Maxwell Technologies and Alcoa AFL Automotive to Develop Ultracapacitor-Based Cold-Start System for Trucks
Bunge in Biodiesel Deal with REG; Part of a $100-Million Financing

New MINIs More Fuel Efficient; TurboDiesel and Smaller Gasoline Engine Coming in 2007

The new MINI Cooper.

BMW has provided some initial detail on the two new, more fuel-efficient engines to be featured in the latest generation of the MINI. Upon their arrival on the market in late 2006, the new MINIs will initially offer two versions of a 1.6-liter engine—one naturally aspirated, the other a turbocharged direct-injection unit.

These will be augmented by a new 1.4-liter gasoline unit and a turbodiesel, both arriving in the first half of 2007.

The 1.6-liter naturally aspirated unit in the MINI Cooper develops maximum output of 88 kW (120 hp) at 6,000 rpm. Engine torque reaches 140 Nm (103 lb-ft) at just 2,000 rpm, peaking at 160 Nm (118 lb-ft) once the engine reaches 4,250 rpm.

The four-cylinder engine features fully variable valve control based on the BMW Group’s VALVETRONIC valve management system, which adjusts intake valve lift and opening times within fractions of a second to current power and performance requirements.

In addition to variable control of valve lift on the intake side, valve timing may also be changed in both the intake and outlet stroke, optimizing the torque curve and the development of engine power in the process. The result is not only powerful torque at low engine speeds, but also high power at high speeds.

Together, these two technologies reduce fuel consumption, depending on the route the driver is covering, by up to 20%, with fuel consumption in the combined EU cycle down by approximately 16% to 5.8 l/100km (41 mpg US) from 6.9 l/100km (34 mpg US). CO2 emissions on the MINI Cooper are now 139g/km.

The turbocharged version, used in the MINI Cooper S, develops maximum output of 128 kW (175 hp) at 5,500rpm. Peak torque of 240 Nm (177 lb-ft) is maintained consistently between 1,600 and 5,000 rpm. When accelerating all-out, torque is raised to an even higher level of 260 Nm (192 lb-ft) by briefly increasing charge pressure (overboost).

Intake air for the direct-injection engine is pre-compressed by a twin-scroll turbocharger complete with intercooler. With this new technology, the ducts of two cylinders at a time are separated from one another in the exhaust gas manifold and in the turbocharger itself.

This particular configuration enhances turbocharger response and almost completely eliminates the usual turbo gap, according to BMW, which claims that the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine is very similar in its response and behaviour to a much larger normal-aspiration power unit.

Two overhead camshafts operate the four valves per cylinder. The camshaft on the intake side comes with infinitely variable phase adjustment setting valve timing to current power requirements and optimizing both engine output and torque on minimum fuel consumption and emissions. The outlet valves, in turn, are filled with sodium in order to set off the higher temperature loads typical of a turbocharged engine.

Combined EU cycle fuel consumption for the MINI Cooper S have dropped 25% to 6.9 l/100km (34 mpg US) from 8.6 l/100km (27 mpg US). CO2 emissions on the MINI Cooper S are now 164g/km—a reduction of 43g/km.

Both engines use a volume flow-controlled oil pump driven by a chain and limited in its delivery volume as of a certain, predetermined pressure level. This reduces the power required for driving the pump and cuts back fuel consumption by approximately 1%.

The on-demand water pump in the coolant circuit is only activated when the engine has reached its regular operating temperature. This helps to save fuel in the warm-up phase, and the catalyst is able to reach the temperature required for optimum operation with an optimum effect at an earlier point.

The alternator and air conditioning compressor, in turn, are driven by one single poly-V-belt. The water pump is driven by a friction wheel.

BMW will issue full specifications and technical details in September at the Paris motor show.

1.6-Liter Engines for New MINIs
MINI CooperMINI Cooper S
Engine Naturally aspirated Turbocharged, direct injection
Peak Power 88 kW (120 hp) 128 kW (175 hp)
Peak Torque 160 Nm (118 lb-ft) 240 Nm (177 lb-ft)
Fuel Consumption 5.8 l/100km (41 mpg US) 6.9 l/100km (34 mpg US)
CO2 139 g/km 164 g/km



Speaking as a former owner of a Mini S, it's really easy to burn through the gas because its so damn fun to drive. It did get great mileage on the highway.

Lou Grinzo

It's probably a good thing I didn't know about this in June, or I might not have bought my Scion xA (which I love).


Will these be available in the U.S.?


The two current engine choices in the US are 1.6 NA and 1.6 supercharged, so the two 1.6 gassers should make it to the US.

It would be extra nice if the 1.4 gasser and/or the diesel make it here too, but I'm not holding my breath. A 1.4 MINI would probably have to compete with much less expensive subcompacts, and the diesel would have the usual issues (mostly perception) to overcome.

I also wonder whether the direct-injected turbo engine has a lean mode, and if so, whether that feature will make it to the US version. I hope we won't see a rerun of the VAG FSI lean mode that went missing while crossing the Atlantic (US NOx regs/fuel spec inconsistencies?)


