MINI One D | Part Six

A Diesel That Feels Like A Go-Kart

Sir Alec Issigonis’s revolutionary concept – a wheel-at-each corner, low centre of gravity, wide track and long wheelbase are the vital ingredients for the driving dynamics of all MINIs. The MINI One D is no exception.

With the MINI One D weighting only slightly more than the MINI One the engineers were able to use the chassis and suspension from the MINI One without any modifications.

The chassis and suspension system used is similar to that of the current BMW 3 Series and is crucial to the car’s agility, excellent handling and neutral behaviour as it ensures the wheels remain at the optimum angle on the road at all times, irrespective of road conditions. The axle space is efficient, optimising the available depth and width of the boot.

The drivetrain has been strengthened with an additional driveshaft bearing bolted on the engine block. This is also of benefit to the driver as it results in axle shafts of equal length (rare in the small car market) providing symmetrical feedback to the driver when cornering and perfect, natural drivetrain balance.

The rack-and-pinion steering requires only 2.5 turns from lock to lock. It is particularly responsive to driver input and offers excellent feedback through the steering wheel. Reduced engine space means that the power steering assistance on the MINI One D is provided by an electric pump driven by the engine via a poly-V-belt. On all other MINIs an electric motor drives the hydraulic pump rather than the engine.

Looks That Still Turn Heads

Although the MINI is now in its third year of production it still looks as fresh as the day it was born. It’s the only small car that looks as comfortable parked in the VIP area at a premiership football club as it does in a supermarket car park.

The MINI One D can be easily spotted by the ‘D’ model designation on its rear. Other giveaways are the larger air grille in the front bumper to allow more air into the intercooler, side sills borrowed from the MINI Cooper S to assist with aerodynamics and a covered tailpipe. The headlights, rear lights and radiator grille all feature chrome surrounds.

The new MINI One D comes in ten colours in total. New this year is Solid Gold metallic. Other colours are Liquid Yellow, Black, Chilli Red and Pepper White (non metallic) and Pure Silver, Indi Blue, British Racing Green, Velvet Red and Cosmos Black (metallic). Like the MINI One, the bumpers and the roof are finished in the body colour.

continues... | Part Seven
Published 1 June 2003 Melanie Carter

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