MINI Cooper D – 65 MPG Diesel Dream

The diesel-powered MINI Cooper D is a mileage-minded enthusiast’s dream car. With slot car handling and truly remarkable fuel mileage figures, it’s hard not to drool over the little gem. While MINI Cooper gas mileage is good, the MINI D’s numbers are insanely great.

After months of anticipation, I had the chance that few have had here in America. I spent the better part of a day with a sweet six-speed Nightfire Red MINI D.

Looking at the specs, it’s clear to see why this is the high-MPG king of the hot hatches. In UK measures, the six-speed manual transmission-equipped MINI Cooper D is rated at 60.1 urban / 80.7 extra-urban miles per gallon (MPG). That equates to roughly 50 city / 67 highway here in the States.

Alas, MINI hasn’t brought their diesel coupe to America. And there’s no official word on when, where, or if it might happen. But I knew that one had recently arrived here in the States, as part of Bosch’s in-house Euro Diesel fleet.

My long awaited day in the sun with the MINI D took place while attending the Alternative Fuels and Vehicles conference in Las Vegas. I had to pinch myself when the good folks at Bosch handed me the keys.

I’d done a bit of research before heading out, but I didn’t bother to print a map. I didn’t have a GPS system, but I knew where I was heading.

After loading up the car with my camera gear, I grabbed a bottle of iced tea from a machine in front of the the Rio Hotel and hopped in the driver’s seat. Quickly familiarizing myself with the cabin, I took off west on Flamingo Road, jumped on 215 North, then swung a left onto Charleston … where the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area shimmered ahead like a mirage.

Just minutes out of the city, the little MINI D was soon slithering down the one-way serpentine road that winds its way through the fantastic scenery.

While a 0-62 time of 9.9 seconds might not seem overly impressive, the MINI D feels faster then the numbers tell. The car is quick off the line, with the little diesel mill providing plenty of torque throughout the range. Unlike many small-displacement gasoline engines, the the MINI D’s 1.6 liter four-cylinder diesel engine is infinitely drivable, producing 110 horsepower (HP) and approximately 177 foot pounds of torque between 1750 and 2000 RPM (and a touch more than 191 with overboost).

The MINI D delivers in the city, in the twisties, and out on the highway. Stomp on it and the power is there.

At 70 miles per hour, the engine – jointly developed by BMW and Peugeot – turns at just 2000 RPM, at the peak of its torque curve. The horsepower peak comes around 4000 RPM.

Not as simple as it might seem, the MINI D is filled with high-tech systems:

Auto Stop-Start takes a page from the hybrid book, saving fuel by shutting down the engine when the car is stopped and the transmission is in neutral.
Automatic Stability Control + Traction, Anti-Lock Brakes, Cornering Brake Control, and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution keep the tires glued to the ground.

Now there’s no denying that this is a small car. Some folks might not be able to get over that.

But it’s more than just a good thing that comes in this small package.

If you’re still commuting to work in a jumbo SUV, the MINI D presents a positively mind boggling equation: jump out of the SUV and into the MINI D and you could slash your fuel consumption by 75%.

There’s no word on when MINI will bring the diesel here to the States or how far along they may be with the engineering work. With a great many MINI enthusiasts in California, the company appears to be committed to a 50-state emission compliant solution.

We can only keep our fingers crossed that a clean diesel MINI D will soon cross the pond.

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36 thoughts on “MINI Cooper D – 65 MPG Diesel Dream”

  1. I am WOW….for this new Mini…I have a 2002 and love it , but I want a Mini D to go with my old one….Hurry Mini I say and give us American something to drive.

  2. I had an e-mail discussion with BMW/MINI years ago when the mini0d first came out. They just won’t be able to bring it to the us… As we all know diesels have higher NOX emissions. Nox is the major contributor to smog because it can be heavier then most other gas molecules.

    Although most americans would benifit from diesel cars, because we still elect democrats to office this will never be a reality.

    So if you really want a diesel small car like me, stop electing democrats. If you want to bitch and get nothing done, Vote democrat…

  3. @Michael – I’d wager that it’s only a matter of time before the MINI D gets here, politics be damned. 🙂 BMW already has the technology.

    It’s a fantastic little car with huge potential … MINI stands to double, if not triple their sales.

  4. What about the VW TDI’s? They are already here. Leave it to California to take something away that was awesome, but they averaged 50mpg despite the much lower sticker claims. Now if we could only get the oil companys to explain why Diesel cost MORE than gasoline, we might be on the right track.

  5. My original e-mail from almost 2 years ago before changes in emissions make diesel cars practically illegal for most people.

