2005 MINI Cooper S (R53)
Our MINI Cooper S project started life as an unsuspecting stock vehicle. The goal was to add a judicious amount of power while
enhancing the handling and braking in order to keep the speed under control. We could have built our R53 to a more extreme
echelon, but we did not want to compromise the daily drivability. One of the beauties of the R53 platform is the versatility.
With proper modifications, the R53 can be brilliant on both street and track.
In order to free up the engine’s breathing, we installed a cold air intake and V2 exhaust system from MINI-Madness. A 15%
reduction pulley from Alta boosted the supercharger while an MSD coil and ignition wire package sharpened the spark. The power
package was finished off with a Unichip module. In order to quantify the boost in power, our R53 took a trip to the dyno where
it put down just shy of 200hp at the wheels. After reviewing the results, we found that our MINI was having fuel mixture issues.
Back into our shop it went where we isolated the Unichip module to be the culprit. We promptly removed the Unichip module and
immediately observed an improvement in overall drivability.
A Wilwood Big Brake Kit was installed to reign in all the additional power. The Wilwood kit consists of stainless steel brakes
lines, massive 4 piston calipers with 12.19” rotors out front, and larger piston rear calipers with 11.75” rotors at the rear.
The Wilwood brakes hustle the MINI to a dead halt with brutal force!
Adding a larger diameter rear anti-sway bar from MINI-Madness dialed out much of the understeer that hampers the R53’s cornering
performance in stock form. Installing all polyurethane suspension bushings improved the feel and feedback of the steering. H-sport
lowering springs (3/4”), a front strut brace from OMP, and front lower chassis brace from MINI-Madness rounded out the suspension
package. We also installed upper strut mount plates to stave off the problematic mushrooming effect. A set of 18” MOMO S5 wheels
shod with BFGoodrich G-Force T/A KDW 2 tires get all that power to the ground and keep the MINI tight through the corners.
Marshall Vacuum/Boost gauge with amber back lighting to match the factory look
CravenSpeed Flex Pod and iPod/iPhone mount
Bluetooth audio and phone integration
MINI-Madness short shift kit
CravenSpeed 4” stubby antenna
No project is ever complete, and more is to come. For now, we are thoroughly impressed with the balance of drivability and
trackability achieved with the aid of these select modifications. Please don’t hesitate to say hi if you see our MINI at the
track or around town!