Recently on MotoringFile we heard the first reports of what it’s like to drive the next generation MINI.  This week let’s take a look at the new engine that will be introduced in the 2007 MINI. However, before we talk about the MINI’s next generation engine and how it relates to the new PSA small car offerings, let’s have a general recap on the engine.  

As most MF readers may know, several years ago BMW made the decision to partner with PSA (parent company to Citroen and Peugeot) to help build a new generation of 4 cylinder engines.  While BMW could have easily taken on the task by themselves, the production numbers and the price point of the MINI dictated a joint effort to spread out the enormous development costs.  This is a similar strategy to the one BMW entered into with Chrysler in the late 90’s to build the Tritec family of engines.  However, the big change this time around was that BMW would be doing the majority of the design and engineering work rather than relying on another company.  It’s no secret that there are folks within BMW who have been looking forward to seeing a more technologically advanced (or BMW-like if you will) engine in the MINI.  After all, if there’s one thing that BMW does better than almost anyone, it’s design and engineer powerplants. 

So in essence, this arrangement with PSA will give BMW the modern, home grown engine it wants for the MINI at a fraction of the development costs.  With this arrangement, BMW was able to rely on PSA for economies of scale, logistics, and manufacturing expertise while they focused on engine development.  This next generation engine will be produced for MINI at Hamms Hall in the UK while PSA will produce their own engines based on the same design in France.

Naturally, there are positives and negatives to seeing the MINI’s engine shared with another prominent automaker.  First the downsides. For one, the engine will be less exclusive than the current Tritec (thanks in part to poor sales and export Chrysler products over the years).  Another would be having the same engine produce more horsepower in rival cars from PSA.  In fact, the latter point is looking like a very real possibility as Peugeot is set to introduce the 207GTI with around 180HP.  Here’s an excerpt from Auto Express:

>Thanks to the firm’s current joint venture with BMW, the 207 GTi will share the same all-new, state-of-the-art 1.6-litre turbocharged direct-injection petrol engine that is set to power the next MINI Cooper S.

>But whereas the hottest MINI is likely to make do with 170bhp, the 207 GTi will have in excess of 180bhp, in order to compete with its muscular hot hatch rivals. “It’s a simple matter of tweaking the electronics to raise the power,” said a spokesman. That much thrust should propel the supermini from 0-60mph in less than seven seconds, and on to a top speed of nearly 140mph.

>As well as searing top-end punch, it should also have lots of power from idle, too. This is thanks to a clever ‘twin-scroll’ turbocharger, which is said to produce strong response at engine speeds as low as 1,400rpm, virtually eliminating lag.

Now let’s consider the upsides. First off the MINI may benefit from the Peugeot tuners work (OEM and aftermarket). On the OEM side there may be Peugeot OEM parts that could be imported to make the 170 bhp MINI into a 180 bhp MINI with stock parts. Then MINI owners may also benefit from being able to use parts from Peugeot tuners OR maybe better put that tuners would have more interest in tuning for the MINI because they could tune for both a MINI produced in greater numbers and the Peugeot GTi that would both have enthusiasts interested in tuning essentially the same engine.

It will be interesting to see if BMW engineers feel the need to respond with a HP increase of their own.  It would seem a rather simple tweak on the face of it,  especially considering the reports indicating that the JCW Cooper S will feature upwards of 230HP from the same engine.

You can read more about the next generation Peugeot GTI and it’s new MINI-related engine below:

[ Peugeot GTI Blasts Back ] Auto Express