In this post I'm going to be talking about what has been done to Kowalski as well as some thoughts on some MINI related products.
Hit the jump to continue reading.
First lets start with the new mods (Parts that have been added within the past week):
Most prominently are the 19" replica BMW M3 (E92 era) wheels with 225/40/R19 Continental DWS all season tires. The ride is about the same as the 17" run flats I had previously, but the car just feels more stable during cornering, could be attributed to the wider tires. Best part is that annoying jumpiness when you hit bumps in the middle of hard cornering is gone!
before on the front / after on the rear:
Next I put on a VIP strut bar. I find that the difference in the handling with the bar is definitely more than noticeable and I 100% recommend it. It was an easy mod to do and when you really stick it into a corner the front end is completely tightened up. No more mushy feeling!
(I know my air filter needs cleaning)
Recap of modifications so far:
1. Probably the mod that has had the biggest impact is the tune. It is borderline necessary to tune your Countryman in my point of view. The factory the S ALL4 just seems a tad bit underpowered and once you tune your car it completely changes everything! A tune brings your Countryman one step closer to being a true sports car. (Gained 30hp and 50 lb/ft of torque, dyno tested)
2. A very easy and beneficial mod is swapping the internal microphone from the right side (it's there for the right hand drive cars) over to the left. Voice pickup has improved greatly since then!
3. Full LED swap - Almost every accent light on Kowalski has been changed with LED's. Keep in mind if you are going to be swapping lights with LED's that the exterior front and back lights of the MINI are monitored for their electrical draw, so you will need to either buy CANBUS bulbs or resistors for those.
4. The exhaust system. It has been a blast driving this car with this extremely loud sound, and it's not just a buzz sound you hear out of those old Honda Civics, it's angry, rumbly, race inspired sound. Working from the front of the system back - I have an Akrapovic Down Pipe (no check engine light because we put in an 18mm spark plug spacer in the bottom 02 sensor to fool it into thinking the amount of air passing through at the bottom of the cat is less), then I have a JCW mid pipe (with all silencers + resonators cut out) and then a JCW back box. Some better pictures and description over at a previous blog post of mine.
5. NM Engineering Cold Air Intake. Now, contrary to popular belief there are actually minimal power gains from an open CAI. The biggest problem is heat soak, which is heat from the engine, and primarily from the turbo in these N18 engines flowing back to the rear of the engine bay (where the CAI is located) and forcing it to suck in hot air, which is not what you want. There are ways to help stop the problem and one of the more popular techniques is to add a Turbo Heat Shield. There is a tuning company that went so far as to stop the problem that they actually moved around bits in the engine bay to stick the open CAI right in front of the air inlet next to the driver (left hand drive) headlamp. The main reason for adding the open CAI for me was for the noise you get with it... and it sounds fantastic! Every time the turbo spools up it sounds like a spaceship taking off, and when you let off the gas quickly from full throttle you can hear the blow off valve, it really is a lot of fun.
And that's it for the MAJOR mods.... I have hundreds of little mods and bits that are a lot of fun.
If you're on Facebook, head on over and join our Countryman Owner Facebook Group run by Lori Griffin. It is a great group of people and everyone is welcome into our family!
Also, remember... MINI owners WAVE! There's nothing more disappointing than waving to a fellow owner of a MINI and not getting a wave back. Don't just own a MINI, be a "MINI Owner"