Note that these engines are brand new and not related to the previous “Pentagon/Tritec” 1.6L engines supplied by Chrysler and manufactured in Brazil.

These new "Prince" engines were developed jointly between Peugeot and BMW.

Robert Schwartz

The current Mini is more expensive than, but not as fuel efficent as, the Fit and the Yaris. It is closer to the Civic in price, but the Civic is much roomier and has better mileage.

Joseph Willemssen

The current Mini is more expensive than, but not as fuel efficent as, the Fit and the Yaris. It is closer to the Civic in price, but the Civic is much roomier and has better mileage.



I may be going out on a limb, but I don't think the Fit or Yaris will turn as many heads as the Mini. You might argue that turning heads shouldn't be important, but I would argue that it is anyway. And while I am making predictions, I think it will be important for at least the next model year.





Please, don´t!

It´s dirty, it´s slow, it´s no fun!

It´s only for accountants, and farmers!


JRod I guess Audi winning 12hrs of Seabring or the 24 hrs of Le Mans just proves your point that diesels can't have good performance. Well said.


Sorry JRod that was for Geoff!
By the way Geoff have you seen the Merc 320 diesel faster than the gas or the BMW 3 liter 5 series diesel faster than the 3.5 liter gas and still much better milage! I guess those diesel owners could tell their gas counterparts to eat thier exhaust, albeit particle free, low unburned HC,Sox,CO and Nox.

Joseph Willemssen

guess those diesel owners could tell their gas counterparts to eat thier exhaust, albeit particle free, low unburned HC,Sox,CO and Nox.

Hm - where are all those "clean" diesels, now that we have the "clean" fuel?


They're in Europe, where the high-cetane ULSD is.

Tim Russell

Seem we gotta wait a couple of years from most of the automakers for the new diesels. The question is why? Different emmissions controls? I can't wait to try one of the Honda diesels that is in developement for the US but that's 2 years away.


EU chose fuel econ and a balanced approach to emissions

US chose ultra low NOx

So US gets no diesels

US may have clean diesel ie low suplhur but the lubricity and cetane are still all over the place (depending on where in the country you are and which refinery you are supplied from) which destroys modern CR diesel injection systems.

John Ard

Andy must be a C/D reader. I loved the article (Could the best 3 series be a diesel?) and one great fact: C/D got 38MPG in the BMW! That includes all high speed testing and the driving like a maniac they are famous for. Civilized drivers should easily break 45MPG in this vehicle.

allen Z

John Ard,
Right on.
(Joseph Willemssen, Engineer-Poet, Tim Russell, Ruaraidh),
Now that the oil companies, and especiall the refiners, are making billions of dollars, perhaps it is time for the Feds to move up the fuel quality standards. Move up intro of lower diesel and gasoline sulfur and other impurity levels by a year or so. As for diesel, perhaps lubricity standards are warranted, and consumers informed. B5 biodiesel/diesel blend is a possibility.
Also, start up and update/update/expand closed down refineries. Many were shutdown due to margins, and scale of economy problems in the 80's. We have a refinery capacity shortage, and this may help.
___With better fuel quality, we might get better air quality for the amount of money we spend on vehicle fuel. This would also get the kabuki dance of session between oil executives and Congessional members off the stage. As for the Mini Cooper, it may usher in introduction of even cleaner diesels. For other automakers (esp Dodge and Ford), they might save their SUV and light truck fleets via ultra clean diesels/hybrid combo with 20-30 mpg.


I am glad BMW brought back Mini. I hate the design of the car and think it is a bit heavy for it's size (my much larger and roomier 2-door coupe weighs 200lbs less) BUT when I first read of BMW's Valvetronic on their 7 series V-8 I just knew it would be perfect on a small vehicle & small engine. They could even have a "performance" switch in it. Aggressive valve characteristics for spirited driving could easily yield 130-140 hp at high rpm with their valvetronic system and you could switch back to economy mode otherwise.

Now if they had that 1.6L Valvetronic engine in a BMW 1 series with weight under 2700lbs, or maybe a 1.8L version would be more appropriate, that is a car I'd consider buying.

Sid Hoffman

I drove a non-supercharged MINI back when they first came out. Holy cow that was one SLOW car! It has a 1.6 liter engine with 115hp, same as my Civic HX, but weighed some 2700 pounds rather than the 23xx pounds my Civic weighs. It's a very cool car with stupendous handling, but so, SO slow! Maybe the new "valvetronic" version with 120hp and 118 ft-lbs will feel a lot better. I also read one article claiming it's a little lighter than the '05 MINI, so that would help out.

As for the improvement from 34 to 41mpg claim; to put that in perspective, the old MINI had an EPA combined cycle of 31mpg, so this would likely put the US combined cycle at around 37mpg, which is better than the Fit and Yaris. That would be quite a feat if it's true!

Charles S

As an owner of both a MINI Cooper and a Honda Insight, I have experience in both extremes of the subcompact segment.

