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2016 MINI Cooper by AC Schnitzer

2016 MINI Cooper by AC Schnitzer

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.

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2016 Mini Cooper John Cooper Works by B&B Automobiltechnik

2016 Mini Cooper John Cooper Works by B&B Automobiltechnik

Plenty of engine upgrade options provided for Mini’s top-of-the-line Cooper

The Mini Cooper John Cooper Works is the range-topping version of Mini’s iconic Cooper line. It boasts 228 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, all coming out of its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. For a hatchback, those numbers are impressive, but not so much when you’re talking to an aftermarket tuner. Manhart Racing thought so and it went about and gave the Cooper JCW a 300-horsepower upgrade. Now, it’s B&B Automobiltechnick’s turn, and just like Manhart, the German tuner has an upgrade that takes the Cooper JCW’s output in the neighborhood of 300 ponies.

Of course, B&B’s tuning program doesn’t stop there. The tuner is actually offering a three-stage engine kit that adds different amounts of ponies on the four-cylinder. It also a platter of chassis and suspension upgrades, all included to provide the Cooper JCW with improved grip and handling, not to mention the benefit of enhancing the performance hatchback’s sporty looks.

It may not have any exterior and interior modifications like what Manhart Racing is offering, but for what prospective buyers are getting, B&B’s program for the Cooper JCW is kind of kit that every type of owner of the hatchback can enjoy, all at affordable prices to boot.

Continue after the jump to read the full review.

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2016 Mini Cooper John Cooper Works F300 by Manhart Racing

2016 Mini Cooper John Cooper Works F300 by Manhart Racing

German tuner celebrates 30th anniversary with a tuning project for Mini’s flagship model

Mini may forever be known as a company that’s predisposed to quirkiness, but it did itself a lot of good by introducing the John Cooper Works, considered as the most powerful Cooper that Mini has developed in its lifetime. The debut of the Cooper JCW not only showed Mini’s willingness to engage the hot hatch market, but more importantly it proved that it could actually do it. But as good as the Cooper JCW is on the road, there’s always the potential for the car to be better. That’s where Manhart Racing, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, comes into the picture.

The German tuner saw fit to commemorate the occasion with the unveiling of the “F300” program for the Cooper JCW. In a lot of ways, the tuning kit’s main focus is to improve the hot hatch’s performance and handling credentials. In doing so, it developed a program that addressed both those things, while also giving the Cooper JCW refreshing upgrades on both the exterior and interior. The result is a fascinating take on the hot hatch that not only highlights Mini’s fascination for the off-beat but more importantly, the Cooper JCW’s understated performance capabilities that fit its status as Mini’s de facto flagship model.

The program also has a few surprises along the way, but why spoil them when you can read the whole thing for yourselves.

Continue after the jump to read the full review.

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Mini John Cooper Works by AC Schnitzer

Mini John Cooper Works by AC Schnitzer

Known for its tuning kits for BMWs and Minis, AC Schnitzer has pulled the covers off of its latest program for the Mini Cooper John Cooper Works.

Like most of its programs, AC Schnitzer’s aftermarket update on the Cooper JCW isn’t all about flashy aesthetics. The German tuner isn’t known for being boisterous. What customers will instead get is a program that focuses on the performance side of the hot hatchback. The Cooper JCW, after all, is the most powerful Mini ever developed. But even with that claim to fame, everyone knows that there are still a lot untapped horses inside that turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. That’s what AC Schnitzer sought to unleash, and for the most part, the tuner successfully did just that.

That said, the impressive engine upgrade isn’t the only pertinent feature of the program. A handful of aerodynamic kits are also included. Same with the interior, which received its share of new accessories, and the suspension, which was fitted with lowering springs to help improve the hatchback’s handling and agility. Overall, this kit is what people in the aftermarket industry refer to as a “professional tuning program.”

That’s what AC Schnitzer is known for and as always, it delivers on that front yet again.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mini John Cooper Works by AC Schnitzer.

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2015 MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works Pro Parts

2015 MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works Pro Parts

Since its rebirth under BMW in 2002, no other car company has been able to touch Mini when it comes to its range of customization. There are literally millions of permutations available—virtually assuring that no two Minis sold will be alike. A countless range of exterior graphics packages, floor mats, trim options, key fobs, fog lamps, colors, wheels, body-kits, valve stem caps, spoilers, performance parts and storage options allow buyers to customize Minis anyway they wish before their cars even leave dealer lots. These peripherals have been a huge revenue source for the company and, when added liberally, can cause MSRPs to double over the base cost.

