Hey MINI fans ! I think it is about time I share a little more about my F56 JCW that I have been enjoying since August, last year, on the roads of ... Japan. Yeah not exactly the next door I know
but it makes for a lot more exotic drive right ?
I love my F56 JCW, very refined, powerful, looks cool too ! (well I like to think so) Also it is a pretty exclusive ride in japan, even more in Manual trim like mine.
Yet, it is missing a little something, some sharpness, focus ... it was a little too "clinic". So I started to investigate my option to give it an extra edge.
Here in Japan, we have the chance to have StudieAG, a dedicated BMW tunner, like Dinan in the USA. StudieAG not only tunes but also is involved in the GT300 championship. They are as serious as it can get. So it was only normal I went to see what we could do to sprinkle some wasabi on the MINI.
The shop, on the outskirt of Sendai, is absolutely beautiful, clean and modern, ultra welcoming !
I exposed my vision of the tuning I wanted for the MINI and deal was done !
For a start, it needed sound ! and flair. In Japan the JCW Pro exhaust isn't imported as it doesn't pass regulations ... But the Remus V2 does ! go figure ?! So ... Remus it is, and what an exhaust !! If anything I think I love it even more than the JCW Pro. Borderline scary when it bangs like cannon in the streets of the city ... l
Next on the list, it needed some "chassi" upgrade, not that the stock sport suspension is bad, but it isn't all that great either, too soft and "so called confy" and way to high ! I long debated between JCW Pro option, and KW, the latest was the choice. V1 in fact, why not V2 or 3 ? because it would have been useless. I won't play with the settings, the guys at KW figured it out for me, and the stock valving of the KW V1 is absolutely perfect out of the box !
The ride height was set to -30mm, I just wanted the wheels to follow the fender line in an elegant manner, it was the best setting in this case.
Then was the problem of the stock anchors, I mean, wheels ... I was quite desperate, I never liked the cup spokes. Their bulge was just hideous and just not a fan of the look. Added the ridiculous weight they add to un-sprung mass they had to go ! Now, you know the drill, choosing wheels for JCW is a bit of a nightmare, and it kinda is worse here in Japan ! Sure, we have Rays, and Advan, but what if one doesn't like that style for a MINI ? Well, that has to be me ! So, I had to look somewhere else, BBS was the candidate !! In Japan, we have a special division of BBS that creates the most advanced forged wheels for the German brand, and luckily with have the RI-A ! a specific model created for SUPER GT championship class, it is nothing short of amazing , pure BBS style, 7.8kg for a 18x7.5" wheel !
They are wrapped with 205/40-18 Yokohama Fleva tires, it is the response from Yoko, to Michelin's PSS ... and even if I wanted the Michelin, these Yoko's are really good ! Only ... they are more 215's than 205 ! but on a 7.5" wheel, they just look perfect. Now came the problem of the ET ... the BBS come in ET48 but they don't clear the brakes (of course) we had to add H&R 11mm spacers in the front ... so a ET37 sounds pretty nasty doesn't it ? well ... it absolutely PERFECT ! look for yourself
The wheel is absolutely flush in the front, no rub, perfect ! The back well that is an other story ... with 11mm spacers, at max compression there will be rub on the plastic fender lining, so ...either I lower the offset, or trim the fender, I think it will be trim !
I will wait the suspension to settle, and ride some more, and see how often it is an issue really because so far, it has been ok ...
Now, last piece, the engine. At the very beginning I didn't want to do anything, but ... you know how it is, so I decided to go for a good module. I had the choice between NM, 3Ddesign (a Japanese tuner) or ... some voodoo from the German Ac Schnitzer. Yes I know, why would I pick the latest right ? That price is rape isn't it ? well yes ...and no !
Bear with me for a second ! Yes NM and others are great value for money, no doubt, but Schnitzer is a different thing all together. There is the warranty, and it isn't a scam ! Then, well it is Schnitzer, they have the pedigree to backup their price ... and they might not advertise as much out of the box as the other brands, but let me tell you, this upgrade isn't a joke ! It has a serious punch on demand ! There numbers have to be underrated ! Next, the module is quite tricky to install as it has to hack the CAN bus wiring system, where Schnitzer monitors more data to know at all time how the engine is doing, and adapt all necessary parameters. Yes, it is a lot of money, but I could do it, and was happy to do it ... those who don't want it, can't afford it, have other great options as hand ! but fact is ? I love that Ac Schnitzer grunt, and history on board of the JCW. I don't know in the US, but here in Japan, it actually adds value to the car !
Here we are, here it is, let me tell you it ride amazingly, like I wouldn't believe it could ! the combination of the chassis, and power is a pure pleasure ! and it looks gorgeous at least for me ! It is 100% what I wanted, and I can't stop wanting to drive it ...again, and again, and more.
I hope I can share more adventures with you, and sure will try to ! now, road across Japan, track-days, touge ! it is on