This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Pelican Parts' new book, How to Maintain and Modify your new MINI The book contains 240 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to changing your brake pads. With more than 500+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any MINI owner's collection. The book is due to be released in late 2015. See The Official Book Website for more details.
One of the most confusing aspects of discussing MINIs is the designations that are used to name the cars. In general, they followed a pretty consistent pattern, but unfortunately, some confusing exceptions occurred. I've gathered all of the information for nearly all of the MINI models and engines produced.
What does it mean when someone calls my car an R50? To start, MINI labeled each chassis style with an "engineering code". The "R" is a throwback to the MINI's original development with this Rover Group of England. When BMW acquired Rover, they decided to keep the designation prefix. As the body styles changed over the years, MINI introduced a new designation with each body change. The following is an overview of the different engineering codes and what they mean.
Model years 2001-2006, R50, R52, R53 "Mk 1" MINI
From 2001 to 2006, MINI produced four hatchback models. R50 refers to the base model MINIs. These are the Cooper, the MINI One and the diesel-powered MINI One D. R53 refers to the top of the line hatchback model, the MINI Cooper S and Cooper S models with the John Cooper Works package. From 2005-08, MINI produced a convertible variant available in One, Cooper and Cooper S versions. This car is known as the R52. It is also important to note that in the US market, only the MINI Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works optioned cars (in both hatchback and convertible variants) are offered.
The overall body style is commonly referred to as the "Mk 1" MINI.
Model years 2007-Present, R55, R56, R57 "Mk 2" MINI
In 2007, a re-engineered version of the MINI hatchback model was released. Instead of having a separate engineering code for the base model and Cooper S models as with the earlier cars, the overall body style was designated as one code, the R56. Along with this new body style, MINI released the Clubman, a station wagon version of the MINI, resurrecting another nameplate from the past. This body style is referred to as the R55. From 2009 on, the MINI convertible has been re-engineered and is referred to as the R57.
The MINI One and the Cooper D are not available in the United States.
The overall body style is commonly referred to as the "Mk 2" MINI.
|R50||MINI One, One D and Cooper (2001-06)|
|R52||MINI Convertible (2005-08)|
|R53||MINI Cooper S, Cooper S JCW (2001-06)|
|R55||MINI Clubman, Clubman S, Clubman D, Clubman JCW (2007- )|
|R56||MINI One, MINI E, Cooper, Cooper D Cooper S, Cooper S JCW (2007- )|
|R57||MINI Convertible 2009- )|
What do the letters on the back of the car mean? To add to the confusion, MINI used a whole host of letters and numbers to designate differences between the different models in a series. For instance "Clubman S" would mean a Clubman model with the "S" trim package. It's important to keep in mind that various MINIs used different designations worldwide. This is a list of the most common.
|The base model for the US market|
|Cooper S||The supercharged(early models) or turbocharged version of the Cooper|
|Clubman||The station wagon variant of the MINI|
|Clubman S||As above, but turbocharged|
|JCW||John Cooper Works, a performance package one step above the Cooper S or Clubman S|
|One||The base model for the European market|
|E||A limited run of 500 fully electric powered cars (as of 2010)|
What are they talking about when they say my Cooper has a Tritec or a Prince engine? Is the car German, British or what? Is it a MINI Mopar?
The current version of the MINI traces its roots from two companies, BMW and Rover Group. The development history is a little confusing, but here it is in a nutshell.
The development of the MINI was done between 1995 and 2001 by Rover Group in the United Kingdom and BMW in Germany. There was some disagreement over the project initially as Rover desired to build an economy based car, while BMW wished to use the nameplate to build a small sports car. BMW's concept eventually prevailed.
When BMW acquired Rover Group in 1994, they became owners of the Pressed Steel Company's Swindon, Wiltshire pressing plant. This plant had produced several classic British cars, such as the Austin Healy Sprite, MG Midget, Triumph Spitfire, MGB, as well as the Honda Accord, Civic and CR-V.
Although BMW quickly disposed of much of Rover Group's assets in 2000, they retained the Swindon pressings plant and set up a subsidiary, Swindon Pressings Limited (SPL) in 2000. SPL now provides most of the body panels and body sub-assemblies for the MINI.
In 1997, Chrysler Corporation and Rover Group (by then a subsidiary of BMW) formed Tritec, a joint venture to design and manufacture small 4 cylinder engines. Chrysler was to design the engines and they were to be built by BMW in Curitiba, Brazil. Production of these engines began in September of 1999. When BMW sold Rover Group, they retained the stake in Tritec. The "Mk I" Mini One, Cooper and Cooper S all used variants of the Tritec engine, while the Mini One D used a Toyota-built diesel engine.
When Chrysler merged with Daimler-Benz to become DaimlerChrysler, BMW entered into a new partnership with PSA Peugeot Citroen to develop engines after BMW's contract with Tritec ended in 2007. The resulting engine is codenamed Prince and used in
All "Mk 2" MINI models with the exception of the Cooper D. This car uses a Ford Europe sourced turbo diesel.
The Prince engine's components are produced by PSA Peugeot Citroen in France with MINI engine assembly in Birmingham, UK. This, along with bodywork manufactured in Swindon with final assembly at Cowley, Oxford makes the car essentially British-built again.
|Engines Used in the MINI|
|Tritec 1.4||SOHC 16 valve 1.4L 4-cylinder. Used only in the Greek and Portuguese version of the MINI One til 2008|
|Tritec 1.6||SOHC 16 valve 1.4L 4-cylinder. Used in MINI Cooper and MINI One in all other markets until 2008|
|Tritec 1.6 SC||SOHC 16 valve supercharged 1.6L 4-cylinder. Used in R52 and R53 MINI Cooper S.|
|Toyota 1ND-TV||SOHC 8 valve 1.4L 4-cylinder diesel with direct fuel injection. Used in R50 MINI One D.|
|Prince ET3||DOHC 16 valve 1.4L 4-cylinder with Valvetronic variable valve timing. Used in MINI One (2007- )|
|Prince N12||DOHC 16 valve 1.6L 4-cylinder with Valvetronic variable valve timing. Used in MINI Cooper and Clubman (2007- )|
|Prince N14||DOHC 16 valve 1.6L turbocharged 4-cylinder with direct fuel injection. Used in MINI Cooper S, Clubman S (2007- )|
|Ford DV6||16 valve 1.6L turbo diesel with direct fuel injection. Used in Cooper D (2007- )|