MINI Coopers are very commonly modified by their owners. From stickers on the boot to hard core racing mods, there is a wide array of things you can do to your MINI.
Your typical MINI Cooper S engine compartment looks like the image below, which is a picture of my 2015 MINI Countryman S engine compartment before I started working on it.
After a few mods and a little cleaning…
In the image above you can see the following modifications:
- M7 cold air intake – Increased performance, much better turbo sounds, and a reusable filter that I can simply clean and re-oil instead of having to buy a new one. It is also pretty cool looking!
- M7 turbo heat shield – Keeps the underside of the hood cooler, helps prevent accidental burns on the factory turbo shield. It does make it much more difficult to get the valve cover off to get to the coils should you need to but it sure does make the engine compartment look a lot better.
- M7 turbo charge pipe – This upgrade removes the muffler and factory charge pipe assembly increasing power and making the turbo sound more prominent. Nice little upgrade.
- Ultra Racing strut tower brace – Solid steel bar that connects the tops of the two strut towers reducing body flex which increases stability in the turns. Unlike some other (including the factory JCW bar) there is no connections in this bar that can lead to movement, it is one solid piece of steel. The down side is that to get it to attach with more than a couple threads on the strut bolts, custom NM engineering nuts had to be used.
- NM Engineering performance module – Monitors and adjusts both the MAF and Boost sensors to increase power in the engine. It takes a little while to “learn” your engine but when it does it makes quite a noticeable improvement in performance. As good as a full blown engine tune? No, not even close. But for something that can be removed in five minutes before going into the shop so you don’t void your warranty, awesome upgrade.
What you can not see is the higher performance NGK plugs and Bosh coils.
The standard 2015 MINI Cooper Countryman S comes with a 16mm rear anti-sway bar, or if you splurge for the sport package or JCW upgrades, then you get a 17mm bar. Yeah, well, I want to keep up with the big boys so I needed something a little more.
Enter the VIP 23mm solid Chromoly adjustable rear sway bar. After you put one of these guys on your car you will have no idea what the term “body roll” is. Simply amazing. I have mine set up in the center “neutral” position.
The only issue with this is I really did not have a good place to do this and I really needed it done fairly quickly since this is my daily driver so I had to take it to my friendly neighborhood mechanic Wayne over at WC Auto.
The MINI has a nice exhaust system of stainless steel with an excellent warranty. Unfortunately it also has a second cat and resonator that quiet the ride and steal horsepower in the process. That is just not acceptable.
If you look at the above image you will notice that there is a large section of exhaust missing, that is where the second cat and resonator used to be. Wayne over at WC Auto replaced it with a nice straight pipe.
So why perform this mod? Much more aggressive sound and more performance. I can not honestly tell you if the car really is faster after this or if it is the fact that it sounds so much better you think it is faster. Equally as honestly, I don’t care, it sounds bad ass and it makes me feel faster, how is that?
While I am no expert (and did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night), this is as far as you can really mod the exhaust and be legal. You could of course replace the entire exhaust system with a performance package but as many long distance trips as we take I am not sure I want it any louder.
So, do all these mods make a difference? Saying yes would be like saying the Grand Canyon is a hole in the ground, or that the Empire State building is pretty tall, or that the sun is pretty warm. This thing not only excites me, it performs high speed turns so easily it kinda scares me.
I am quite sure at this point the limiting factor when running the sisters, pig trail, or dragon is not Buster, it is very much my abilities. This thing is just insane 🙂