"Giving the 'little' car a big attitude!"

When BMW took on the MINI name and created a new car, aimed at fun loving millennials there were many skeptics.

It was actually very well done, and BMW created a fun car, which owners could specify to match their personalities and in a wide variety of power options and engine choices capturing the essence of the original mini.

The MINI ONE, a firm favourite with tuners, thanks primarily to the huge array of aftermarket parts on offer gets larger each week.

The handling on the non Cooper versions can be dramatically improved, plus they are crying out for more power. Slightly firmer adjustable suspension is the way to go here, keeping it subtle as you don't want to create a go cart (or do you)?

Handling/Suspension upgrades

Handling modifications are the thing most do first for the MINI.

Good suspension tweaks that often enhance handling for the MINI include a couple of degrees negative camber and 1-1.5 degrees of toe out on the front wheels.

Drop the car by as much as 24mm - 37 mm and fit motorsport grade stiffer dampers, bigger drops will need other modifications in most instances.

Top end power should be your overall aim on the MINI with a nice fat peak torque band.

Spending a little money on the best engine and handling mods should transform your car into a potential super car beater.

Smaller engines do not provide much of a return in terms of power so start with a bigger engine. Engine swaps are a good option if you have a small engine size.

Engine tuning mods.

These are the uprated parts are usually carried out by our members, decide how far you want to go before you get started.

Getting the best sports upgrades for your planned usage of the car is vital. Stage 3 competition upgrades just won't work well on the road and will make the car undrivable.

Stage 1 mods: Sports exhaust, Alloy wheels, Remap, Suspension upgrade (drop 30-40mm), Lighter flywheel, Panel air filter.

Stage 2 mods: Power/Sport clutch, fuel pump upgrades, Fast road cam, high flow fuel injector, Ported and polished head.

Stage 3 mods: Sports gearbox, Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves), Competition cam, Adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Engine balancing.

Peak power is good on competition cars but for a drivable and fun car you need a wide power band and perhaps extending the rev range.

The whole point of our pointers is to give a little insight into the world of tuning performance parts and point you in the right direction, our forum is best place to go if you need more detailed advice and tips on your car tuning project, the best modified mods and all aspects of modding cars.A fast road camshaft typically is one of the best NASP power mods you can do with a single part fitted to your engine.

The exhaust and intake flow play a large part in your cars power band, but be careful here, getting this wrong can upset the idle and make the car impossible to drive in traffic. You'd need to follow a cam upgrade with other mods and finish with a performance chip to fully realise your gains.

When pushing up the power you will need to pay attention to to the fuelling. More power needs more fuel.

Using high octane fuel is another option if you find you are suffering from detonation or premature ignition on your BMW's project after fitting other motorsport mods. Uprated injectors will enable you to supply sufficient fuel to the engine.

Uprate the fuel pump to cope with the extra fuel requirements of your tuned MINIs uprated injectors.

The MINI is popular among our members for tuning projects The key to MINI tuning is getting the right mods you can waste loads of money if you do it wrong.

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums


Improving the handling for lots of DIY modders first priority in your MINI tuning project. Drop the car by as much as 35mm and fit performance stiffer dampers, bigger drops will need other modifications in most instances.

Our aim in MINI engine tuning should be to increase peak power and Torque at the top end.

Spending just a little bit of money on the top engine and handling parts should transform your car into a high performance car.

The best power gains come from larger engine sizes. The more you start with the bigger the return on investment so engine swaps are good value mods for small engined cars.

Engine Tuning.

Typically these uprated parts are usually carried out by our members, decide how far you wish to go in your tuning project before you get going.

The first generation MINI ONE engine range.

  • 1.4L Tritec I4 (One)
  • 1.4L Toyota 1ND-TV diesel (D)
  • 1.6L Tritec I4 (One, Cooper)
  • 1.6L Tritec supercharged I4 (S)

Second generation engines (2006-2013)

This generation improved on the first generation with a reengineered platform, new engines based on the PSA group powerplants.

  • 1.4 L Prince I4 (One)
  • 1.6 L Prince/BMW N12 I4 (Cooper)
  • 1.6 L Prince turbo I4 (Cooper S)
  • 1.6 L Peugeot DV6 diesel I4 (Cooper D and One D)
  • 2.0 L BMW N47 diesel I4 (Cooper SD)

Third generation engines (2013-)

This saw a slight size increase over previous models and a 28mm longer wheelbase. The John Cooper Works is the go to model for the performance enthusiast but shows what can be done with this great platform.

  • 1.2L turbocharged B38A12U0 I-3 (One)
  • 1.5L turbocharged B38A15M0 I-3 (Cooper)
  • 1.5L turbodiesel I-3 (One D, Cooper D)
  • 2.0L turbocharged I-4 (Cooper S, JCW)
  • 2.0L turbodiesel I-4 (Cooper SD)

Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Breathing mods are usually next up. Induction kits are only beneficial to increase power if your air intake is struggling! Adding an induction kit to most standard engines will see NO LOW END POWER GAIN AT ALL. If you have heavily modified your engine and it's need for air INCREASES DRAMATICALLY then an induction kit is the answer and will help remove this restriction.

For most MINI engines TorqueCars would suggest you just go with a washable panel air filter. On heavily tuned engines and turbo vehicles an induction kit will help release the power providing you address the problem of supplying cold air.

Do not go with the largest exhaust you can find this will slow up the exhaust flow rate - the best for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.5 inches. It is the shape and material more than the bore size.

Getting a professionally flowed (ported and polished) head with larger valves can fully release the engines power. In nearly all cases of MINI tuning your clutch will start to suffer and this needs to be uprated - read our overview on clutches for more information. The best mods we recommend for your MINI are fast road camshaft, remap, induction and exhaust, suspension.

Remaps offer large power gains on all turbo charged cars. On NASP engines the benefits are doubtful. However a remap on a NASP engine will help unleash the potential if you have done a lot of mods. The most phenomenal power gains for NASP engines usually involve the addition of forced induction. Turbos are often harder to add than a supercharger. It is more challenging to map a turbo as the boost builds exponentially with engine speed.

The nice correlating boost and rpm characteristics of the supercharger make them simpler to map. Adding forced induction will nearly always require a lower compression ratio or water injection.

Alloy wheel upgrades.

Due to the fact that alloy wheels are lighter they improve performance and they help to cool the brake disks. If you are serious about performance then you will need to carefully choose your tires - ideally with a track legal slick tire. The drawback to large alloy wheels on your MINI is that you're altering your effective final drive ratio and this will have a detrimental effect on performance.

Although some people have with bigger wheels without problems we would restrict ourselves to a 16 inch rim size as the maximum.

There is a more updated version of this BMW's MINI Tuning article on

For more information on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss MINI options in more detail with our MINI owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased BMW's tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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