This latest edition of Ask MotoringFile comes courtesy of Josh in LA:
> I’ve had my 2007 Cooper S for almost a month now and have loved every minute. However there’s one thing that I’ve wondered about. At idle I can hear a light ticking sound comes from the engine. Is this normal?
Great question Josh. The short answer is yes, this is normal for the engine in the 2007 (R56) Cooper S. The reason has to do with a new bit of technology not present yet in most cars; direct injection.
In fact I asked Erik Sonntag, lead engineer and head of the MINI’s drivetrain development this very question at the US R56 press launch. In his response, Mr. Sontag explained that the ticking sound is typical of almost all direct injection, high-output gasoline engines and that the new MINI’s powerplant was no exception.
For those curious, the benefits of direct injection over old-school fuel injection system are increased power, better power delivery, and better efficiency. You can read more here.