German tuner polishes up the Cooper family

The Mini Cooper belongs in arguably one of the most competitive markets in the industry these days. When that is the case, auto tuners often find themselves in a similar position as they’re compelled to build programs that compete with their contemporaries. That’s the case with AC Schnitzer, the renowned tuner of all things Mini that just presented its new tuning program for the Mini Cooper in response to a number of other tuners building their own kits for the hatchback. In order to differentiate itself, AC Schnitzer is offering tuning kits for numerous variants of the Cooper, including power upgrades for the coupe, convertible, Cooper S, and Cooper John Cooper Works, the last of which now gets 265 horsepower.

In typical AC Schnitzer fashion, the German tuner is offering plenty of complementary pieces to this program. From the cosmetic side to the aerodynamic side, there are subtle modifications here and there that provide a unique tuning experience for the Cooper. New wheels are also being offered, as is a new suspension kit that improves the car’s handling in the wake of all the modifications on the car’s body and engine.

It’s a complete program in a lot of ways, and one that Mini Cooper owners will appreciate. It’s not going to turn the Cooper into a rocket on four wheels, but it should be able to push all the right buttons to improve the driving experience of the car.

Continue after the jump to read the full review.

Exterior

2016 MINI Cooper by AC Schnitzer
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2016 MINI Cooper by AC Schnitzer
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2016 MINI Cooper by AC Schnitzer
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Exterior modifications make up a small chunk of AC Schnitzer’s tuning program for the Mini Cooper. In fact, the only significant upgrades are the new front splitter, which aids in improving the car’s aerodynamics, and a host of cosmetic improvements, including a decor set, a few stickers, and a rear skirt film. A new set of 19-inch wheels complete the exterior upgrades. Customers can choose between the new AC1 BiColor or Anthracite alloys and have them wrapped in either 215/35R19 or wider 225/35R19 tires.

Interior

2014 Mini Cooper High Resolution Interior
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Note: Interior from 2015 Mini Cooper S shown here.

There aren’t that many interior upgrades to speak, unless of course you consider aluminum pedals, footrests, and velour floor mats as significant additions.

Drivetrain

2016 MINI Cooper by AC Schnitzer
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As I’ve said, AC Schnitzer’s tuning kit is available for a wide range of Cooper variants, including the hatch and cabriolet versions, the Clubman, and the Cooper John Cooper Works. The German tuner even worked up a few engine upgrade packages for numerous versions, beginning with the 136-horsepower Cooper that now gets 170 horsepower. From there, AC Schnitzer also worked on the Cooper S. That one gets a nice increase of almost 50 horsepower, bringing the output up to 235 horsepower. Last but certainly not least is the Cooper John Cooper Works, which saw its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine get a nice increase to 265 horses. No torque figures were given by the tuner.

The tuner is also offering rear silencers with an exhaust gas valve, a “track Mode” valve control with its remote control, a choice between “Sport” or “Sport Black” design tailpipes, and AC Schnitzer’s very own racing exhaust system.

Chassis and Suspension

2016 MINI Cooper by AC Schnitzer
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The notable upgrades on the engine are complemented by new suspension spring kits that, according to AC Schnitzer, lowers the front axle from anywhere between .78 inches to 1.18 inches and the rear axle from anywhere between .99 inches to 1.38 inches.

Pricing

2016 MINI Cooper by AC Schnitzer
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AC Schnitzer hasn’t released the pricing details for the tuning program. That makes sense considering how customizable it really is depending on the whims and preferences of the Mini Cooper owner. If you’re interested in availing of the program, the best way to go about getting a price quote is to contact the tuner directly.

Mini Cooper John Cooper Works F300 by Manhart Racing

2016 Mini Cooper John Cooper Works F300 by Manhart Racing
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Manhart Racing unveiled its F300 program for the Mini Cooper John Cooper Works back in April 2016 and while it may not be as sophisticated as the one AC Schnitzer just presented, it did offer a bigger performance improvement. Manhart was able to do that by optimising the hatch’s ECU unit while also adding a new intercooler and a Remus stainless steel sports exhaust system. The result is a new output of 300 horsepower and 346 pound-feet of torque, a steady improvement from the hot hatch’s standard output of 228 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of twist. The extra 70 horsepower and 110 pound-feet of torque helps the Cooper sprint to 60 mph in under five seconds to go with a top speed of 175 mph.

Read our full review of the Mini Cooper John Cooper Works F300 by Manhart Racing here.

Mini Cooper John Cooper Works by B&B Automobiltechnik

2016 Mini Cooper John Cooper Works by B&B Automobiltechnik
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Another tuner that took a tuning stab at the Mini Cooper JCW is B&B Automobiltechnik, which followed Manhart Racing by releasing its own kit for the Mini hot hatch in May 2016. Not surprisingly, it followed a similar formula as Manhart by putting the focus on the Cooper JCW’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The difference is that B&B’s program comes with a three-stage engine upgrade that improves the Cooper JCW’s output to as much as 300 horsepower. The first stage of this upgrade boosts the output up to 272 horsepower with no mention of any improvements in torque. Stage 2 kit adds another extra horses to the tune of 286 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of twist and finally, Stage 3 brings it all to a head with an output of 300 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque, almost identical to Manhart Racing’s own program and more than what AC Schnitzer was able to get out of its program for the Cooper JCW. As expected, B&B was able to trim the Cooper’s 0-to-60-mph sprint time from 6.3 seconds to 5.4 seconds and bump up the top speed of 174 mph.

Read our full review of the 2016 Mini Cooper John Cooper Works By B&B Automobiltechnik here.

Conclusion

2016 MINI Cooper by AC Schnitzer
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When you consider how competitive the hatchback market has become, it’s become more important for owners to have tuning firms like AC Schnitzer give their cars the necessary edge they need to stay ahead of the rest of their contemporaries. This program isn’t going to blow anybody’s lid off, but it is good enough to give different variants of the Cooper the chance to get in some extra horses to go with the modifications to the Cooper’s styling. It’s an effective kit all around, although it’s probably the not the one that’s going to give the Cooper some over-the-top power and performance.

  • Leave it
    • * It won’t turn the Cooper into a Focus RS-eating monster
    • * Not for the flashy types
    • * Other tuners offer more power and performance
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