2011 MINI Cooper SD

2011 MINI Cooper SD

Diesel engines are finally starting to gain traction in the U.S., following years of rhetoric from automakers that American buyers just didn’t want them in their cars.

It appears the tide has well and truly turned, with announcements in the past month alone confirming diesel versions of the Mercedes-Benz GLK, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Audi A8, and Porsche Cayenne for the 2013 model year.

Now the boss of MINI, Kay Segler, has revealed that the iconic British brand is considering bringing over some of its top-selling diesel models from overseas.

Speaking with Car and Driver, Segler conceded that the single most common request MINI receives from American buyers was for diesel-powered models.

“We’re delighted to hear it,” he said. “We are looking into this not for the short term, but for the medium term.”

If given the green light, the most likely scenario for a diesel-powered MINI would be as an option on the next-generation MINI, due out late this year or early next. And eventually, it could become an option across the brand range, not just a single choice.

Slipping a torquey and efficient diesel into the small and sporty platform of the MINI could be just what U.S. drivers are looking for, at least in larger cities: something nimble, easy to park, yet highly efficient and not terribly expensive.

Pictured above is the sporty MINI Cooper SD unveiled last year at the Geneva Motor Show. It comes fitted with a 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine developing 143 horsepower and 225 pound-feet of torque, the latter arriving at just 1,750 rpm. This is good for 0-60 mph jaunts in around 8.0 seconds and a top speed of 134 mph--all while returning a claimed fuel economy of 54.7 mpg on the European combined cycle. Even with more conservative EPA testing, that mileage claim should still exceed 40 mpg in the U.S.!