Cooper vs. Cooper Diesel

Having test driven a Clubman recently I’m still undecided whether to go for the petrol or the diesel version. The test drive car had the 120 hp petrol engine. Before driving it I was somehow settled on the 110 hp diesel.
The reasons? The low emissions and fuel consumption, and the turbo kick.

clubman_diesel-storeThe Cooper Diesel is ten horses short compared to the Cooper. But is the Cooper the faster car?
Looking at the diesel’s torque you get a glimpse of where the diesel’s strengths are. It offers 240 Nm between 1,750–2,000 revs. And at full steam the over-boost kicks in to deliver 260 Nm. The Cooper only gets to 160 Nm of torque at 4,250 revs.
Sprinting from 0-60 the Cooper is 0.6 seconds faster, but not so when it comes to pulling away from 50 to 75 mph. Here the Cooper Diesel outperforms the Cooper by 2.3 seconds in 4th gear and 2.5 in 5th gear.

Ok, so far for the turbo kick, now let’s look at the economical side.
There are usually four factors that have an effect on the cost of ownership of a vehicle;

  • depreciation
  • tax
  • insurance
  • fuel consumption

To find out which of the two versions costs less, I used some assumptions to calculate what is costs me to own each. Comparing both will result in a conclusion which version is actually the better deal.

As depreciation is normally a bit complex to calculate, let’s assume the car is a lease. If you manage to sign the right kind of deal, the residual value will be the bank’s risk not yours. This then makes it as simple as adding up the leasing rates – and down payment if you choose to make one – over the contract’s term, e.g. 36 months. Now add the tax and insurance costs that accrue over the same time.
You will end up with two sums, one for the Cooper, the other for the Cooper Diesel. Compare the two and one will likely be lower than the other.
In my very personal case, owning a Cooper Diesel is € 1,686 more expensive then owning a Cooper.

What is still missing at this point is the cost of actually driving each version.
Diesel is less expensive then petrol here in Germany. And the Cooper Diesel needs less fuel too.

So the higher costs for having the car over a 36 months period may be offset by the amount and cost of fuel needed over time. The open question is: How many kilometers do I need to drive during the 36 months to break even?
I calculated that the diesel is €4.11 cheaper per 100 km (ca. 62 miles). This is based on my driving and the resulting likely fuel consumption of each version – paired with an average fuel price for diesel and petrol, assuming the price difference between the two fuel types remains the same.
So if the diesel is € 1,686 more expensive without moving, but is €4.11 cheaper per 100 km, then I would need to drive at least 45.410 km (28,217 miles) in the 36 months to break even. That is within the range I think I’ll drive over my 36 months term and also in line with the leasing calculation I have from a dealer.

The conclusion?
The Cooper Diesel won’t be less expensive for me, because the mileage I’ll be clocking on the car over the 3 years will be just about at the break even point.
Yet, it will save the planet 1.044 kg of CO² (yes, one-thousand-and-forty-four kilograms).
That … and the turbo are reason enough to go for the diesel.


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