MINI Coopers are a ton of fun to drive just as they are. However, if you’re ready to take things to the next level, a few simple performance upgrades can make your MINI even more powerful.
There are many options to choose from, depending on how much you want to spend and the type of boost you’re looking for. Here’s a round-up of a few of our favorites.
1. Air Intake Upgrades
Getting clean, cold air into your engine will boost your performance and increase the life of your motor. The easiest and least expensive upgrade is a performance air filter. Choose one that’s designed to increase horsepower and acceleration.
You can also upgrade the cold air intake. This will bring more O2 into the combustion chamber. When you have great combustion, you’ll enjoy more power to the wheels. Not only will this give you far better performance at high RPMs, but it will also offer a pleasing growl when you’re at full throttle.
2. Turbocharger Upgrades
A turbocharger is a forced induction system. It uses exhaust gases to spin a turbine. This forces more air into the engine, creating a stronger combustion and more power. While the MINI’s factory turbo is excellent, there is always some room for improvement.
Turbo upgrades feature a larger compressor and upgraded internals. The result is an instant boost in power from lower RPMs.
If you upgrade your engine, the next step should be to upgrade the exhaust. This will allow for better flow out of your engine and reduced backpressure. This is especially important if you upgrade to a larger turbocharger. Upgrading to a performance exhaust will typically result in gains around 8 to 10 hp. You may also enjoy a lower, deeper tone and a slight increase in sound volume.
4. ECU Upgrades
The ECU is the main computer that controls many functions, including how your MINI’s engine runs. It works by monitoring sensors throughout the vehicle and adjusting engine parameters based on the information coming in. It’s designed to maintain a delicate balance between performance, economy, and durability.
An ECU upgrade manipulates the parameters, skewing the software to improve performance. If you add turbos or other internal upgrades, an ECU upgrade becomes even more critical. One drawback is that you’ll need to actually remove your ECU and send it in to be upgraded. However, many MINI owners find that the increased performance is well worth the effort.
5. Performance Tuner
Don’t want to deal with an ECU upgrade? A performance tuner and power module is the best and simplest alternative. Tuning devices work by sending a modified signal to your factory ECU. This tells the engine that the vehicle’s boost pressure is below the target values. The result is a serious and impressive boost. Even better, a performance tuner is relatively easy to install and typically less expensive than an ECU upgrade.
6. Limited Slip Differential
While a limited slip differential (LSD) doesn’t impact your MINI’s horsepower, it does improve handling. Without this upgrade, your vehicle will compensate by using traction control. This typically applies the brakes to slow wheel spin or cuts power to the engine. LSD allows you to keep your performance while also improving your acceleration, deceleration, and cornering.
7. Suspension Upgrades
The MINI’s sport suspension is quite impressive on its own. However, upgrading your shocks and struts can give you a better ride and improve your MINI’s handling. An upgraded suspension will help get your power to the road more efficiently and give you far better cornering.
8. Replacement Tires
While there are many things to love about the MINI, the stock tires leave a bit to be desired. They’re low on grip and create a notoriously harsh ride. Upgrading your tires will give you faster cornering, better performance, and a more comfortable ride.
9. Upgraded Brakes
Upgrading your MINI’s stock brake pads and rotors will give you more control and help you stop faster. If you decide to upgrade your brakes, make sure you upgrade the tires as well to ensure they can handle the extra stopping power.
10. Lowering Springs
Some MINI owners swear by lowering their car’s center of gravity to improve the handling. This allows for flatter cornering, reduces “dive” under braking, and improves turn-in response. Using lowering springs can give you better handling. However, there are some drawbacks, this upgrade will make your ride “stiffer” and reduce the clearance under your car.
Learn More About MINI Cooper Upgrades Today!
If you’re thinking about upgrading your MINI Cooper, it’s a great idea to check in with a professional before getting started. The certified technicians at The Haus will help you choose the perfect parts and take care of the installation for you.
We have two convenient locations in Santa Monica and Sherman Oaks. Contact us today to schedule your VIP appointment!