The resurrection of MINI under BMW’s stewardship is one of the great success stories of the new millenium, and there’s an all-new Cooper ready to make it’s world debut in just a few months. The first details of the new Cooper are starting to leak out, including a new range of engines that for the first time includes a tiny turbo three-cylinder.
These new engines are the first BMW-made motors for the MINI Cooper, featuring the TwinPower direct injection and turbocharging technologies. The motors are set to break cover in November. The base engine will be a 1.5 liter three-cylinder turbo making 134 horsepower and 162 ft-lbs of torque. It’s actually a rather large three-cylinder engine, though not quite as big as the 2.0 liter four-banger that will offer 189 horsepower and 207 ft-lbs of torque. An “overboost” feature allows the three-cylinder to make up to 189 ft-lbs of torque, and the four-cylinder up to 227 ft-lbs for short periods of time.
No mention of fuel economy numbers or of the rumored diesel model, but you can be sure that fuel economy is going to be important to the MINI brand going forward. It’s amazing how much power automakers are able to wring out of smaller and smaller engines, with the MINI motors rivaling the power of much bigger engines, though Ford is still the leader in three-cylinder performance.
The new MINI is more than just some fresh engine choices; a new chassis employs various weight-lightening features shared with the BMW 1-series, and new transmission options (both automatic and standard) will help make the most of every gallon of gas.
But as far as fuel economy goes, MINI needs to at least hit 40 mpg to get anyone’s attention. These gas engines can only get so much smaller though, and new solutions will have to be employed if MINI hopes to keep an MPG edge on the competition.
What I’m saying is, where’s the MINI hybrid at?