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First drive: Mini Cooper D – on sale now



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According to Mini, its customers don’t traditionally opt for diesel engines. But that was before the arrival of the Cooper D, whose timing couldn’t have been better.

Replacing the One D and hailed as the BMW Group’s cleanest ever car, the Cooper D is expected to boost diesel sales to at least 5% of the overall annual target, up from 3% in 2006.

“Customers are slowly changing,” explains Emma Lowndes, marketing manager at Mini. “They want environmentally friendly cars and we can offer that with the Cooper D.”

The car has a diesel particulate filter built in, which the manufacturer claims almost completely eliminates diesel emissions.

Indeed, the Cooper D is so efficient that it would be exempt from London’s emission influenced charging, if proposals go through.

But this car isn’t all about green credentials. Like all Minis it has excellent handling, precise steering and a comfortable ride.

When the overboost function is engaged, the 1.6-litre engine, which it shares with the Peugeot 207, really comes into its own and the car becomes something of a torquey performer. It’s a selling point for buyers whose desire is torn between motoring fun and efficiency.

Price: From £14,190
Engine: 1.6-litre 110bhp @ 4,000rpm
Performance: 0-62mph 9.9sec; top speed 121mph
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Efficiency: 64.2mpg combined; 118g/km CO2
CAP RV 3yr/30k: £8,175 (57%)
Rivals: Peugeot 207 GT HDi, Volkswagen Polo 1.9 TDI 100 Sport
Strengths: Stylish and green
Weaknesses: Looks might not appeal
Opportunity: Eco-wise city dwellers
Threat: Cheaper rivals
USP: Cleanest-ever Mini

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