Mini Upgrades Engines; More Power, Less Thirst

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Although a revised diesel Mini and the advent of a new Mini ONE convertible model aren't relevant to our market, Mini is revealing some updated products -- engines, really -- that will eventually trickle into North America.

The Mini Cooper may still use a normally aspirated 1.6-liter I-4, but thanks in part to a few new tricks -- notably variable valve timing -- it helps increase power while decreasing emissions. The new European-spec engine now produces 122 hp at 6000 rpm (up from 118 hp in the present U.S. car) and 118 lb-ft of torque at 4250 (versus the present 114 lb.-ft.).

Variable valve timing is also added to the turbocharged 1.6-liter mill found in the Mini Cooper S. Power is now up to 184 hp at 5500 rpm (versus 172 hp), and 176 lb.-ft. of torque from 1600-5000 rpm. That last figure hardly changes from the current car, but a new “overboost” function -- similar to that found on the new BMW Z4 sDrive35is -- can briefly raise torque to 191 lb.-ft.

These figures are, of course, for European-spec cars, which go on sale this summer. We in North America won’t receive these upgrades until the 2011 model year, so expect finalized figures for our market to emerge later this year.

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