The factory springs and shocks were pronounced D.O.A., so KW’s Variant 3 coil-overs got the call to come in and freshen things up. In keeping with the goal of being able to rip through NYC traffic, the Variant 3s will allow the Mini to maintain a reasonably high ride height, while reducing body roll through turns. They’re also built to survive the harsh salt assault from winters in the northeast thanks to their INOX stainless-steel bodies, and with the adjustable damping, they can be tuned down to help reduce the jarring nature of hitting potholes left by everything from frost heaves to Con Ed manhole explosions. <br/><br/>KW Variant 3 coil-overs $2,095
Despite understeer tendencies, the Cooper S did in fact leave the showroom floor with factory sway bars. Sadly, they’re not thick enough to suit the driving needs of anyone under the age of 47. Hotchkis Sport Suspension to the rescue. Dialing up how quickly the car will react to steering inputs, the Competition Sway Bar Set from Hotchkis—which offers adjustable settings front and rear—accelerates turn-in and all but eliminates body roll, the end result being a car that now capitalizes on its light curb weight as it slingshots around a turn, as opposed to plowing into a ditch. Plus, with the adjustability, the rate of increase over the factory bars can go anywhere from +16% or +27% in the front to +226% to +383% in the rear. Snaking cabbies has never been easier. <br/><br/>Hotchkis Competition sway bar set $477.95
Old Sway Bars
When it came to selecting tires for this urban warrior, Matt had a few requirements: They needed to be sticky, they needed to offer excellent traction in the wet—hey, it rains here in the Northeast—and they needed to offer a beefy contact patch with sidewall thickness to match. Bridgestone’s Potenza RE-11 tires meet all of those criteria. Loaded with tech that trickled down from F1 and GP2 race tires, the RE-11s come with stiff sidewalls that will help improve turn-in feel while still offering some protection from local road hazards, as well as huge grooves to help shed water quickly. They also feature an asymmetric internal build that enables the tire to distribute pressure on the contact patch more evenly, with straighter outside edges and rounder inside edges keeping the tire more connected to the pavement during hard-core cornering. Their grip will allow this car to rip. <br/><br/>Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 tires (4) $752
A pint-size car typically comes with pint-size wheels. Case in point: the Mini’s 16-by-6.5-inch R84 X-Lite stockers. Tipping the scales at around 18 pounds per, they’re not terribly heavy, but they’re not terribly wide either. The solution? A set of Enkei Nt03+m wheels in 17-by-7.5-inch sizing. With an offset of ET 45 and a weight of just 17 pounds per wheel, they offer access to a wider range of performance-tire sizes while providing space for a larger contact patch—and they look schnazzy to boot. They’re also equipped with a perimeter brace ring between the spokes, which adds additional strength to the wheel, helping it “resist deformation or distortion from outside forces,” a.k.a. potholes.<br/><br/>Enkei Nt03+m wheels (4) $1,180
What does an exhaust have to do with helping transform the Cooper S into the ultimate traffic terror machine? Everything. There’s no better way to let people know to get the hell out of the way than with an aggressive exhaust—aside from the horn, of course. Borla’s catback system helps with this by freeing up the not-so-intense exhaust gasses spewed forth from the 1.6L supercharged lump under the bonnet of the Mini. The end result is a slight gain in horsepower, but more important, an improved throatiness that includes a crack and burble on deceleration that is absolutely intoxicating. Queens-Midtown Tunnel, here we come! <br/><br/>Borla catback exhaust $681
Just a stock car and a pile of parts.
This phase of the project is finally complete.