after a day's driving. Performance is another area where some may find the One D disappointing. With a claimed 0-62mph time of 13.8 seconds

Thankfully, though, the diesel engine has done nothing to spoil the handling balance, which remains an absolute delight. The steering – now much quieter thanks to a revised hydraulic pump – is as precise as ever, while the sophisticated feel of the suspension marks the MINI out from any supermini rival.

Has anyone else heard about this revised hydraulic pump? I love my MINI but the steering wine can get a bit loud at times. I'd be interested to know more about this change and if it was just to rectify just the noise or if there's something else behind it.