    From: (removed) – at –
    Sent: 8/21/2006 12:00:00 AM
    To: (removed) – at –
    Subject: How can I get one

    First name: Michael
    Last name: Mantion

    question/comment: How can I get a Mini one/d in the US. My toyota is running fine but has 230,000 miles and really would like to find a replacement sooner then later. I don’t want another gasoline engine, I want a diesel…….

    Their response

    — (removed) – at – askMINIUSA.COM wrote:

    Hi Michael, Thanks for contacting MINI. We talked to many people and it just seemed that there was very little U.S. demand for the 90 HP MINI One.

    The U.S. is a very horsepower conscious country, and few people voiced interest in a 90 HP car. In the US, even inexpensive small cars, such as the Hyundai Accent, Toyota Echo, Daewoo Lanos, and Kia Rio have more than 90 HP. The MINI One simply would not offer competitive performance. The price difference between the MINI Cooper and MINI One is only about US$1800, and the MINI One has much fewer standard features and horsepower. The MINI One is popular in Europe, where fuel prices are three to four times higher, and commuting speeds are slower. Even minor fuel mileage savings makes the difference in that setting.

    If there are further questions I can assist with, please feel free to drop me an e-mail. I will be happy to lend a hand.

    (name removed)
    MINI Customer Relations and Services
    866.ASK.MINI (275-6464)

    The e-mails went back and forth for a bit, and it basically ended with “no, not now not ever” I don’t understand why they are so obtuse.

    I ended up sending them links to page after page of like minded people who wanted to drive diesel..

    they didn’t care.. I have also e-mailed all the major makers of diesels. Volvo, Audi, even Toyota who sells a full size diesel truck in the UK but can’t sell it here because of emissions. I still want a diesel car would settle a truck, but it can’t be made in the USA. I am a Mechanic and my bread and butter currently comes from diesel rams and f250’s lol

    Don’t get me wrong the a dodge ram diesel is great compared to most american crap boxes. But they still suck.. I want a truck I can drive not work on.

  6. Diesel and Gasoline come from oil depending on the oil and the process to refine it you get different ratios of each. Diesel oil is used in trucks, boats, trains, generator and is essentially the same as Heating oil. The average person can cut down on their driving pretty easily. They can stay home, they may choose to take the train, or take a cruise instead of driving around disney world. They may choose to order things online and let UPS deliever it. If they stay in during the winter they may use the heat more, if they take the train more we use more diesel, if we go on cruses instead of driving around a destination, we use more diesel. When gas prices increased and companies switched form gas pickups to diesel pick ups.. we used more diesel. Developing nations need diesel more then us. In addition Europe who has used diesel for decades are using more then ever (good for them)In the end it is very very hard to cut down diesel, companies can’t run with out it. As such supply and demand has forced diesel prices to go up. Normally diesel prices go up in the winter time because heating oil cuts into supplies. Normally it comes down in the spring, but there really is no reason to lower the prices. Considering any Joe like you are me could purchase diesel futures there is nothing to be done about it. A company will spend 10 a gallon for diesel instead of going out of business. Needless to say diesel prices will likely stay high through the summer months and then go higher next winter. I expect this winter to be so tough on people who burn oil for heat that they will be forced to look into alternatives like Ground source heat pumps, solar heat or natural gas. It is also likely they will learn to take shorter showers and actually insulate their homes. By winter 2009 oil used for heat will diminish. More sources of syn oil and bio diesel will be coming on the market and diesel supplies will out pace demand for a short while until diesel cars pick up.

    I always laugh when people complain about the prices of things. Regardless if it is the cost of fuel, food, or entertainment it makes me laugh…. Inflation ultimately hurts the wealthy who don’t work and helps the poor like me who do work. So bring on the inflations please.

  7. Many thanks for your insightful comments, Mantion! The Mini D and Mini One are different beasts, with the Mini D delivering more horsepower, higher MPGs, and better performance. I have all my fingers and toes crossed that they will bring the Mini D here, sooner rather than later.

    My house is heated with oil. We were lucky that last winter was relatively mild … but I still had to drop two grand into the tank and I keep the automatic thermostat set on 68 at night and 60 during the day.

  8. Pretty soon when diesel goes to $1.33/L I’ll be putting Crisco or Mazola or some bulk veggie oil in the tank. I’ve done some extensive research and with an additive sold here in the states (just Google SVO in my TDI) and you can do it easily without any preheating tank or the like. So maybe we can get off the grid and go elsewhere for our fuel?! Sure our grains, oil and such will go up due to demand but I’d rather put our money to the farmers than the CRUDE Boys over seas. Eventually we’ll have to cross this hurdle… The big domestic automakers will have to comply to our diesel demand or they will watch for sale signs go up on ALL their properties… it’s already begun. They have 0% for 72 months plus and the used marked will have to do the same, the product will simply not move off their lots. GM, Ford and Chrysler will have to liquidate all their stock at the auctions and it’s not pretty -they know it’s coming… Maybe they can engineer some hybrid-retro fit in the wheel aches or something to bring the consumption to a tolerable level?