Now Mini is introducing a whole new range of options to complement both the third-generation 2 Door and 4 Door models, including the new John Cooper Works Pro design line, at the 2014 Essen Motor Show. In addition, a gigantic range of new accessories is being introduced that will allow customers to take color coordination to new levels for both models. Want plaid floor mats? How about graffiti-styled rear-view mirror cover that say “VROOOOM?” Mini can oblige no matter how questionable your tastes may be.

Click past the jump to read more about the MINI Cooper S With John Cooper Works Pro.

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2012 MINI Coupe Targa Raze by RevoZport

2012 MINI Coupe Targa Raze by RevoZport

When you start thinking about MINI, there’s growing sentiment that the German automaker has become increasingly adept at building some pretty aggressive machines.

Some aftermarket companies has taken notice too, and one of them, RevoZport, has announced their new program for both the MINI Coupe and Roadster, christening it the "Targa Raze."

Built in-house to be the kind of MINI program we just fall head over hells for, the Targa Raze is beyond sick, with a bodykit that includes new bumpers, revised side skirts, and a ventilated hood, all of which are made from carbon and Kevlar. Likewise, a carbon fiber roof and a prominent rear spoiler are part of the program, reducing the car’s weight by 40kg/88 lbs while also widening its profile by 15mm.

Under the hood, RevoZport opted for a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that now comes with new, larger intercooler, new camshafts, a remapped ECU unit, and a new titanium exhaust system. With all these modifications in tow, the Targa Raze now has an impressive output of 250 horsepower, an increase of 69 ponies from the standard model’s 181-horsepower output.

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Video: 1970 Austin Mini with Yamaha R1 engine meets Gallardo

Video: 1970 Austin Mini with Yamaha R1 engine meets Gallardo

Fitting high-revving motorcycle engines into cars is nothing new, as the incredible Ariel Atom 500 makes use of no less than two highly-modified and tuned Suzuki motorcycle engines. It’s little wonder why this exercise is so popular for lightweight sports cars.

Motorcycle engines rev like no other internal combustion engine in the world, with the exception of Formula One cars, and as a result, they provide an engine note unparallelled to those offered from high-performance sports cars.

Additionally, they’re generally very small and pump out considerable amounts of horsepower. The following YouTube user has actually fitted a 170WHP, 1.0-liter engine from the 2003 Yamaha YZF-R1 to a 1970 Austin Mini and the results can be seen in the following video.

The YouTube user responsible for the video, Daign, was recently out cruising down the highway when an orange Lamborghini Gallardo popped up, and the driver of the Mini was quickly on his tail.

Even though no drag race eventuated between the two (Boo!!!), Daign stated, "I think the Gallardo was a bit confused where the 11000 rev was coming from honestly. Shame we were in traffic. Just for kicks it’d be fun to see how the Lambo pulls against the Mini’s powerband between 7-11,500rpm... In the power band it pulls harder than my 500hp Camaro without a doubt. 170hp with only 1300lbs. It’s scary and fun."

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2012 MINI John Cooper Works Coupe Raptor by AC Schnitzer

2012 MINI John Cooper Works Coupe Raptor by AC Schnitzer

German tuner, AC Schnitzer, has blown our minds yet again with another speedy creation based off of a cool, yet uninspiring in power, model. Their new Raptor Concept is based on the MINI John Cooper Works Coupe and has just officially become the fastest Mini on the world famous Grand Prix circuit in Hockenheim. With a lap time of 1:10.87 minutes, the new Raptor has catapulted itself into the premier league of real sports cars, making it faster than the previous AC Schnitzer Eagle by about 1.11 seconds.

In order to obtain this impressive result, AC Schnitzer had to optimize all areas of the vehicle. The job started with the engine where the output was increased from 211 HP to 300 HP. A new exhaust system was added and the total weight was reduced by 220 lbs. The tuner also added a sport chassis with adjustable height and, of course, a new set of 18" lightweight metal rims.

Check out the video to see the Mini John Cooper Works Coupe Raptor by AC Schnitzer in action!