It's too easy for some people to lump all the small cars into one specific stereotype: small car equates to cheap/plain/boring, lightweight, unsafe, very little interior room, low fuel consumption, etc. The 2001 MINI is pretty much the opposite: heavy, packed with electronics and safty features, roomy, and if you bought the S, it was a gas-guzzler for its category.

I'm NOT saying that the MINI is better than other small cars, but to compare it with a Yaris or Civic is like apples and oranges. Ignoring the exterior size and appearance, there are many features amoung all these cars that would satisfy one group or another.

I like the MINI, but would sell it before I sell my hybrid. There are others who will say the opposite, and I think that's fine. The point here is that the MINI, at least for the US, will always market toward a certain crowd that care more about the aggressive nature of the car, rather than the fuel economy. I'm just glad that the next generation didn't just focus on more power, but at least address the issues with fuel consumption and emission controls.

Charles S

As for the improvement from 34 to 41mpg claim; to put that in perspective, the old MINI had an EPA combined cycle of 31mpg, so this would likely put the US combined cycle at around 37mpg, which is better than the Fit and Yaris. That would be quite a feat if it's true!

By the way, last two years, I drive very gingerly with good mix of highways and smooth city driving, and I regularly get between 35 to 40 mpg with my MINI; that is measured at the pump, not with the on-board computer, which is not accurate most of the time. When I first got the car in 2002, I had a lead foot and got 28-32 mpg. Now, I do a series of test, using the on-board computer as a guide. At a smooth 40 mph, I'd zero out the on-board comp and after a few miles, it'd stabilize at about 40 mpg, and at 60 mph, it's 50.

I'd love to try the same routine with a Fit/Yaris and see if I can push beyound EPA estimates. My Honda Insight is a CVT, so I have less control over the revving compare to the 5-speed on MINI. Lifetime MPG of the Insight CVT is 56.4, which is right between 57/56 rate by EPA. I had stopped keeping logs at the pump for the hybrid because the difference between the computer and actual figure was less than 1%.

I know EPA tests may not yield the same result for others in their specific environment, but the point here is this; since EPA tests are just standardized set of routines to compare vehicles of the same class to one another, then YES, I do believe the new MINI will be able to achieve 37+ mpg combined, even in the US "real world" scenario.

If I have to guess, since the MINI is heavier, for people who do more stop-and-go routine, it'd do worse than perhaps lighter vehicle such as the Yaris or Fit. For others who can achieve a smooth commuting route, the mileage difference may be small enough that it wouldn't matter.

Michael Hippenhammer

I am so sorry for jrod that you are still stuck in the past. I own a new turbo diesel and hope never to go back to the less fun to drive, fuel guzzling, terror supporting gas engine. I have a 1.9 liter turbo diesel that has 127hp and 227ftlb torque and this is only stage 2 of six stages of performance upgrades. When I led foot drive my worst mileage is 39mpg, average 42 and get 46 hwy at 75mph. All this with B100 bio-diesel which supports American Farmers!! I can't wait for the turbo-diesel Mini! BMW has some excellent choices for diesels and when the American fuel supply can catch up with the standards of Europe we will see many more offerings for diesels. Envision this: large family cars that get 35+ mpg, minivans getting 35+ mpg, and small compacts that get 55+ mpg. And all these cars will be fun to drive. Sound like a dream? Well that is Europe for you. It is time for America to be leaders not the laughing stock of the world! Think the R10 TDI race car is great? Wait until diesels start showing up in Indy, and NASCAR!

Charles S

I hate for this to get off topic, but while I used to be interested in a Diesel MINI, I no longer want one, not even if it's biodiesel.

A surge in diesel sales in US will only mean that diesel will cost more, and stay high. High diesel costs will eventually affect the cost of all goods. Farmers may have less incentives to plant the right plants, and I do not want us to import food or biodiesel from abroad; just trading one problem for another.

I am curious what is the asthma rate in Europe? Obviously if we allow gasoline engine to pollute to a certain level, diesel should not get a break, not when hybrids can do just as well, if not better than diesel, and they do it while being cleaner!

If PHEV is really going to be ready in three years, there is even less reason for me to accept diesel. The only argument left may be cost; PHEV will probably be expensive in the beginning. However, diesel cars/trucks in US still carries a relatively high premium, which will also take years for owner to recover, if price of diesel stays high.

In the end, EV is the right path for me. The best route to that goal is to support hybrids and batteries makers.


Michael H-

You don't need to feel sorry for me being stuck in the past. I get along just fine with my 96 TDI.


You don't need to apologize for getting off topic, we do it all the time, but you should apologize for making nonsense arguments. Can you explain why importing biodiesel is worse than importing crude from Iran? Has a massive shift to diesel vehicles in Europe caused the price of diesel to skyrocket, or the "cost of all goods"? And I am getting tired of the Hybrid v. Diesel argument. Wouldn't it be more fair to compare a hybrid gasser v. a hybrid diesel? I know where I would put my money.

I am glad you have found that EV is the right choice for you. I also think EV is only going to get better, and for some applications I think it is already the way to go. It just seems that electric vehicles have been about three years away for twenty five years now.




Diesel cars: black lungs, dark minds.

The comments to this entry are closed.