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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

I must say I'm impressed with the performance that the Cooper's 3 Cylinder engine outputs. After having driven it on mainly B-roads for over 2000km It's given me some smiles. However, I'm sure a lot of us would share the urge to explore how far we could take this beautiful piece of modern engineering.

Everyone is talking about the tuning of the Cooper S, and there's been some success in improving performance and so forth... but to me the most revealing fact is that our engine is practically the same or very similar to the one found in the new BMW i8:

"Then, at the rear, a new 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine, rated at 231 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque drives the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. The same engine is also used in the new 2014 MINI Cooper Hardtop, albeit in a slightly lesser state of tune"

(http://www.thecarconnection.com/overview/bmw_i8_2014)

Now, I'm far from being an expert and have limited knowledge and info about this particular case and tuning in general, but if the actual mechanics and physical parts of the engine are identical to that of the i8, this would mean that with a performance tuning of the ECU a whole lot of power could be unleashed!

Cooper 134 hp VS. i8 231 hp... Even if we could only tap into 20-40% of those potential gains in performance (due to other restrictions and components that are not part of the engine, eg/ exhaust, air intake, etc). It would make our Coopers and absolute Hoot to drive and potentially rival the performance of a Cooper S. Too good to be true?

If i were a tuner, I'd be digging deeper into this, because it 'sounds' promising.

(Now it's when I wait for someone to burst my bubble and tell me I'm an ignorant ;) )
 

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Not ignorant, but solutions will have to come from the aftermarket works, as it would be silly business management to make the 1.5 faster than the 2.0, especially when the 1.5 is already a better-handling car due to less weight up front.

I'm a fan of the 1.5, and the i8 info shows what waiting under there!
 

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Don't get too optmistic, as the turbocharger is very important in the output of a modern turbo engine and BMW seem to give Mini engines basic technology turbos, whereas the same cylinder block gets a twin-scroll turbo to make much more power in BMW models. And swapping a turbo isn't either cheap or easy.

But the only power curve I've seen for a F56 Justa is barely a curve at all - see below from autombile-catalog.com (I've no idea if this is 'official' but it looks plausible). The flat lines in that curve do suggest that the engine is 'ECU-limited' though liberating the bigger numbers that are probably available may make a peaky-er and less pleasant engine to drive - though of course small boys will always prefer big numbers.



The same source also has a power curve for the 1200cc One which looks very similar:

 

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You are aware that both MINI engines get twin-scroll turbos?

Not sure of the 2.0, but the 1.5 gets 8 lbs of boost, which it builds early and keeps all the way to redline.

It's highly possible that BMW are using various sizes of turbos, but that twin-scroll is why they can spin up at such low RPMs.
 

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I am with you Don draper I d don't think it'll be long before some one brings out a big upgrade. If you look at what the after market tuners do to the Nissan gtr the 1.5 mini has massive potential. Just need the right people on it. Ecu exhaust breathing bigger injectors boost pressured all doable if the right people l e get involved .
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Great replies!... It'd be great if we can keep the ball rolling and inform each other of findings about this.

Ismith42 & Jeremybingham: Great to see others share the excitement. I feel it's likely the Cooper's engine has been quite heavily limited just by the ECU in order to make it a bit more 'tame' and appeal to a wider range of drivers that fall in different demographics. After all its the mid-range choice, arguably the most popular and they can't make it too powerful and have to be reasonably conservative... which i think definitely reflected in it's gear ranges. Having said that, its quite impressive if you surpass 3000rpm and in the low revs its very pleasant.

Maximuz: Thanks for pointing us out to that, looks quite ok. Perhaps once its out of its Beta state it's the kind of upgrade I'd consider. I'm based in Spain, so it's tough to do any 'visible' tuning upgrades in order to pass the government tests. An ECU chip that you can plug and unplug is the most feasible solution for me, which means gains will also be marginal, but the numbers that these guys get already are not bad at all and I somehow feel its just a fraction of what could be done. In any case there are ways to legalise certain 'physical' upgrades so I'm interested in checking out all options.

