As part of the ongoing changes to the Mini range, there’s now a new diesel engine in Cooper versions of the hatchback, Clubman and convertible.
Derived from the unit in parent company BMW’s 1 Series, the turbocharged direct-injection 1.6-litre engine has more power and torque than the unit replaces, but is also more economical and has lower emissions.
At low speeds, there’s no hiding the tell-tale sounds of a diesel engine, but once you pick up the pace, things quieten down nicely. The unit combines well with the standard stop-start system, too, although again there’s no disguising the engine’s cough and splutter as it kicks back into life.
Petrol vs diesel
Generally, performance is strong, and the strong pull in the mid-range (much more than in the old engine) means you don’t need to rev the unit as hard as you do with the petrol alternative.
That means the two engines have very different characters. The petrol model is the more exciting and sporty because it needs to be worked hard, whereas you can be a little lazier with the diesel, relying on its mid-range pull to haul you along at a perfectly acceptable rate.
The only problem comes if you let the revs drop much below 1750rpm. Amble round a tight turn in town in second gear, for example, and there’s a distinct lull in proceedings until the turbocharger kicks the engine into life.
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