This modded MINI is a very hot thing in a very small package
Small 'N Spicy PHOTOS: Winston Chuang for TORQUE

It might seem a little counter-intuitive, especially in some(Western) parts of the world, to find out that a chilli's size is no measure of how spicy it actually is. The world's hottest chilli is the golf ball-sized Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, with some examples rated at over two million Scoville heat units (the scientific measure of spiciness). Compare that with Tabasco, which rates a paltry 2,500 Scoville units.

But we in this part of the world are probably no strangers to the idea of small chillies being blindingly spicy, as anyone who's ever bitten into a barely visible chilli padi can attest to.

With that in mind, it should come as no real surprise that this MINI hatch
belonging to Mr J packs some serious heat, as evidenced by the John Cooper Works badge (a mark of MINI's sportiest models) and this-means-business red decals.

Surprisingly, though, when J bought this MINI from its previous owner 10 months ago, it was in completely stock condition. Not to mention how J had no intention (at the time) of taking it down the modding route. As he tells us, the reason it all started was because the many "wear-and-tear parts needed to be changed as the car was entering its third year."

"That was when I started looking into aftermarket replacement parts. While at it, I decided I might as well give my car a nice modding treat," he adds with a smile.

And what a treat J has handed his MINI. Inside the engine bay sits a BMC cold-air induction system, paired to a carbon fibre intake pipe from NM Engineering. A trio of choice mods from Forge Motorsport (coolant pipes, blowoff valve, and uprated intercooler) round out the upgrades here.

This MINI is indeed a far cry from the  "regular" Cooper S it started life as. But it isn't all just show from the JCW bodykit, as this MINI also has some power upgrades to boast of. J was reluctant to disclose exact power figures, but suffice to say, they're likely to be some way above the stock car's 184bhp (and perhaps even more than the JCW hatch's "official" 211bhp).

Aside from the uprated punch and aesthetics, J's MINI gets a few other
cosmetic add-ons, such as the matte-black NM Engineering RSe05 17-inch wheels (complete with red lip) and an M7 air scoop. Given the extent of the other mods, it stands to reason that this MINI has
plenty to offer in the handling department, too - something J is particularly proud of. He says a MINI's true strengths lie not so much in how quickly it goes in a straight line, but how quickly and nimbly it gets
around corners.

To that end, this MINI gets a set of JCW dampers, which we ourselves love for its combination of a pliant ride and positive control. It's a marked improvement from the crashy, brittle ride in the standard Cooper S. The dampers are complemented by a set of Eibach lowering springs, which
adds that all-important "stance" to J's car.

The already capable corner-carving ability of J's ride is strengthened even
further with the addition of a complete set of JCW anti-roll bars from MINI's aftermarket catalogue, and topped off with a NM Engineering front strut brace. Helping it stop on the metaphorical dime is a brake upgrade from AP Racing.

It's a car anybody would be proud to call their own, and J is rightly pleased with it. So pleased, in fact, that when we asked him what else he's planning to do to his MINI, his reply was "absolutely nothing, the car feels great as it is right now". That is, save perhaps for replacements when the parts wear out, and a change of decals when the current ones start looking tired.

But looking at how much more scope there is to improve his MINI’s performance further, we wouldn't blame J if he decided to add a little more spice to his already-hot little thing at some point in the future.

 

This article first appeared in the October 2013 issue of Torque.


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