Mini reasons it’s greenest
The Cooper D is tops for fuel efficiency, writes STUART MARTIN
IF ANY car can make diesel driving trendy in Australia, it has to be the Mini. The born-again baby is one of the hottest choices with young drivers and the arrival of the Mini Cooper D ticks another big box for greenies.
Right now, Mini claims the $33,750 Cooper D is the most fuel-efficient car with the lowest CO2 of any sold in Australia.
The Cooper D has official fuel consumption of 3.9L/100km with C02 emissions of 104g/km, slipping in just below Toyota’s current Prius.
So the D has the numbers, but Mini has to ensure the car remains cool as a diesel.
‘‘That’s the big question, and I think the thing working in our favour is it’s inherently a Mini. We’re relying on the fact that a diesel in a Mini package is still a Mini,’’ Mini marketing manager Chris Brown says.
The D has a broader power dome on the bonnet and a larger front air intake for the induction hardware for the 1.6-litre commonrail, direct-injection turbodiesel engine.
It was co-developed and is shared with Peugeot and Citroen and comes with a particulate filter and variable-geometry turbo.
The turbo shares an overboost function, when the right pedal is floored, with the petrol Mini that gives an additional 20Nm of torque above the 240Nm available from 1750 revs. If you feel the need, the engine delivers 80kW of power.
Mini says the D is good for a 9.9-second sprint to 100km/h and a 195km/h top speed.
The manual Cooper D also has an automatic function to cut the engine in stop-start traffic. It works when the gearbox is in neutral and the clutch pedal is not pressed, restarting when the clutch pedal is touched. It’s not available on the automatic model.
The Cooper D also brings brake energy regeneration, which recharges the battery when coasting or braking, as well as smart oil and water pumps that kick in when required.
An underbody aero-panel, a ‘‘frictionoptimised’’ crank drive, electric power steering and more aluminium panels and components complete the green deal.
BROWN says the economy, range and emission benefits of diesels are well accepted, but admits the D auto suffers against the manual.
‘‘Some of the new technology doesn’t carry over into the automatic — the automatic stop/ start and the shift indicator, for example,’’ he says.
‘‘Those people more interested in economy are going to go for the manual and those looking for convenience will go for the auto.’’
The Cooper D carries the same equipment as the petrol Cooper, which means stability control, six airbags, 15-inch alloy wheels, airconditioning, CD sound, trip computer, sports steering wheel with audio and cruise controls and height-adjustable front seats.
Prices start at $33,750. The automatic jumps to $36,100 and the car’s thirst also rises to 5L/100km. A Chilli pack on the manual makes it $37,350.