  9. I just don’t see how a 4 cylinder diesel is going to emit to much gas in the air when most people are driving huge diesel truck to me you think it would be less. I wonder if you could buy one and have it shipped over seas and just pay a fee?

  10. I’m thinking in the same direction BRANDON is. At 60+ mpg
    buying a used Clubman D in , name your EU country, and shipping it over sounds viable, great idea. Any info on the process or links to…

  11. Been looking into the same thing Raul… not sure if it would be legal/allowable to bring over a post ULSD regulation vehicle that might not fit those emission requirements. It also looks like there won’t be any used clubman D’s on the european market anytime soon, there’s still a waiting list to get the new ones so far.

  12. Thought about bringing one in through Florida as they have no emissions at all–would want one with the steering wheel on the american side—so maybe spain-portugal-or where for that?

  13. Really any country other than England or a former English colony will have the steering wheel on the US side. Does anyone know if cars would be cheaper in eastern Euro, say old Soviet block. Dont know if the Mini D is out there tho.’ Estonian holiday, anyone? Couldn’t you just have one shipped home and register it as a normal Mini?

  14. Hi everyone,

    I’ve got a Mini Cooper D in Italy and I absolutely love it! It’s such a great car. I may be moving back to the US, so I am trying to figure out how I can get it back home. I’m contacting a bunch a intl. shippers now and will try to call the EPA/NHTSA today to figure some things out. I’m not sure how much a Mini Cooper D will sell for in the states, but there are definitely not cheap. I am also not sure how you could buy one and have it shipped? What about purchasing it in Germany and do the Euro tour thing with the car that BMW and Mercedes offer?

    Does anyone have any recs on Intl improters??

    DON – you said that Florida has no emissions?? Where did you hear this, Is there a website that has this information?

    Jordan – Just so you know, there are TONS of used Mini Clubmans on the European market. Check out for example.

    Thanks for any advice on importing!

  15. Dont expect micro diesels engines here in the US soon….blame it on EPA and DOT…..Govt is part of the problem once again!

  16. I agree, these things would be snapped up like crazy if they were available here in the states. Its pretty sad when you live in what is supposedly the greatest country on earth and cant get a MINI D. Its nothing but someone trying to control the market on one thing or the other. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO REASON WE CANT BUY THEM HERE! WE WANT OUR MINI D! AND WE WANT IT NOW!

  17. I want a Mini D too. I think that perhaps the mpg is too high for the states though. It sometimes seems that the US govt wants to limit us to vehicles with poor mileage. Perhaps a bunch of us driving around in high mileage cars would destroy their tax budget from gasoline sales.

  18. I am inclined to picket BMW/Mini dealerships and distributorships until BMW decides to import the Cooper D. While BMW is at it, it can also develop Coopers that can use Propane and/or NatGas and/or Alternative Hybrid power.

  19. Maybe all of us that wrote in could start a petition to get this car built or imported in the US. We have a new administration now that might be more receptive. I will be among the first to sign.

  20. Where is all this hype coming from? My diesel (July 2008) had split windshield in first month, faulty start-stop (cannot find fault!), run flat tyre at £134 ($200) and does only 45.6 mpg – not 62 mpg as advertised. Also the UK version has a Peugot 207 engine!!!! (previously used a Toyota engine). Also the gearing ratio is odd -very difficult to get to 6th gear without dropping revs and power so only OK for desert driving. Finally turning circle is actually worse than a Toyota Rav 4


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  22. It is so easy to import this car into us or vica versa aus car to europe. We plan to buy one here and young 2nd hand are not that expensive. Greetings richie

  23. How long will it take for Fiat to bring the 500 Diesel from Italy to compete with MiniClubman Diesel–especially while BMW is dragging their feet. Maybe this is what Chrysler is waiting for.

  24. I’ve got a Mini Cooper D… gotta say, it IS everything this review said it is, and more. I absolutely love it. Plenty of power but a teetotaler when it comes to fuel consumption. If they ever bring them over to the States, I’m sure they’d sell like hotcakes.

  25. #17 jeff on 09.04.08 at 3:00 pm

    “Its pretty sad when you live in what is supposedly the greatest country on earth and cant get a MINI D.”

    Now that is funny. What defines a great country?

    In automotive terms Australia is a great country.

    400hp plus family sedans
    We get the Mini D

    And you dont see many Americans which is a real plus.

  26. Leighla–hope you found out by now there is no emissions testing anymore in Florida– I live here– sorry for the very late reply — still would like to know if one could be brought in through a Florida port

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