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We have noticed that with our 1.6 turbo XSE. The dealer advises that it's a characteristic of the variable valve timing design - the oil takes a couple of seconds to prime and is a normal feature.

We have also had further instances though of this rattly noise continuing for over 30 seconds, and also some noisiness from the top end when the engine is still cold. Took it to the dealer the other day and the thing was quiet as a mouse. Will monitor further and if necessary leave it at the dealer overnight for them to check a cold start.

The engine is designed by BMW and also powers the Mini Cooper, so I might investigate Mini forums to see if they have the same characteristic.
 

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Thanks Chopper for clarifying re the engine design. I subsequently did a bit of searching and found the following link that gave me a good insight into the engine and its design. Interesting to note the THP version has conventional VVTi rather than the the innovative design on the normally aspirated version.
w w w.psa-peugeot-citroen.com/document/presse_dossier/PK_PSA_BMW1103281940.pdf
 
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