Angib: Interesting data, and I agree the flat lines seem to suggest an ECU limit. If the ECU tuners are good and put some time into it, it shouldn't provide too much of an unpleasant ride, but i definitely see your point. It could actually make it a bit more diesel-like than it already is (as i do find some similarities to a diesel as it is) As far as I'm aware our engine is also a twin-scroll, However this doesn't mean it's be same component as that found in the i8's. We'll have to see what they come up with.
 

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I wasn't aware that the F56 turbos were twin-scroll, but I still wonder if they are as high-tech as the ones used in BMWs.

This American vendor is offering F56 tuning kits form $379 (about £230) and it's interesting that they say the boost increases are:
- from 8psi to 11psi on the B48 (4 cylinder, ie 2.0 Cooper S);
- from 17psi to 20psi on the B38 (3 cylinder, ie 1.5 Cooper).

Which suggests that the Cooper is 'working harder' than the Cooper S - which is surprising considering the S has a higher specific output of 94.5hp/litre compared to the Cooper's 89.3hp/litre.
 

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I wasn't aware that the F56 turbos were twin-scroll, but I still wonder if they are as high-tech as the ones used in BMWs.

This American vendor is offering F56 tuning kits form $379 (about £230) and it's interesting that they say the boost increases are:
- from 8psi to 11psi on the B48 (4 cylinder, ie 2.0 Cooper S);
- from 17psi to 20psi on the B38 (3 cylinder, ie 1.5 Cooper).

Which suggests that the Cooper is 'working harder' than the Cooper S - which is surprising considering the S has a higher specific output of 94.5hp/litre compared to the Cooper's 89.3hp/litre.
Pretty sure that's an error, but it would be good to double check.
 

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I was under the impression that this is a bmw engine full stop. And will be used in future bms therefore not a poorer relation. Lots of potential due mostly to the ecu being tuned to give good co2 figures rather than performance, hence there must be loads of potential. Very exciting. The problem could be will the clutch and gearbox cope? We need the experts.
 

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Twin scroll turbocharging was always a feature starting with the first R56 Cooper S 1.6 models.


There's clearly a lot of potential with the 1.5 litre, so much more than with the first or second generation Cooper models.


I suspect that it won't be difficult to improve the power and torque levels of the 1.5 litre to get close to, match or even exceed that of the stock Cooper S. However with the same level of investment in the Cooper S 2.0 then it probably won't be difficult to get to 275hp or so either.


The Cooper's front end is lighter, which makes for greater handling balance, however by the same token a lighter front end also means there's less weight over the front wheels, which is what you want for grip. Even with the heavier 2.0 the Cooper S easily spins its wheels in first and second in a straight line in the dry.....


I'd tune the 1.5 to have a greater emphasis on high end power rather than low down torque. Now that would be fun!
 

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Until I bought my mini I didn't even know what a turbocharger was, so I'm nowhere near an expert...

but from what I've read you can only have twin scroll turbos with an even number of cylinders. So I think the cooper S has it and the cooper doesn't. And I have no idea how it compares to the BMWs.

Mini market the engines as "twin power turbo" and I think this adds to the confusion...
 

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I think you're wrong 're twin scroll only for even numbers.twin scroll just me a.s how the vanes work in it. Will check tho.
 

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Seems the B38 engine uses Single Scroll turbo, based on this http://www.bimmertoday.de/2012/09/18/bmw-dreizylinder-motoren-2013-technik-details-benziner-diesel-lopez-interview/

From article (translated with google translate):
BimmerToday.de: The mono scroll handlers will therefore not lead to a poorer response?
Dr. Lopez: No, not at all. From charge exchange wise, it is so that a twin-scroll when three-cylinder would not provide any benefits. The new engine is at least as good as the four-cylinder with twin-scroll supercharger in this regard.
:nerd:
 

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The I 8 has 230 petrol 3 cylinder PLUS ELECTRIC motors hence it's a flying machine!
 

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