part of the BMW group, advanced technology has to be
an intrinsic part of the MINI culture, and one might
add, of its jargon, at least in some aspects. In fact,
MINI got the BMW passion for those resembling
abbreviations, such as, CBC, DSC, DTC, in addition of
course to the more common ABS, EBD... glossary.
This section aims to present the
different technologies which were mentioned in the
other pages of our presentation of the 2009 MINI
range, rather than having them repeated with each
version or model.
You will find here a more detailed
explanation of the technologies related to engines or
fuel saving, as well as comfort or active safety
systems to help the driver correct handling surprises
that might occur in bad weather, over bad road
surfaces and / or due to a simple... adrenaline
Starting from the power unit, the
four-cylinder petrol engine presented here is the
1,598 cc four-cylinder (joint development between BMW
and the French group PSA, Peugeot - Citroën) which is
made of light alloy and comes with the same bore and
stroke, but with three different performance profiles:
one in the MINI Cooper versions (normally-aspirated,
120 hp), another in the Cooper S versions (with turbo
and direct gasoline injection, 175 hp), and the third
in the MINI John Cooper Works versions (turbo and
direct gasoline injection, 211 hp).
The various output, torque,
consumption and emissions ratings can be found in the
presentation of different 2009 MINI models.
This page only presents the different technical terms
encountered in the other pages.
enhances turbocharger response and ensures a
spontaneous build-up of engine power, virtually free
of the “turbo gap” when accelerating. By
separating the ducts of two cylinders at a time from
one another in the exhaust manifold and the
turbocharger, this approach reduces exhaust gas
counter pressure at low engine speeds and benefit from
the dynamic effect of the pulsating gas columns in the
of the direct gasoline injection (BMW
engine), with the fuel injector spraying
directly in the combustion chamber (top
right, with the spark ignition on the
Applying the common-rail principle
already known in the diesel technology, a
stainless-steel common rail (connected to all
injectors) is filled with fuel by a high-pressure pump
at the rear-end of the intake camshaft. Injection
valves positioned at the side of the cylinder head
then receive the pressurised fuel from this common
rail and deliver it within fractions of a second, in
the most appropriate dose and timing, directly to the
combustion chamber (unlike the traditional
port-injection method, where fuel is injected and
mixed with air before being sucked to the combustion
chamber through the inlet valves). Four valve pockets
and a combustion chamber trough positioned precisely
in the middle of each piston help to provide optimum
stratification of the homogeneous fuel/air mixture, to
make the combustion the most efficient possible.
This BMW technology adapts the
intake valve lift and the valve opening
period to the power and performance requirements
(engine load and driving conditions).
The camshaft acts on the valves
not directly via a follower arm, but rather through
an additional intermediate lever where the pivot
point is adjusted infinitely by an electrically
driven eccentric shaft. Changing over from
minimum to maximum lift takes only about 300
milliseconds – and at the same time valve
timing is varied on both the intake and exhaust
sides as a function of engine speed. This adjustment
process is again infinite, with valve timing set to
current driving conditions likewise within 300
Interacting with one another,
variable valve management and engine speed-related
camshaft control optimise the torque curve and power
output, to provide good torque right from the start
at low speeds, while developing significantly more
power than a conventional engine at high revs.
A further advantage offered by
both technologies is the significant reduction of
fuel consumption, which is further optimised by an
oil pump with volume flow control and an
electronically activated water pump for the coolant
circuit, as well as the Brake Energy Regeneration
When the engine is
pulling the car, this BMW technology automatically disconnects
the generator (which converts mechanical
energy, from the rotational movement here, into
In a conventional
car, a certain part of the engine power is taken by
the alternator to supply the necessary electrical
needs of the car and to charge the battery. With the Brake
Energy Regeneration, this partial power is not
taken away from the engine if it is pulling the car,
so the driver gets the most of the engine power for
more dynamic acceleration, while contributing also to
reduce fuel consumption and emissions.
The necessary supply
of electric power to the car's needs remains
guaranteed since the generator function is reactivated
as soon as the car changes to overrun (gas pedal off),
including when the driver applies the brakes.
In any case, the charge status of
the battery is permanently monitored by the car’s
energy management, to adapt the generator function to
the real needs of the battery and to driving
conditions and requirements, preventing automatic
generator disconnection if necessary.
Another fuel and emissions
reduction measure comes from the Auto Start-Stop
function, on all manual-gearbox versions. Depending on
parameters such as ambient and engine temperature as
well as the battery charge level, the Auto Start-Stop
system switches off the engine automatically whenever
it is not required, once the driver moves the gear
lever to neutral and takes his foot off the clutch
pedal, for example when stopping at the traffic
lights. To start the engine again, the driver has to press
down the clutch pedal: the engine automatically
re-starts without the delay.
