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2012 Mini Cooper S Convertible Highgate Edition
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Hello! I'm a 22yo first time mini owner fortunate enough to be given my family's 2012 Mini Cooper S Convertible Highgate Edition after they purchased a Countryman last week. I'm interested in trying to make it faster and corner better while learning about mechanics along the way, starting with hardly any experience whatsoever. I figured in order of "ease" and expense I should start with aerodynamic additions first, then look at suspension, then exhaust, and finally engine via cooler air and an ECU tune. Is that a good idea? I would really appreciate tips and conversation with anyone who's modified a mini before to help give pointers on how to start & things to avoid.

I've driven and raced a variety of cars that include exceptionally high performance machines... but I've never taken a wrench or anything to a car before. Finding it tough to know where to begin & how much improvements I can even practically do myself. I've got access to any tools and a jack at least! Spent the past several weeks watching well over a hundred hours of videos on how car parts work and how things are replaced/repaired.


Attached are pics from my paint restoration project attempt as well for those that are interested! I took pictures of the compounded side & the untouched side before I finished the hood! Going well so far :)
Mini Cooper Restoration.jpg Mini Left Hood.png Mini Right Hood.png
 

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For starters your priorities are the wrong way round, aero dynamics are neither easy or the first thing to get right.

Tuning a Mini for everyday use is much the same as any other car, but before you start asking for more make sure what you have is working as it should.
 

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2012 Mini Cooper S Convertible Highgate Edition
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For starters your priorities are the wrong way round, aero dynamics are neither easy or the first thing to get right.

Tuning a Mini for everyday use is much the same as any other car, but before you start asking for more make sure what you have is working as it should.
You're right. Plus, I learned today that the GP2 rear diffuser isn't even compatible unless you have the JCW aero rear bumper.

Well, the car was specifically my mom's before who doesn't... uhh... well, she's not a spirited driver lol. She wanted an S even though the only time she pressed the sport button was when her coffee hit the button & she came over to me and said her car might be breaking because it's "popping" a lot 😆. From what I've read, there may be carbon build up from 8 years of slow acceleration and chill driving? I've heard of fuel "cleaners" to help clean the engine. Anything recommended for R57 mini's? (N18 engine, right?)
 
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