Performance Upgrades for a Mini Cooper S

by John Cook
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The MINI Cooper is a great car to drive right from the dealer, but there are many options and upgrades for those who want a little more performance. MINI offers a selection of accessories under the John Cooper Works banner and several other companies offer competing products to spice up the power and handling. This list focuses on performance upgrades for the MINI Cooper Hardtop from 2006 to 2010, although the list for other body styles and model years is very similar.

Cold Air Intake

A cold air intake is relatively easy to install and gives your MINI Cooper a boost in horsepower. John Cooper Works (JCW) offers one option and K&N offers another.


The exhaust allows the gas from the engine to exit your MINI more efficiently which leads to more horsepower. Borla and JCW both make upgraded exhausts for the MINI Cooper and Cooper S

Spark Plug Wires

New spark plug wires give a stronger spark to the engine and give the engine a little more power for a very cheap price. You can find spark plug wires from various manufacturers including Plasma and Nology.

Limited Slip Differential

A limited slip differential (LSD or limited slip diff) helps get the power on the road as you are coming out of a turn. It helps improve handling and acceleration although not actual horsepower. It was offered as a factory option on some cars, but there are also aftermarket options available. Quaife and OS Giken both offer limited slip diffs for the MINI Cooper.


Suspension upgrades will help you corner better and get your power onto the road more efficiently. While the sport suspension on the MINI is pretty good, JCW and Koni, among others, offer upgrades to the shocks and struts for better ride and handling.


The stock run-flat tires on the MINI Cooper grive a notoriously harsh ride and are low on grip. Replacing the tires will help you corner faster, get the power down more easily and ride in a little more comfort. Replacement tires are offered by every manufacturer, but Michelin, Goodyear and Pirelli all offer well received aftermarket options. Bear in mind that the MINI has no spare tire.


JCW and EBC offer upgrades to the pads and rotors on your MINI Cooper, helping you stop faster and with more control than the stock brakes. If you do upgrade the brakes make sure you upgrade the tires to handle the extra stopping power.


The intercooler helps increase power by getting more air into the turbo. A better intercooler means cooler air into the turbo and more power from the engine. Alta makes an upgraded intercooler for the MINI Cooper, as does Helix.

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