MINI Cooper Diesels May Be U.S. Bound: Report


The MINI Cooper SD diesel

The MINI Cooper SD diesel

Enlarge Photo

Contrary to the myth that U.S. buyers don’t want diesels, MINI head Dr. Kay Segler reports that diesel MINI models are the most common request from its U.S. customers.

Segler told Car and Driver that, “We’re delighted to hear it,” before confirming that the brand is seriously looking into the possibility of importing diesels into the United States.

Don’t expect this to happen with the current, second-generation MINIs, since Segler admits that U.S. diesel models are a “medium term” consideration, not a short term one.

If that sounds vaguely ambiguous, there’s probably a good reason for it. At the moment, emission standards for diesel passenger cars differ between the U.S. and the E.U., but that changes in 2014 when the E.U. adopts the current (stricter) U.S. standard.

The MINI Cooper SD diesel

The MINI Cooper SD diesel

Enlarge Photo

It’s not economical for manufacturers to certify diesels just for the U.S. market, especially when they won’t sell in the same volume as gasoline-powered equivalents. That changes in 2014, which is why we expect to see more diesel options in the future.

The MINI diesel sold in Europe is powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbodiesel that produces 143 horsepower and 225 pound-feet of torque. In European cycle testing, which can be up to 20 percent optimistic, the car yields fuel economy of 54.7 mpg.

The MINI Cooper SD diesel

The MINI Cooper SD diesel

Enlarge Photo

That’s a pretty significant gain over the 37 mpg highway achieved by the current MINI fuel economy champs, the base MINI Cooper and the MINI Cooper Coupe.

We’re big fans of diesel motors, and are confident the diesel MINI would sell well in the United States. We don’t expect to see it any sooner than 2014, but it sounds like the car will be worth the wait.

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