It’s fair to say that the BMW Mini, hereafter known simply as ‘the Mini’, had a somewhat difficult birth, primarily because memories of the iconic, Monte Carlo-conquering original took a long while to fade! Now in its third generation, the Mini has most certainly hit its stride, and it is now one of the most popular cars within the global tuning scene. Virtues like keen handling, impressive performance and timeless styling are all in abundance, but, as is often the case, there’s far more available via the aftermarket.
The Mini is something of a Forge Motorsport strong suit; we’ve supported the UK’s Mini Challenge for many years now and supply performance parts to both the R56 and F56 cars which makeup the grid. Our range isn’t exactly short on performance enhancing kit either, hence why we’ve opted to pinpoint 10 of the most popular Mini products within the Gloucester firm’s range. So without further ado…
1) Mini Cooper S (R53) – Alloy Strut Brace
If there’s one thing that the Mini name has always been known for, it’s superb handling. The R53 Cooper S, the first of the new generation cars built under BMW’s watch, had brilliant cornering poise right out of the box, but all mass market cars must be built with compromises – hence why there’s room for improvement! This alloy strut brace does just that, helping to link both sides of the car together and provide some extra stiffness and strength when cornering with commitment. It should be noted that it’s only for first gen, pre-2007 cars (those with the supercharger); it simply won’t fit over the later car’s turbo assembly.
Price: £166.70 inc VAT
2) Mini Cooper S (R53) – Upgraded Air-To-Air Intercooler
One of our longest running and most popular parts for the Mk1 Cooper S, this uprated air-to-air intercooler is a vastly more capable bit of kit than the standard part, and is therefore all but essential if you’re planning some serious power tuning further down the line. We experimented with a whole host of different end-plate and core designs before settling on this one, not to mention trials with a charge-cooler. The end result was this design, one that’s been on sale in an unchanged form for over 10 years now. It’s proven to significantly reduce intake temperatures, as much as 29% in some applications.
Price: £370.10 inc VAT
3) Mini Cooper (F56) – Induction Kit
We’ve discussed the importance of sophisticated, restriction-free inlet tracts before, and this rings especially true for the Mini Cooper. It’s an aspect of tuning that we know a great deal about thanks to our long standing sponsorship of the Mini Challenge, and this has led directly to this induction kit. Developed for the 2.0 petrol engines found in both the Cooper S and Cooper JCW (though it will also fit the 1.5 engined cars), the intake presents a far more efficient route for the airflow to take, while the included aluminium heat shield doubles as a scoop to direct air from the cold air inlet on the slam panel. It’s been proven to make an impressive 10bhp on our dyno.
Price: £291.61 inc VAT
4) Mini (F56) – Adjustable Rear Tie Bars
Another product of our long standing association with the Mini Challenge, these adjustable tie-bars make a brilliant addition to any F56-gen Mini, and as the name suggests, give a great deal of scope for minute adjustments to key chassis traits like castor and camber. Having such control over suspension geometry can mean a reduction in uneven tyre wear and an increase in tyre-surface contact area, which in turn can have a dramatic impact on lap times. The beautifully manufactured bars are powder coated for a long life, are covered by our industry leading warranty and even come with a specially commissioned, high performance polyurethane bushes.
5) Mini Cooper S (R56) – 356mm Front Brake Kit
Ideal for those Mini owners seeking the last word in stopping ability, these massive 32×356mm front brakes are the end result of an exhaustive development process. The end result is an incredibly capable setup consisting of said grooved discs, our own braided hoses, mountings, suitably high friction pads, and of course a set of 6 pot calipers. It’s a kit which we feel strikes the correct balance between out and out performance, real world usability and weight, though the diameter of the discs means that wheels of at least 19in will be required, and a spacer may also be needed to provide enough caliper clearance.
6) Mini Cooper S (R56) – Uprated Alloy Intercooler
We don’t hang around when it comes to drawing up alloy go-faster bits for the Mini, hence why we were one of the first to acquire an R56 Cooper demo car mere weeks after the model went on sale! This uprated alloy intercooler was one of the first products of our development drive, and it remains one of our best selling kits for the second generation car. The intercooler wasn’t merely first to market back in 2007, it was one of the first ‘coolers to use our groundbreaking L-shaped core design, one that’s been proven to offer exceptional cooling efficiency and contributes to its 250% larger surface area and 125% thicker base core.
7) Mini Cooper/S/Clubman (R56/R55) – Noise Generator Delete Pipe
This high flow intake charge hose has been designed for cars with the 1.6 Turbo engine found in the Cooper, Cooper S and Clubman, and mates up to the throttle body at the rear of the engine bay. Extensive testing revealed the OEM part to be somewhat restrictive, a problem made all the worse on early cars with a noise generator placed in situ, hence this complete solution, one which promises improved turbo response throughout the rev range. The pipe’s silicone construction also means it is more resistant to temperatures and pressures than the factory version.
8) Mini Countryman Cooper/Cooper S (all 4×4) (R60) – Performance Exhaust System
This is a complete, clean-sheet, cat-back exhaust design specifically for the Mini Countryman, and is therefore guaranteed to fit perfectly, right out of the box. It’s constructed from 63.5mm tubing and features a downpipe with a machined collar, flex joints, laser cut brackets, two-piece centre section, carefully fabricated Y-piece, and left and right hand rear silencers with machined mounting brackets. The system ends with a pair of 90mm resonated tail pipes designed to fit both standard cars and those fitted with the Cooper Works bodykit. Not only does the system sound great, it offers genuine performance gains over the OEM-fitted part, and these will only be enhanced on those cars which have been remapped.
9) Mini (F56) – Coilover Kit
A new addition to our F56 range, these advanced coilovers for the F56 Mini are ideal for both track and street driving. They boast a full 32 levels of damping adjustability which means that there’s huge scope for the minute changes, and even permit adjustment of both bump and rebound settings at the same time. The length of the shock can be toggled which prevents the need to adjust the spring perch like on a normal coil-over, and so offering the maximum shock-absorbing travel, while the high viscosity oil in the damper reservoir ensures efficient shock-absorbing action. Last but not least, the trick design of the coilovers means that both the shock and spring platform can be adjusted at the same time, which means that massive drops in ride height are possible, though supporting modifications will be required if you actually want to drive it!
10) Mini Cooper S (R56) – Alloy Header Tank
We thought we’d round off this list with one of the products we’re perhaps best known for, a stunning alloy header tank for R56 Cooper S. We’ve built our reputation on high quality alloy components like this so you can be sure that you’re buying a product which will give countless miles of service, and will look suitably stunning nestled within the engine bay of your Mini. It’s hand crafted and polished right here in the UK, meaning that fitment will be both swift and straightforward.