As we reported almost a year ago, several of our sources have indicated that MINI USA is currently planning to bring at least one diesel model to the US. We believe this model incorporate the “SD” version of the BMW Group 2.0L diesel engine that produces 143hp and a healthy 225 lf-ft of torque in EU spec. What does that translate into? In the current R56 hatch it means 8.1 seconds 0-60 and efficiency anywhere from 57-65 mpg on the Euro cycle. That translates into something likely close to 50 mpg on the highway for the R56 and, likely 5-7 mpg less for the Countryman. All told pretty astounding efficiency with very respectable performance.

But if it comes, it will at a price. We’d expect the premium over the standard Cooper S to be anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 – at least. And we also expect it to be available on the Countryman and Paceman exclusively with the 3 cylinder petrol powered F56 Cooper returning similar efficiency figures.

So with those numbers in mind, is a diesel MINI something you’d consider if you’re in the US? Would you pay for more efficiency with added torque?

Background on the Diesel

Our friends at BimmerFile have long held the belief that BMW missed the mark with its most recent diesel offerings in the US. While the 335d and the X5 35d are incredibly powerful and fast, they were only about 20% more efficient than their petrol counterparts. On the other end of the spectrum, BMW had what is likely the best four cylinder diesel in the world being offered outside the US market – an engine dramatically more effecient. As you can imagine given the times, the pendulum has been slowly swinging from the large and powerful 35d engine to the smaller and fuel-thrifty 2.0L.

The limiting factor all along for US introduction has been certification cost. So could MINI finally get over that investment hurdle? By partnering with BMW and theoretically sharing costs across the X3, 3 Series sedan, wagon and both the Countryman and Paceman, the unit cost of a proposed MINI Diesel finally got down to a level where MINI USA might be able to make a viable business case for diesel on our shores. But make no mistake, this will be priced higher than the Countryman Cooper S. In fact it’ll likely be positioned between the Cooper S Countryman and the upcoming JCW Countryman. Power figures should be basically identical to the current Cooper SD power plant at 143 hp and 225 lb-ft. of torque.

What about the chances of other MINI models receiving the engine? While costs wouldn’t be as considerable once the engine is certified in the US market, re-engineering the body-shell of a car well into it’s life-cycle simply doesn’t make sense financially. Additionally the forthcoming 1.5L 3 cylinder Cooper will achieve similar MPG figures. Because of all of this, we don’t expect any MINIs other than the Countryman and its derivatives to receive the diesel treatment in the US.

This 2.0L diesel will likely be the recently tweaked version of the engine. BimmerFile’s sources have told them that BMW and MINI’s US market diesel engines will be offered with a revised Exhaust Gas Recirculation and Diesel Emissions Fluid (AdBlue urea injection) dosing system to meet US emissions standards.

While this information comes to BimmerFile from a very reliable sources, there’s still some grey area. Because of that we’re are classifying this as not confirmed at this time. However, based on the above and what we’ve heard in whispered tones over the past year, this is the first time we’ve ever felt confident that the US market could soon see a diesel powered MINI. Fingers crossed.