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International Engine of the Year Awards are in and BMW Cleaned House

International Engine of the Year Awards are in and BMW Cleaned House

TV buffs get the Emmys, movie buffs get the Oscars, and music lovers get the Grammys; so, where does that leave us gearheads? Well, the International Engine of the Year Awards, of course, and the 2012 results are hot off the press!

Ford took home the top prize of International Engine of the Year, with its 999 cc engine found in the European Focus. This engine, despite its petite size, cranks out 125 PS (123 horsepower) and manages to squeeze out 56.5 mpg. The 1.0-liter engine didn’t win a close battle either, it took home top honors by a full 113 points. Points are accumulated based on fuel economy, smoothness, performance, noise and drivability and each engine can only receive 15 of each voter’s total 25 points to give. Needless to say, that was quite a landslide victory.

That’s not the biggest news though, as BMW brought home top honors in four different categories. Bimmer took home the 1.4- to 1.8-liter prize with its 181-horsepower, 1.6-liter engine found in the MINI Cooper S. In the 1.8- to 2.0-liter class, BMW took first prize with its 241-horsepower, 2.0-liter twin-turbocharged four-pot. In the 2.5-liter to 3.0-liter class, BMW wrapped up top honors with its bi-turbo 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine and its 335 horsepower. Last, but certainly not least, BMW took home 1st place in the 3.0- to 4.0-liter class with its 414-horsepower, 4.0-liter V-8 engine.

Despite all of the accolades, the highest mark that BMW achieved in the Engine of the Year award was 5th place, with its 2.0-liter twin-turbo four-banger.

Click past the jump to see all of the results of each class.

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2013 MINI Coupe John Cooper Works by DuelL AG

2013 MINI Coupe John Cooper Works by DuelL AG

Japanese tuner, DuelL AG, has become synonymous with building some of the most awe-inspiring tuning programs on that side of the world. Their latest work on the MINI Coupe only adds to their already sterling reputation.

Using the MINI Coupe John Cooper Works Edition for the build, DuelL AG built a sick-looking aerodynamic kit for the German MINI that comes with a bevy of modded parts, including a louvered hood that has been set on both sides, just above the fenders. In addition, the components also include an aggressive new front bumper with fully integrated LED lights, redesigned side skirts, and a new rear diffuser.

DuelL AG opted to keep the MINI Coupe JCW’s performance numbers untouched, which means that you can expect the car’s 1.6 liter four-cylinder petrol engine to produce an impressive 208 horsepower.

For a car that looks as aesthetically endearing as the MINI Coupe JCW, DuelL Ag did a masterful job in giving the German vehicle some serious attitude. Dare we even say that this program is one of the best-looking aftermarket projects done on the MINI Coupe.

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2012 MINI Coupe by AC Schnitzer

2012 MINI Coupe by AC Schnitzer

AC Schnitzer has started the new year in style with a refreshing tuning kit for the new Mini Coupe with both exterior and interior modifications. In fact, this is the first kit ever produced for the small Coupe, adding one more desirable trait for the German tuner’s package.

Aside from the appeal of being the first tuning kit made available, AC Schnitzer has polished up the exterior with a new decor set available in various designs, with AC Schnitzer decal sets (several versions), a rear sticker stating "Technology & Design," and a rear skirt protection foil. The interior was also enhanced with a new gear knob with digital gear display, a new aluminum pedal set, foot rests, a "Black Line" handbrake handle, and velour foot mats. The final changes made to the aesthetics of the Coupe are the new 18" Mi 1 silver or bi-color wheels.

The biggest changes, however, were provided for the handling and driving characteristics of the Mini Coupe. The vehicle was updated with the use of a new limited slip differential, a stainless steel sports rear silencer with chromed Racing tailpipe trim, a new sports exhaust system, and a high performance brake system, consisting of 4-piston fixed calipers, slotted brake discs, a set of new brake pads, caliper mounting brackets, and steel brake pipes. These modifications can then all be combined with a height-adjustable racing suspension or an AC Schnitzer suspension spring kit, an aluminum strut brace, and a special antiroll bar for the rear axle.

In addition to the plethora of adjustments, AC Schnitzer has also stated that an upgrade package for the Mini Coupe’s four cylinder engine would follow shortly.

