Over in Europe, more than half of all new cars are powered by diesel motors. Why? Quite simply because automakers are getting better and better efficiency out of these oil-burners. And when gas costs an average of $8 a gallon, like it does across most of Europe, every MPG counts. In America, things are different, though diesel vehicles have been getting a second look from consumers lately. Perhaps that is why MINI is still considering a diesel engine option for American car buyers.
MINI already sells a diesel model in Europe, with the Cooper SD producing an impressive 143 horsepower and 225 ft-lbs of torque, while returning about 65 MPG on the European test cycle. That translates to over 50 mpg on the U.S., and those power numbers promise plucky performance from the German-owned British brand. What’s not to like?
Well for MINI, the question is whether or not a diesel engine will attract new buyers, or simply steer would-be buyers away from other gas-powered models. U.S. MINI’s already have good gas mileage ratings, but they are definitely a niche brand; you either love MINI, or you don’t, though so far sales have been quite strong in the U.S., and a diesel engine could open up a lot of new buyers to the brand.
Right now anyone wanting a diesel-powered car has just two options; Volkswagen, or Mercedes. But the competition will start to heat up, as GM is planning a Chevy Cruze diesel, and Chrysler is bringing a 3.0 liter turbodiesel over from Europe for the next-gen Jeep Grand Cherokee. If MINI wants to do diesel in America, they better do it soon, lest they get lost in the hype surrounding other diesel engines coming across the Atlantic.
Source: Autoblog Green