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New BMW diesel engine the main attraction in refreshed Mini range

24 Nov 2010

BMW is all too aware that the premium designer baby car market it carved out over the past decade is now under lethal threat from the Audi A1 and Citroen DS3, as well as the Fiat 500 and Alfa Mito. So in comes what the Bavarians call the Mini LCI – Life Cycle Impulse. Basically a minor facelift and specification upgrade, the 2011 Mini provides small but palpable improvements on a number of fronts, to help keep the target audience happy. But the biggest improvement is under the bonnet of the Cooper D – a BMW-made 1.6-litre turbo-diesel replaces the old Peugeot-supplied unit. Performance, refinement and efficiency all take sizeable steps forward, making this first-ever transverse application of a BMW engine a worthwhile addition to the likeable Mini family.
Model release date: 1 November 2010 to 1 March 2014

Previous model

R56 Mini Cooper D

Released: May 2009
Ended: November 2010
Family Tree: Hatch

SINCE the petrol-powered Mini Cooper, Cooper S and JCW remain much the same save for the minor specification, trim and options upgrades to the 2011 Mini, we will concentrate on the old Cooper D. Its timing sucked – by early 2009 the global financial crisis helped bring world oil prices down, diminishing the fuel-saving appeal of the diesel-powered baby BMW. Still, Aussie buyers did respond favourably to the Cooper D, powered by a Peugeot PSA-supplied 80kW/240Nm 1.6-litre four-cylinder common-rail turbo-diesel driving the front wheels via a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox. Unfortunately only the R56 hatch was matched to this smooth and quiet powerplant. Its 2011 replacement, in contrast, is a BMW-made 82kW/270Nm 1.6L number, using the same transmission choices. Did you know that from 2002 to 2006 the old R50 Mini Cooper was available with a 1.4L diesel provided by Toyota and originally designed for the European version of the car we knew here as the Echo? We never saw that Mini variant (or the Toyota for that matter) in Australia.

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