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MINI Designations
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Pelican Technical Article:

MINI Designations

Jared Fenton


1 hour1 hr






10mm socket and wrench, pliers, zip ties

Applicable Models:

F54 MINI Cooper Clubman Wagon (2016)
F54 MINI Cooper Clubman S Wagon (2016)
F55 MINI Cooper Hatchback (2015-16)
F55 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2015-16)
F56 MINI Cooper Hatchback (2014-16)
F56 MINI Cooper JCW Hatchback (2015-16)
F56 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2014-16)
F57 MINI Cooper Convertible (2016)
F57 MINI Cooper JCW Convertible (2016)
F57 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2016)
R50 MINI Cooper Hatchback (2002-06)
R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08)
R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
R53 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2002-06)
R55 MINI Cooper Clubman Wagon (2008-14)
R55 MINI Cooper JCW Clubman Wagon (2009-14)
R55 MINI Cooper S Clubman Wagon (2008-14)
R56 MINI Cooper Hatchback (2007-13)
R56 MINI Cooper JCW Hatchback (2009-13)
R56 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2007-13)
R57 MINI Cooper Convertible (2009-15)
R57 MINI Cooper JCW Convertible (2009-15)
R57 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2009-15)
R58 MINI Cooper Coupe Coupe (2012-15)
R58 MINI Cooper JCW Coupe Coupe (2012-15)
R58 MINI Cooper S Coupe Coupe (2012-15)
R59 MINI Cooper JCW Roadster Convertible (2012-15)
R59 MINI Cooper Roadster Convertible (2012-15)
R59 MINI Cooper S Roadster Convertible (2012-15)
R60 MINI Cooper Countryman Hatchback (2011-16)
R60 MINI Cooper Countryman JCW ALL4 Hatchback (2013-16)
R60 MINI Cooper Countryman S Hatchback (2011-16)
R60 MINI Cooper Countryman S ALL4 Hatchback (2011-16)
R61 MINI Cooper Paceman Hatchback (2013-16)
R61 MINI Cooper Paceman JCW ALL4 Hatchback (2013-16)
R61 MINI Cooper Paceman S Hatchback (2013-16)
R61 MINI Cooper Paceman S ALL4 Hatchback (2013-16)

Parts Required:

Air filter

Hot Tip:

take your time

Performance Gain:

Allows access to clutch cylinder, tranny mount, thermostat

Complementary Modification:

Replace battery
How to Maintain and Modify your new MINI

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.

Code Description
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
D Diesel-powered
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- )

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Comments and Suggestions:
Mike Comments: Have a 2002 mini cooper non s. Can you tell me what the base engine timing is at idle. Thanks Mike
March 15, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am not sure what that would be, but I will post this to the MINI forum and see if there is another member that has observed this with a scan tool. - Casey at Pelican Parts  
1988targa Comments: My 2007 Base was cutting out wirh a poor idle. I changed to marine gas and replaced spark plugs. One had a crack in the porcelain insulator. It ran better but not great. I then ran fuel injection cleaner in the nexy three tankfulls. It took a while, maybe a thousand miles for the engine to run prperly. I think it may have been carbon buildup that cleaned up from the bad plug. I now use fuel injection cleaner every 4 tankfuls and have had no problems in 2 years. It you can only buy 89 ocrane marine gas, you might add octane booster.
August 12, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Tom Comments: I have a 2007 Mini Cooper. The motor just started idling rough and when not under load will start jerking. Can't tell if it's loss of fuel, or loading up. When it won't idle or is jerky at speed the only code it throws misfire in cylinders. Checked for vacuum leak, none, pulled plugs, aren't gas soaked, replaced coil pack, nothing. Any ideas
August 6, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be a bad coil. Sounds like an engine misfire. I would check spark, fuel and compression on all cylinders. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Zurdo Comments: i have 2004 mini base model, my trammy is gone, only have 1st and reverse what may be the problem, thanks
February 9, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: manual or auto? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Tony Comments: I have a
2008 Mini Cooper 2dr, hardtop Non turbo...

I need a replacement eng / motor.
Not certain what one. My guess is the R-56 or R-57
What engine do I need.
~ T
October 20, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Likely a N12 engine. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Rayzor Comments: I have a 2007 mini...engine codes coming up...278A...2851...2711...2863...every once in a while no engine performance...
September 5, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be an issue with the Valvetronic motor or shaft sensor. Check the limit stops using a MINI scan tool. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Greg Comments: Hi nick. i have just replaced the cyl head on 2008 mini cooper clubman.
set the valve timing up with the correct tools. but having a problem with the
valvetronic shaft keeps altering advancing up is there any way this has to be set
up. fault codes 2853 2857. Thanks Greg
September 2, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You may have to relearn the motor stops using a MINI scan tool. I would start there. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Rob Comments: Hi Nick,
I've found your knowledge of the mini to be impressive. With that said, I have a 2008 clubman non s model and have a coolant leak on the thermostat housing side. A dye test proved to be inconclusive. I am therefor looking to replace the thermostat housing itself but am having a difficult time finding the correct housing for the replacement. Any help on what I should be looking for is greatly appreciated, such as am I looking for a R55 or R 56 thermostat housing? I'm confused to as what these numbers refer to when I am searching for parts.
August 12, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You need the second generation housing. Just be sure the coolant pipe at the back of the engine (under the intake manifold) isn't leaking. Should have a DiY for these repairs in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

I’m not the best with part numbers.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Marco Comments: Hello
I live with a 2011 Cooper S Countryman All4, manual,70k+. I wanted to know if the How to Maintain and Modify your Mini would be released? It has a premier date of mid summer 2015.
July 18, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I have been told, very soon. I don't have much more info than that. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
CameronMC40 Comments: Hey Nick, great articles full of help as always. Don't forget to add the MINI Cooper S MC40 into the R53 series there! Also looking for a guide as to locate the wiring for the Brake Pad Sensor. Mine has actually torn off and need to find the wires :X
May 22, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Ripped off or missing? Some models didn't have pad sensors.

Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it. I will have the article updated.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
hot shot Comments: I recently purchased a 2007 mini. The seller installed new struts. The issue is in the front.The springs don't sit on the strut plate. It doesn't appear that they were installed properly.
January 20, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will have to remove the struts and inspect then. If needed, compress the springs and adjust the spring hat. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
benben Comments: Hi i have a n12 engine, will not start, have fuel and spark? Will run up on easy start but wont even idle
January 17, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the engine has fuel and spark but will not start, it has to be lacking compression. Check engine compression and timing. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Stephen Comments: Hi, Nick. Thank you for the information. Great! I've got R50 2002 One Automatic 6 speed model only travelled 50K mile but transmission is suddenly gone completely. If I replace whole transmission, will I be able to drive it further? How much will it cost? Or do you reckon I'd better dismantle it? Please advise, I need to decide within couple of days. Thank you so much.
November 24, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I'd say a new trans will allow you get a tone more miles out of the vehicle.

As far as cost, I wouldn't know. Call around for a few quotes. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Jared Comments: Thanks for the awesome info. I am new to minis. Just picked up a used 07 R6S for my daughter and am falling in love with it. Time to learn more about it.
October 18, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Poor boy Comments: I have a 2007 Mini Cooper R56 1.6 liter non turbo 1598cc it is sluggish on take off no engine codes help
July 24, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would perform a fuel delivery system test. Check fuel pressure, volume and quality.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
koos Comments: I need to buy a crank of a 2007 mini cooper s jcw cause the old one got damaged
June 23, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
blackdog Comments: I have a 2007 base model mini cooper.The engine was changed with a used one.How do I tell which engine is in it now ?
Thank you.
April 11, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There will be an engine code on the front of the crankcase. On a flat machined plate, engraved in the engine. LIkely the same model engine that was removed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
marco Comments: i just installed new timeing chain and head gasket took head to machine shop to have magnaflux some how he moved the valves now i need ti retime could you help me out with this i know the a crank pin has to be put in for tip dead center i lostat the cam spokets please help marco
March 30, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
mike Comments: Hi Nick, does your manual cover how to remove cyl. head and replace the valves on a 2004 cooper R50. Thank-you Mike.
March 5, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The Bentley Repair manual does: #item0 - Nick at Pelican Parts
Mike Comments: Hi Nick, I recently purchased a R56 "S" for my wife to drive during the summer months here in Michigan. Brought it home and it ran fine for 2 weeks, then the battery died. Bought a NAPA Gold same CCA for it, now it cranks and stalls, cranks and stalls ?? I read the following codes P0100, 102, 103, 104,,,, can you ballpark what I should be checking into ? Thanks, Mike
ps, my wife loves this thing !!
January 27, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Those are mass air flow sensor codes.

If the battery was replaced, it has to be registered with the DME, also the adaptations may have to be reset. I would start there. - Nick at Pelican Parts
pina Comments: Nick fault codes are p2847 p2863 & 28B4 .
October 15, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks but I still need your vehicle info. Last seven of the vin would be helpful. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
pina Comments: Nick , I am checking power at valvetronic motor because the fault code is telling me - valvetronic motor sluggish? have changed all fuses, relays, checked wiring from ecu to motor for breaks and its ok, have also checked power supply from bulkhead relay to ecu its ok what else can i check ?
October 14, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The fault code number would be helpful along with your vehicle information. The DME reads an eccentric shaft sensor to monitor Valvetronic camshaft position, if it doesn't see the correct movement it will set this code. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
pina Comments: help i have only 1.4 volts going to valvetronic motor
October 12, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Why are you checking power at the motor? Do you have a fault code? Start by check all the fuses. One may be faulty. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
JohnA Comments: Hi Nick,

Thank you for explaining the codes. I need to replace the head gasket in my daughter's Mini Cooper Diesel and can't find any information on how to go about it. It is the R50 W17 so has the Toyota 1ND-TV. Does your manual cover this model? A local garage seems to think you have to take the engine out by lifting the body up off it i.e. the engine has to come out underneath. If so it is beyond my DIY capabilities.
October 3, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We don't have that engine here in the US, our repair manuals would not cover it. Unless of course you have made a mistake with the engine code. Double check it to be sure it isn't an engine we have here. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
JoseCabra Comments: Hi Nick,

thanks for the article, very informative.
I was wondering about part interchangeability. Due to class restrictions we need to take our 1.6 N18 engine to 1.4 liters.
I was wondering if the 1.4 Tritec crankshaft would fit in the 1.6 N18.

August 30, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The Tritec engines and the New Generation engines have different manufacturers. My guess would be no. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Lostinky Comments: The descriptions in your chart at the end of the article show the Tritec 1.6 as being a 1.4L engine.
August 24, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: A Tritec 1.4 was used in foreign countries until 2008. Thatis not a typo. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
fladale Comments: Great history homework, Any updates on the motor that is used in the 2013 GP I think it is an n-18?

April 28, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The N18 is the latest turbocharged engine. The GP gets a version of it with a tad more power. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
luisegranada Comments: Excellent clarification and history note about mini engines.
Im getting a 7000 miles used cabrio S from 2005. Great piece, have to see what I have to pay attention on.
Any help?
November 4, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Good luck on your vehicle search. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Sat 4/29/2017 02:15:02 AM