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When Will We Get a Diesel MINI in the USA?

Why hasn’t MINI brought their fantastically fuel-efficient diesel-powered MINI D here to the States?

Diesel-powered MINI D at Red RocksIt’s largely a question of dollars and sense.

The current MINI D uses the 1.6-liter DLD-416 (DV6) I4 turbo-diesel engine. Versions of this engine can be found under the hood of various Citroëns, Fords, Mazdas, Peugeots, and Volvos. The engine is built through a partnership between Ford and Peugeot.

Quite simply, it’s not BMW/MINI’s engine and the investment in producing a 50-state certified version of the engine is not in the cards.


Thankfully, there’s a new diesel-powered MINI under development that uses a BMW-sourced engine. The word on the street is that the new MINI SD is slated for a European launch in mid-2011. With BMW’s commitment to selling clean diesel vehicles in America, it stands to reason that they will eventually certify the new four-banger here in one or more forms.


The MINI D’s current 1.6-liter turbo-diesel produces 108 horsepower (HP) and 177 foot pounds of torque. By comparison, the 2.0-liter turbo-diesel in the BMW 320d EfficientDynamics sedan delivers 161 HP and 280 foot pounds of torque … that’s enough power to hustle the sedan to 60 MPH in eight seconds or so with a remarkable fuel economy of approximately 57.4 MPG US (68.9 MPG UK) combined and highway mileage in the mid-sixties.

City fuel economy is greatly influenced by vehicle weight. On the other side of the coin, highway fuel economy is governed by aerodynamic efficiency. The most fuel-efficient cars weight less and slip through the air more easily.

The BMW 320d EfficientDynamics sedan has a curb weight of approximately 3300 pounds, while the current MINI D tips the scales at just over 2600 pounds. The four-door 320d EfficientDynamics has a stunning 0.26 coefficient of drag, while the MINI D coupe falls in the 0.35 range. The MINI is lighter, but less aerodynamic than the BMW.

Going by the numbers, we’d expect the upcoming MINI SD to deliver higher fuel economy than the BMW 320d EfficientDynamics sedan in the city, with highway mileage being the big question mark.

So how long will it take for the MINI D (and BMW 320d EfficientDynamics sedan) to reach our shores? If fuel prices keep rising, it might not be all that far off …

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1 comment so far ↓

#1 Gazaway Lamar on 05.11.11 at 9:44 pm

Mini wouldn’t have to certify a new engine in all 50 states. If they met the standards of California, New York and a few other states the engine would qualify to be sold anywhere in the US of A.

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