E25 Approved For The MINI Hardtop Back In 2014!

  • Tuesday, 12 January 2016 11:02

In late December, the RFA released a report noting the increasing number of automakers who have explicitly approved the use of E15 in their 2016 models. But inside that report was the startling revelation that MINI had approved the use of E25 for its 2016 MINI Hardtop models.

What made that discovery all the more interesting is the fact that the 2016 MINI Hardtop is NOT a flex-fuel vehicle. That's right. E25 for a non-flex-fuel vehicle. And here's another fun fact: MINI has used these engines in the Hardtop since 2014 and yes, E25 was approved for these vehicles back in 2014!

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According to the manual for the 2016 MINI Hardtop, "Fuels with a maximum ethanol content of 25 percent, i.e. E10 or E25, may be used for refueling."

Equally interesting is that this applies to the two engine variants offered in the 2016 MINI Hardtop - the 134 HP turbocharged 1.5L 3-cylinder (MINI Cooper) and the 189 HP turbocharged 2.0L 4-Cylinder (MINI Cooper S). The 2.0L engine is tuned to produce 228 HP in the MINI John Cooper Works (JCW) variant.

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The 1.5L 3-Cylinder Engine in the 2016 MINI Hardtop

Both the two-door and four-door 2016 MINI Hardtops offer the same engine variants. Strangely, the MINI Clubman seems to feature the same engines as the MINI Hardtops but E25 isn't approved. Perhaps the MINI Clubman manuals haven't been updated?

So why E25? 

We'll admit, as pleased as we were to see a reputable automaker taking the lead in approving a higher blend of ethanol for its cars, it was a little puzzling that MINI - and by extension its parent company, BMW AG - chose E25. After all, E25 isn't a blend that is commonly available like E15 or E30.

A closer look at the manual for the 2016 MINI Hardtop suggested one possible reason : the octane rating.

According to the manual, MINI recommends an octane rating of 93 for the JCW variant. And E25 has an octane rating of around 93.

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The 2.0L Turbocharged engine in the 2016 MINI Hardtop JCW. Could this be the reason why MINI approves E25? 

Indeed, from that point of view, it makes sense. And when you consider what 93 octane E10 costs, MINI would have been seen E25 as an economical option for MINI Hardtop JCW owners. 

Interestingly, the JCW variant is available in all of MINI's models - the MINI Convertible, MINI Countryman, MINI Roadster, MINI Paceman and MINI Coupe and in all cases, the recommended octane is 93. But E25 isn't approved for any of those models. Stranger still is that the maximum ethanol content approved for those vehicles is E10, not E15.

That being said, none of those models are using the same 1.5L 3-Cylinder and 2.0L 4-Cylinder engines featured in the MINI Hardtop. Most feature an older 1.6L engine that was co-developed with PSA Peugeot Citroen and perhaps MINI will eventually switch to the newer 1.5L and 2.0L engines that are currently available in the MINI Hardtop and approve E25 across its model lineup. 

Come back tomorrow to Blogging For Biofuels to find out which other non-flex fuel 2016 model can use E25.