Tag Archives: diesel

Changing the Perception of Diesel from Dirty and Slow to Clean and Fast

BMW, the company behind the MINI brand, runs a TV ad in the US to change the perception of Diesel powered cars.
No word about lower CO² emissions, lower fuel consumption, efficiency dynamics. No, no, no. Instead they show a “clean, quiet, powerful” 335d roaring and oversteering through the black exhaust smoke of the diesely past.

Watch the ad below. I enjoyed it. Do you?


Happy New Year!

Yes it’s been a while since the last post. Our MINI Clubman Diesel is still running well.
“Earl Grey” is now with us for over a year. Time for a brief review. In the past 12 months, he carried us over 7,000 miles, was refueled 22 times, sipping about 189 gallons of Diesel. That makes it an average of 36 mpg (US). The highest average mpg was at 42.8 in the middle of summer, and the lowest at 29.4 during a trip to the Nürburgring.

Finally Our MINI Clubman Diesel received his red ears. This is something that was planned from the very beginning. I actually mocked up a view using the MINI Build Your Own web tool. But I never got it done for many reasons.
And so my wife secretly grabbed our MINI and the spare mirror caps I had purchased from a fellow MINI owner and drove to a local paint shop while I was traveling on business in November. There she picked a beautiful red color and got the mirror caps painted. I then found them under the Christmas tree! A very nice surprise. I hope you agree they look great on Our MINI Clubman Diesel.

For 2011 Our MINI Clubman Diesel has some existing events lined up.
There will be many drives out to a building site that we will call home in late summer. We are building a house for the family and a garage for Our MINI Clubman Diesel.
Then there will also be MINI United in late August happening in the south of France. I hope to make it out there this year and I hope to meet with many of you fellow MINI enthusiasts!

Video of the 2011 MINI Clubman Cooper Diesel

Thanks to MotoringFile video is available of the updated 2011 MINI models.
One video includes close-ups of the 2011 Clubman Cooper Diesel. Fast forward to 3:00 to see it in full glory.

I’ve noticed the following changes:

  • The slightly changes faux side air vent at 3:10
  • New designed lower front bumper and chrome trim at 3:28
  • Wider buffers on back bumper at 4:00
  • LED tail lights at 4:10
  • New boot cover. It now curls up rather than dangling around. Nice! Watch it in action at 4:33
  • All-black interior center console with new radio and air con controls at 5:15 (Looks like they haven’t change the not ideal position of the USB/Aux ports.)
  • Improved sat nav unit at 5:30
  • New belt clip for Clubdoor-side front seat belt at 5:52. Nice!
  • New Diesel engine at 6:00, pure engine sounds at 6:22
  • Lots of unexciting drive by video from 6:30 to the end.

Can you find more? Let me know in the comments!

Our Clubman Diesel gets less thirsty

Diesel Pump, courtesy of vistavision

Whatever happened when I drove our MINI Diesel Clubman across the 3,000 miles mark, it has quite a positive impact on its fuel consumption. According to the on-board computer the average diesel thirst is all of a sudden down and now in the 41 mpg (US) region. Before the average consumption was more or less around 38 mpg.

As the on-board computer tends to be not that accurate when it comes to real fuel consumption, I’m tracking the real consumption using Spritmonitor.de. There, the calculated average based on mileage and all fuelings so far is 35 mpg. I’m curious to see how this changes after the next re-fueling.

What is your average?

How to Promote Diesel Engines – Audi’s Super Bowl Ad

We chose a Diesel engine for our Clubman because of its green appeal and the superior performance – at least when compared to the fuel-powered Cooper version. But some don’t get that choice. The Cooper Diesel it not available in the US and so are many other manufacturers’  diesel versions.

Why is that? Well, because of two things I guess.

  1. Historically, because of the lack of demand for diesel powered cars in the US.
  2. And then because of strict environmental and emission laws. Still only a hand-full of the latest diesel engines are conforming to these.

German car manufacturer Audi has achieved full greenness with their TDI engines and once again proofed “Vorsprung durch Technik” is not just a marketing claim.
And now they are trying to hammer this into the US consumers and generate demand for their diesel version with this Super Bowl ad:

Would you buy a MINI Diesel or what would it need for you to buy one? Maybe the upcoming Cooper S Diesel? Let me know in the comments.

The Cooper Diesel and its Fuel Consumption

After clocking the first 500 miles it’s now time for a quick check on how the Cooper Diesel engine of our Clubman does in terms of fuel economy. When I decided to go for the Diesel the main reasons were its low CO2 emissions, fuel consumption, and the good torque of the turbo.
The on-board computer told me I was driving at an average fuel consumption of 34 mpg. That is not overly impressive.
In the past weeks I drove the Clubman mainly through inner city traffic on my way to and from work. I have to admit I wasn’t never good at driving with a light foot. Especially when zipping through inner city traffic. I often try to beat the next light or to go around that slow car before the next turn.
And then there are a couple of other factors that need consideration when look at that rather poor mpg number.

Continue reading

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. Continue reading