The Top 5 Mini Cooper S Performance Enhancements. In comparison to the previous 1.6L Prince turbo I4, the third generation Mini Cooper S (F55, F56, F57) gained a larger 2.0L turbocharged I4. BMW’s B48 engine produces 189hp and 207lb-ft of torque in the new Cooper S. Mini introduced the John Cooper Works GP, a track-focused variant of the Cooper S, in 2020. The 2.0L B48 engine in the JCW GP delivers 302hp and 332lb-ft of torque.
The engines of the Mini Cooper S and JCW GP differ only in a few ways. The JCW GP engines are built with a stronger crank, pistons, and bearings, as well as a lower compression ratio. As a result, the JCW GP engine is technically superior to the Cooper S engine. The basic B48 in the Mini Cooper S, on the other hand, is capable of managing a lot more power than it does from the factory. A few bolt-on mods to the Cooper S may easily boost the engine to nearly 300whp for a few thousand dollars.
This article will concentrate on the finest performance enhancements for the Gen 3 Mini Cooper S 2.0L turbo. Mods for non-S vehicles equipped with the 1.5L B38 engine will be comparable, although power improvements will be significantly lower and aftermarket parts will be more difficult to come by. Furthermore, because the Gen 2 Cooper S is turbocharged, the changes described are mainly relevant.
Best Mini Cooper S Performance Enhancements
- E85 fueling
1) Mini Cooper S Customization
A tune is without a doubt the best performance enhancement for the Mini Cooper S. A simple plug-and-play adjustment can add 40whp with no other changes. Furthermore, it will boost the power gains from later improvements, making it one of the best building blocks for performance enhancements. The JB4 piggyback tuner and the MaxxBoost flash tuner are two common tuning choices for the B48 in the Cooper S.
The biggest distinction between the two is how they approach adjusting the car. The JB4 is a piggyback tuner, which means it does not affect the factory ECU settings and hence remains undetectable if the tune is removed. The MaxxBoost tuner literally reflashes the ECU, altering the factory specifications of the vehicle. Piggyback songs are the simplest to set up and operate, and they come with a variety of maps or tunes. The MaxxBoost tune is capable of personalized tuning but does not provide as many pre-programmed options.
Advantages of Mini Cooper S Tuning
- Power improvements of up to 40whp and 40wtq
- Simple plug-and-play installation
- Power gains from successive mods are increased.
- Best price per horsepower upgrade
Recommended Burger Motorsports JB4 Cooper S Tune
Burger Motorsports is the go-to brand for BMW performance upgrades and tuning. Because the Mini is powered by a BMW B48 engine, there is no better option for tuning. The JB4 comes with 8 distinct maps and self-adjusts for extra adjustments, as opposed to the MaxxBoost, which requires a totally new tune. It also offers an Android and Apple app for data logging and monitoring over 40 distinct engine parameters. Because this is a piggyback tune, the ECU does not need to be unlocked, which is not the case with flash tuners.
Overall, Burger Motorsports is a well-known name in BMW tuning, which is why we recommend them for Mini Cooper S tuning.
2) Upgraded 2.0L Mini B48 Downpipe
An improved downpipe is the second best bang-for-buck alteration for the Cooper S B48. A catless downpipe will produce 10-15whp and 15-20wtq, the second best gains of any mod after a tune. One of the most significant advantages is turbo spool. Because the downpipe houses the catalytic converter, it generates a significant amount of exhaust backpressure. Because the downpipe bolts directly to the turbo, backpressure has a negative impact on turbo spool. It operates as a negative force against the turbine wheel, stopping it from fast spooling and building boost.
The best technique to obtain the greatest pre-turbo to post-turbo pressure reduction is using a catless downpipe. Catless downpipes, on the other hand, are strictly unlawful.
As a result, a high-flow downpipe is an alternative choice. Gains from a high-flow downpipe will most likely be 5whp less than gains from a catless alternative. However, it ensures that your Mini’s emissions remain legal (in most states).
Advantages of Downpipe Upgrade
- Gains of 10-15whp and 15-20wtq (approximately 5 less for high-flow)
- The value of low-end torque is significant.
- Improved throttle responsiveness and faster turbo spool
- Significant reduction in exhaust backpressure (reduced stress on the turbo)
- Exhaust note is slightly louder.
Cooper S Cold Air Intake System
An improved intake is our third favorite performance enhancement for the Cooper S. Tunes typically increase power by raising the amount of boost produced by the turbo. The more boost you provide, the more air you must introduce into the engine.
The B48’s stock intake is actually rather decent, however it can become slightly restricted when pushing high boost settings.
