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Hi all. New to here and to mini's well Bmw mini that is. Just got a cooper r50 and personally it's a bit slow and more so lacking in grunt until about 4K when it wakes up a bit. Yes I know I should have got a cooper s but that's life ha ha. Just after making it a little bit more interesting without spending a real fortune. I'm sure this isn't the first time this has been asked so I'm sure there's loads of ideas out there. I'm quite handy with a spanner so no worries there but not really looking at modifying the engine as want to keep it reliable for every day use. Cheers.
 

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Hi and welcome along, fortunately your R50 isn't a BMW Mini but only built under licence of BMW. It's a Rover design with a Brazilian engine and a Rover gearbox :)
 

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If your serious, your looking at Intake airbox, full exhaust update (Miltek for example) and a stage 2 engine tune (reprogram the ECU) and that's about it. Be aware that the Midlands (rover) gearbox doesn't like to be hammered and especially, laboured in 5th gear. Consider a gearbox oil change now and again every 30,000 miles or 50,000 kms. Other worth while upgrades are increase the rear sway bar to a 20mm Whiteline to improve handling in the windy stuff. If you are happy to change the front shocktower mounts, drop links, springs, spring perches and bump stops, consider changing all shocks to Koni FSD. If, your drop links are the Z link type, you only need to change the shocks, if they are the older L style you will need to update a lot of the front suspension. To change the front suspension to the newer shock mount style you will be best advised to obtain a set of shock tower underplates to strengthen the shock towers to prevent deformation (mushrooming). NigelK, a forum member has some very nicely priced units for sale that are a lot cheaper than the commercial offerings.
 

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One thing to consider with a Gen 1 R50 to give it more grunt is to obtain (very rare) a JCW kit for the R50. The problem with this is that the JCW kit was only designed for the post 2004 model with the Getrag gearbox, it wasn't designed for the R50 with the Midlands gearbox. Alternatively, do the JCW kit clone upgrade but you wont have the JCW certificate or badges. If you decide to do a complete exhaust upgrade and air intake and ECU tune, it may pay to consider fitting a JCW head (or have the exhaust ports ported) from a donor mini from a wrecker if you can find one.
 

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A bog standard one driven right is so much better than a modified one driven wrong, I had so much fun in the past chasing down JCW R53s and BBR R53s with my bog standard Cooper, hand on thats a lie, I had a Playmini exhaust and an Alpine stereo.
 

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Air intake

Exhaust

Remap


All great but it WILL put more strain on aged components namely the gearbox.

Twisty roads are more the coopers forte'.

my opinion of course.
 

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Lohen do a package for Gen! Coopers:
Lohen LO1 MINI R50 One/Cooper Tuning Package - 130bhp
If you put a decent exhaust on as well it should go better and sound better, as Adrian says.
Do what Nigel said. I've got an R50 with the LO1 package and a resonated Milltek. It definitely won't set your world on fire but might give it a little extra poke. It's easy to plough money into them (I've spent over £2.5k on mine now (sigh)) so just enjoy it for its good handling and you'll be waving past the R53's when they're constantly refilling their tanks!
 

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Question...

Okay so this gets my first post... just turned a member but have used this forum for years.

My first question is which year is your Mini, I didn't see but maybe didn't look hard enough... everyone said Midlands trans so I assume it is 04' or older... if you have something newer skip this paragraph. I had a 2002 r50 and my trans went out (completely stock... maybe going maxed it out a few times didn't help though... I was young and dumb). When that happened I had the option of paying 2500+ to repair Midlands and still be stuck with a crappy trans or.... upgrade myself to the 6 speed Cooper S trans. I did the latter and although it was difficult I actually spent less money doing it myself. I say this all because if you do have a Midlands and you want more power without going to an S be prepared to upgrade the trans. There is a PDF on it and some thread on here... I followed it and with a different model trans it still matched up very well. Hardest part is matching axles with trans and so on... will answer any questions you have.

Currently, I have a 2005 r50 and can say without a doubt the Getrag 5 speed is miles better than the midlands in literally every way. The ratios are better, feels better, etc. I too am the more power type, but I have accepted the r50 will never be a r53 without A LOT of money and time and even then it won't be as reliable. So you have the option of accepting that or going after serious speed and if smart will get a r53. If you do desire just a bit more grunt then a Cold Air Intake, exhaust, and tune will be the best bang for the buck. Personally I have just done a CAI and tune and will probably do exhaust within the next few months. What I am prioritizing is suspension. Getting a strut brace and after market rear sway bar for sure, possibly coilovers but really beating on even that. Like someone else said, if you could find a used JCW package... probably the best bet, that is what I am shooting for. I am going to a used Mini parts warehouse tomorrow to see what I can find.

To wrap up, IMHO enjoy the Cooper for what it is, a street legal go cart. Mini Cooper's will never have the best or even very competitive straight-line speed but in the corners it eats up most competition, embrace it.
 

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Rear bar, AP coilovers (by KW Automotive), OMP lower front brace, top brace, cabrio braces (your car will have the captive nuts), decent lighter wheels, Powerflex lower arm rear bushes. You'll never slow down for corners again!!

Presume you have ditched run-flats???
 
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