The Auto Start Stop function is
activated immediately whenever the driver starts the
engine, with the system becoming fully available as
soon as the engine oil has reached the operating
Permanently supervising the status
of the car and weather conditions, the Auto Start-Stop
control function is able to determine situations in
which it is advisable to keep the engine running –
for example where the battery is almost flat, in very
hot (more than 30 °C) or low (less than 3 °C)
exterior temperatures. The engine also keeps on
running during short intermediate stops as long as the
temperature inside the car has not yet reached the
level set on the air conditioning or if heating power
is required to de-ice or de-mist the windscreen.
The system is also able to
distinguish between a short stop and the end of a
drive, not starting the engine again automatically
when the driver, with the engine switched off, opens
his seat belt, the driver’s door or the engine
In any case, Auto Start-Stop may be
deactivated whenever required at the touch of a
Shift Indicator, to suggest the best
gear to engage.
As a standard feature (check
differences between markets or versions) on manual
gearbox models (6-speed), this indicator (see opposite
photo) helps reduce fuel consumption and emissions.
The engine’s electronic control unit permanently
analyses engine speed, driving conditions and the
position of the gas pedal, to determine the best gear
for economic motoring on the basis of this data.
As soon as it is appropriate to
shift gears, an arrow symbol appears in the display
beneath the rev counter and the ideal gear is
shown as a numerical signal. The system takes into
consideration the driver’s respective style of
The driver may activate or
deactivate the gearshift point indicator through the
The Sports Button option serves
to mastermind engine management, the steering and,
when fitted, the 6-speed automatic transmission.
Activating the sports mode at the touch of a button,
the driver adjusts the gas pedal control map
for a faster response, and even more direct
steering response. On cars with automatic
transmission, electronic management again helps to make
the gearshift even faster.
For the front axle, MINI models
adopt McPherson spring struts for their precise
wheel guidance while at the rear, a multi-arm
suspension offers optimum road contact through
elaborate kinematics and the use of aluminium
longitudinal arms to reduce weight to a minimum.
Anti-rollbars contribute to reducing body sway.
Suspension settings differ of course depending on
the different models and versions.
EPS makes a significant
contribution to agility, as power assistance is
adapted to road speed, high assistance (less effort
is needed to turn the wheel) in parking manoeuvres
to much lower assistance (gradually) at higher
speeds to enhance car stability and driver control.
But EPS also enhances the
efficiency of the car with the electric motor only
being activated and consuming energy when power
assistance is really required or is desired by the
driver. Comparatively, a conventional hydraulic
power assistance system draws a certain part of the
engine power, constantly, to keep the pressure high
enough in the traditional hydraulic systems.
The new MINI models come with a
set of active safety systems and functions to help
the driver avoid an accident from happening (passive
safety provides its protection once the accident
happens): ABS anti-lock brakes, EBD
Electronic Brake Force Distribution, CBC
Cornering Brake Control, as well as DSC
Dynamic Stability Control including Hill
Start-Off Assistance (for standard or optional
equipment, it is worth checking for differences
between models, versions and markets).
intervenes individually in the car’s
brakes and reduces engine output to
provide extra stability, preventing
under- or oversteering (left car in
the graphic), as on slippery surfaces
When necessary, DSC intervenes
individually in the car’s brakes and reduces engine
output to provide extra stability, preventing under-
or oversteering, as on slippery surfaces for instance.
The Brake Assistant, also
included in the DSC package, recognises emergency
braking and immediately builds up maximum brake
power whenever necessary, keeping the car’s
stopping distance as short as possible.
As an optionally available
sub-system function, DSC offers DTC Dynamic Traction
Control to allow carefully controlled slip on the
drive wheels. MINI is the only car maker to offer this
function on a front-wheel-drive vehicle.
To activate DTC, the driver has to
press a button before setting off with the wheels
slightly spinning – for example on a snowbound
road or loose sand – or approaching the car’s
physical driving limits even more dynamically whenever
required. Then, at a certain limit, DSC will cut in as
usual also in the DTC mode. The driver can also
completely deactivate DSC.
The Electronically Controlled
Locking function is available as part of the DTC
function. Referred to as Electronic Differential
Lock Control, this system applies the brakes
appropriately on a drive wheel spinning in a tight
bend, to enhance traction without a negative
influence on the steering behaviour.
DSC includes Hill Start-Off
Assistance (also called Hill-Start Assist) that
maintains braking for a brief moment after the
hand-break is released, to allow a manual MINI to
move uphill from standstill.