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2011 MINI Countryman ALL4 by H&R Springs

2011 MINI Countryman ALL4 by H&R Springs

Ever since MINI started expanding its line-up a few years ago, the German automaker has made great strides in bringing back its old school charm. In reinventing itself as a company, MINI has become quite a hit in the market and to a certain extent, the tuning market as well.

One aftermarket group that has taken a particular fondness to the MINI Countryman ALL4 is H&R, a Washington-based company.

Packed with its noted suspension components and a slew of aftermarket products, the H&R-tuned Countryman was turned from a mild-mannered crossover into a performance vehicle that exudes plenty of attitude.

The first order of business was lowering the car’s ride height and doing so without affecting the car’s overall drivability. H&R then added TRAK+ wheel spacers to create the perfect offset for the Countryman ALL4’s new set of 18" BE by Breyton GTF2 wheels wrapped in Continental ExtremeContact DWS tires. The wheel-and-tire set-up is complimented by slotted brake rotors and blue Goodridge steel braided steel lines, thus improving the car’s overall braking power.

Not only does the new set-up provide stunning good looks for the car, but it also enhanced its cornering grip. Add that to other pertinent changes done on the Countryman ALL4, including an Alta Performance Front Mount Intercooler and Cold Air Intake package, a Borla stainless steel exhaust system, and Motul lubricants, and you have a program that speaks to the Countryman ALL4’s fun-loving character.

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2012 MINI John Cooper Works Championship

2012 MINI John Cooper Works Championship

If there was ever a Mini Cooper that was on everyone’s wish list, it would be the John Cooper Works, but just because everyone wants it, doesn’t mean everyone can get it. Until now. Mini has come out with a solution to turn your standard Cooper S, Cooper SD, and Countryman into a true JCW without taking a trip to the tuning shop.

The new John Cooper Works Championship tuning package will allow any Mini fan to experience the allure of rallying by adding a more dynamic and sporty character to their car. It was created as a tribute to the John Cooper Works WRC that Dani Sordo currently drives in the WRC. It includes go-faster stripes, side scuttles in a special package design, additional spotlights up front (which are available in Chrome and Black), a"37" logo on the doors, and the famous John Cooper Works aerodynamics package in the color of the car. You can also opt for a new set of Double Spoke R129 alloy wheels in matte black.

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2011 Mini Clubman S by Mac Audio

2011 Mini Clubman S by Mac Audio

The Mini Clubman is undoubtedly a fun-to-drive model, but Mac Audio has found a solution to make it even more so. Clearly, from the name of the tuner, we can venture a guess that the Clubman has received an impressive audio system, but it has also received exterior and interior updates and an extra 55 HP.

The Mini Clubman is painted in a new matte white special color and sits on a new set of 15-inch Oxigin rims, 8’ x 18’ wheels (also painted in white with use of special coating). For the extra power, the tuner has added adjusted the engine electronic system, a modified exhaust system, and optimized air intake pipes.

The interior is where Mac Audio truly shined with a Mac Audio Star X 2.16 front and rear loudspeakers system. The whole interior was then wrapped in 12m2 of Dynamat Xtreme insulating material in order to eliminate vibration and rattling. An Audiovox VME 9325BTA Head was also installed and enables the user to control navigation using iPod, iPhone, USB, DVB-T, and Bluetooth by touchscreen.

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2011 MINI Countryman S by Prodrive

2011 MINI Countryman S by Prodrive

After years of testing and development, the MINI Countryman WRC is finally strutting its stuff on the world rally scene with an eye towards a full WRC schedule for next year.

We’re saying this because it appears that Prodrive, the very same outfit that runs MINI’s WRC outfit, is in the process of developing a completely modded Countryman that includes an extensive body kit that features, among other things, a a large fixed carbon fiber wing and a new set of alloy wheels.

According to Autocar, the Prodrive-tuned Countryman also features an comprehensive performance upgrade, one that includes a Prodrive Militek exhaust system and an engine upgrade courtesy of Superchips. The latter took the crossover’s 1.6-liter turbocharged engine and improved its output from the standard 184 horsepower to an more impressive 230-horsepower output.

Even better is that Superchips is still confident in churning out more ponies than it already has in their dyno tests, so that 230-pony figure could still rise up after more testing. No word yet on when MINI will be unveiling a high-performance Countryman, so it could very well be that this is the one that we’ve all been waiting for.

Note: Photo is of the MINI Countryman WRC

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