Mini rea­sons it’s green­est

The Cooper D is tops for fuel ef­fi­ciency, writes STU­ART MARTIN

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

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.

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