Gen 1 MINI R50 Tuning Guide
The top 5 performance mods for Gen 1 R50, MINI One and MINI Cooper
Long-dismissed as ‘just’ the lower-powered alternative to its supercharged MINI Cooper S big brother, the R50, both the MINI One and MINI Cooper, holds a special place in Lohen’s heart as the first naturally aspirated model we embraced and modified. To the uninitiated, these Generation 1 ONEs and Coopers may seem underpowered however they shared significant hardware with its S-sibling, including brakes and suspension, making it an ideal platform to tune giving a standard R53 a run for its money.
1. The Lohen LO1 Package
The Lohen LO1 package combines a Superchips Bluefin, Denso Iridium Spark Plugs and Pipercross Panel Air Filter to take your R50 from standard horsepower (either 90 or 110 bhp depending on model) to around 130 bhp. Lohen developed this LO1 package with Superchips and have sold hundreds of them over the years. A doddle to install on your drive way (but we can always help if you struggle, fitting is available at Lohen), this £300 performance upgrade will be giving that extra zip in about 15 minutes, which is about 20 bhp to Cooper owners and a whopping 40 bhp to ONE owners.
2. Janspeed Manifold & High Flow Catalyst for MINI One and MINI Cooper
Improving exhaust gas flow is next on the agenda and the Janspeed Manifold & High Flow Catalyst does that perfectly. The Janspeed manifold section has much smoother bends than the MINI OEM part and, combining with the 200 cells per inch catalyst, will benefit from freer flowing gasses and improved engine performance and sound. Admittedly it’s not the cheapest mod but you certainly get what you pay for. This will combine with a standard cat-back exhaust however truly comes into it’s own when installed with the Milltek below…
3. Milltek Sport Cat-back Exhaust System for R50 MINI One and MINI Cooper
Is your exhaust showing signs of flaking? Perhaps your MINI's exhaust is blowing? Prone to corrosion, the standard steel cat-back exhaust should be replaced by a stainless steel Milltek Sport Cat-back Exhaust. Lohen offers a pair of tailpipe options: the Meteor design that mimics the MINI OEM look or the Jet 90 mm that has an altogether sportier feel, perfect for the aftermarket enthusiast. These cat-back exhaust systems offer some mid-range performance gains and sound superb. When you combine Milltek's sensible pricing and lifetime warranty, it really is a no-brainer.
4. ST Suspensions ST-X Coilovers for R50
All MINIs benefit from a small amount of lowering and the R50 is no exception. As a sister brand of KW Automotive, you know the ST Suspension range will be great quality but carry a more modest price tag. Reducing your MINI One or Cooper’s centre of gravity will improve handling and allow you to harness and make more of your bhp so it’s truly maximised. This kit will also benefit fully from a Lohen in-house suspension setup service – think of it as the icing on the cake!
5. OMP Upper Strut Brace for MINI One and MINI Cooper
Speaking both figuratively and literally, OMP Strut Braces tie everything together. These iconic red strut bars not only look great in the R50's engine bay but also help to link chassis points making your MINI behave more predictably in cornering. If you’re looking for a cost-effective, inexpensive modification, you will struggle to do much better than this! Looking to other areas of the MINI, for general road use Lohen recommends you stick with the standard brake calipers as they’re the same as used on the Cooper S models and consider great brake pads and brake fluid, plus regular MINI servicing when the time comes. If you look after your MINI you’ll have an R50 to be proud of.