An improved intake will add roughly 5whp and 5wtq. While these figures aren’t particularly outstanding, introducing more air into the engine improves the efficiency of the turbo and reduces the amount of stress placed on it. You can do a tune on the factory intake, but for $199, it’s not worth putting further strain on your turbo.
We advocate an open intake system with the air filter exposed to the engine bay. The alternative is to use a closed system in which the filter is housed in a box, similar to the stock intake.
Because the stock intake is so good, you won’t see any gains unless you use an open intake. The idea is to optimize airflow, and an open intake will deliver the greatest increase in airflow over the stock air box.
Advantages of Improved Intake
- Power increases of 5whp and 5wtq
- improved throttle responsiveness
- quicker turbo spool
- Enhanced turbo efficiency
- ‘Whoosh’ intake noises
4) Intercooler Upgrade for Mini Cooper S
Unlike the B48 BMWs, which employ air-to-water intercoolers, the B48 in the Mini Cooper S uses an air-to-air intercooler. Because the Mini is a little car, the intercooler is also modest. After adding a tune, intake, and downpipe to the S, you’ll be pushing roughly 60whp more than stock.
Ultimately, you’ll be forcing a lot more air into the engine and thus via the intercooler.
Because of its modest size, the stock intercooler is often overrun, resulting in heat soak. Heat soak happens when the intercooler is unable to adequately cool the charge air and hence feeds hot air into the engine compartment. When driving aggressively, such as on the track, heat soak might result in power losses of 20-30whp. The surface area and core of the intercooler are both increased when it is upgraded.
A bigger intercooler core can accommodate more charge air. Furthermore, a bigger surface area improves cooling capacity and efficiency. Wagner’s Competition intercooler, for example, has a 53% greater surface area and a 52% larger core size.
This not only provides solid power gains, but it also avoids power loss during heavy driving. Furthermore, because heat is terrible for engines, an intercooler is one of the most reliable mods for tuned and modified Mini Cooper Ss.
Advantages of the Cooper S Performance Intercooler
- Approximately 10whp and torque gains
- Avoids heat soak and power loss.
- Improves consistency of performance
- Lowering IATs and EGTs improves reliability.
5) Fueling: E85 Blends
The B48 can safely use 20%-30% E85 blends with a tune like the JB4. E85 burns cooler and has a higher octane rating than regular gas. This not only eliminates the possibility of knock or pre-detonation, but also increases power by allowing for higher boost and ignition timing.
Running 100% E85 will result in the greatest gains. However, this will necessitate a variety of fueling changes as well as bespoke tune. As a result, the simplest method to extract improvements from E85 is to run a 20%-30% blend. When it comes to turbo upgrades and optimizing power potential, running full E85 is a terrific option.
Mini E85 Fuel Advantages
- improvements of 10whp-30whp+ and equivalent torque improvements
- Reduced possibility of knock and pre-detonation
- Allows for a greater boost
- It is possible to use more aggressive ignition timing.
Running 20%-30% E85 blends will result in lower-end power improvements. To see 30whp+ gains, you’ll need to run 100% E85. Running E85 fuel will necessitate an upgraded LPFP and a bespoke tune. Port injection may be required depending on your arrangement.
Power Limits of the 2.0L Mini Cooper S
The Mini Cooper S can achieve around 300whp with the factory turbo and fueling limitations. All of the mods on this list, which should only cost a few thousand dollars, can get you to these power levels. However, the B48 engine is perfectly capable of handling greater power than this. Despite being significantly weaker than the JCW B48 engines, we feel the standard internals, block, and so on can handle up to 400whp without sacrificing too much reliability.
Summary of Mini Cooper S Mods
While the F55, F56, and F57 Mini Cooper S with the 2.0T B48 only produces 189hp out of the box, it is capable of far more power. With just five easy bolt-on modifications, you can easily add nearly 100whp to the Cooper S and get it close to 300whp. If you just do one mod, the greatest one to do is a tune because it delivers the highest power gains at the lowest cost. We recommend an intake and downpipe improvement after installing a tune to help enhance airflow and reduce backpressure, resulting in a more efficient and faster spooling turbo.
Intercooler enhancements are ideal for anyone who tracks their Mini or drives it aggressively on the street on a regular basis. Finally, for those trying to maximize power and performance without replacing the turbo, E85 mixes are an excellent way to acquire a few extra horsepower for free. If you’re still looking for more power after you’ve installed all of the tweaks on this list, turbo and fueling upgrades can help push the Cooper S above 350whp and close to the 400whp the engine is capable of. However, this version of the B48 has significantly weaker pistons, which are likely to be the first internal component to fail due to excessive power.