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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Reasons for this thread (which I'll update over time):

1. Share aspects of my exhaust shopping/selection journey so *I* remember what I've looked at and the discussions I've had.

2. Help future/current F56 owners with information about exhaust upgrade options/suppliers here in Australia, in particular Sydney.

Context:nerd:
I'm a office-dweling pen-pusher and keyboard jockey. Unfortunately, I'm NOT a mechanic or under-bonnet tinkerer. I don't have a home workshop or any mechanic friends. So, in looking for an exhaust upgrade, I wanted a "supplied and installed" solution path.

I'm not a boy racer. I also have a significant other who thinks the factory exhaust is already "kind of loud" (previous car was a Golf GT Sport TSI). I wanted a warmer exhaust note with enhanced snap-crackle-pop for out of town use but without then drawing unwanted attention to myself on city streets (I live in Sydney CBD). A slight drop in vehicle weight and a modest power gain would be a bonus.

Budget-wise, I wanted to keep myself under AUD3000 (~USD2250 at 2July16) and, being somewhat risk-averse, limit the extent of potentially warranty-voiding work. A local professional installation would also mean having somewhere/someone to go back to if there were any problems. No other performance mods have been made to the car, but a NM Engineering Power Module and a Remus throttle controller are on the cards.

Working out what I was after :confused:
I started searching...and searching. My Google Chrome favourites folder rapidly expanded with a number of mainly US-based marques including:

Armytrix - http://www.armytrix.com
Quicksilver - http://www.quicksilverexhausts.com
Supersprint - http://www.supersprint.com
FI - http://www.fi-exhaust.com
Remus - https://www.remus.eu
Milltek - http://www.millteksport.com
Borla - https://www.borla.com
NM Engineering - http://www.nm-eng.com
Mini - http://mini.com.au

Somewhat inevitably, I kept finding myself either here on the forums reading others' thoughts/experiences with each system or on YouTube listing to/watching what my wife calls "that stupid and annoying Mini exhaust porn".

After a crash-course in exhausts to understand the differences between header-back, turbo-back, cat-back and axle-back (et al) options, I decided that a cat-back or axle-back solution was what I "needed". Discussions with the helpful professionals I spoke with (see below) pointed me towards a bi-modal (probably valvetronic) setup.


Making contact:mad:
The Australian automotive industry is, for the most part, a DISGRACE when it comes to after-sales service. Astoundingly, many/most workshops are almost as bad when it comes to pre-sales customer service. Over a three week period, I made almost 20 phone calls and sent more than 50 emails to importers, authorised resellers and retailers/installers across Australia (mostly installers in Greater Sydney area). Vast majority of emails were never even acknowledged. Most calls were met with an (unmet) call-back promise. At one stage, I was thinking it would be faster/easier to go and get my mechanics trade certificate, or to ship the car to the USA or UK to get the work done!

After weeks of effort on my part (seriously, didn't ANYONE want my money?!), only TWO Australian importers/distributors stood out as being worthy of consideration:

Tuning World (Pierre) - https://www.tuningworld.com.au
Remus Automotive (Ross) - http://remusautomotive.com.au

In terms of workshops, I managed to get contact and engage in discussion with (in order):

Mini Garage Sydney (Andrew) - http://minigaragesydney.com.au/
Ramspeed (Pierre) - https://www.ramspeed.com.au
Rennenhaus* (Ian) - http://rennenhaus.com.au
Autowerks Automative (Dee) - http://autowerksautomotive.com.au
City Performance Centre (Bruno) - http://cityperformancecentre.com

(*)Rennenhaus is actually 180km up the road in Newcastle, but I started getting desperate!

....none of the other *22* workshops/retailers/installers bothered getting back to me. Sigh.


Bracing for wallet impact :|
Prices ranged from around $1650 installed for a basic (non-valvetronic) Milltek catback system to $4950 installed (!!!!) for the JCW Pro Tuning Kit. Yes, I know the later is a lot more than just an exhaust , but it's also > 10% of the full vehicle purchase price. Egads! The somewhat gimmicky Armytrix system was an eye-watering $4,474 installed with no ECU tune etc like the JCW.

Finally I found a pricing-to-feature-to-customerservice option which just felt "RIGHT" for me. Dee from Autowerks quoted $2500 for a Remus valvetronic catback system comprising of Remus dual mid section; Remus axle back components; all brackets; Remus chrome angle-cut tips; installation and testing.

TL;DR version - I live in Australia and wanted an exhaust supplied and installed for my 2015 MCS. Settled on a Remus catback valvetronic system. Australia is expensive and it sucks for customer service.


Current status :)
2Jul16 - Excited! Only thing left to decide now is whether I'll spring the extra $TBC for the Remus carbon angle-cut tips or stick with the chrome. The order will be placed on Monday and, within the next week or so, my Mini will sound like a Mini should.

I'll update this thread periodically and reflect on the installation experience, performance and ownership journey.
 

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Please let me know about your experience with autowerks. I'm also trying to find a good installer in Sydney for the remus system (JCW cat-back model).
 

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Thank you for sharing the ups, downs, ins and outs of the aftermarket on your side of the planet. I'm sure it has to be taxing not be able to do the work yourself and trust that it would be done correctly.
As for "exhaust porn" why yes it is;)

My wife has a shoe problem that she'll never admit to, so that gives me a slight advantage when it comes to tinkering with my MCS. Oh and for the record she needs to buy a new pair of shoes today for an upcoming event, guess the F56 is getting something also:D
 

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Wow I would have thought the aftermarket performance mods would be good in Australia or do they just concentrate on Ford and Holden ?
It is different over here, within months of the F56 release there were a number of upgrades available.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ok here is what I would buy as an 1 2 3 Borla love the sound Remus very good product Quicksilver pretty good Bang for the Buck.
I'm hearin' ya! Unfortunately, I couldn't even get the courtesy of a reply from the Borla and Quicksilver distributors here. If they won't even answer a pre-sales email there's no way I'm going to trust them for after-sales support.

DJ
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Wow I would have thought the aftermarket performance mods would be good in Australia or do they just concentrate on Ford and Holden ?
Pretty close. The passenger performance exhaust market here seems to be split into five groups:

1. Stock replacements (60%)
2. Ford and Holden performance (15%)
3. Custom fabrication (10%)
4. Japanese performance (5%)
5. Everything else and all other brands...including Mini (5%)

Put simply, Mini represents point zero stuff all of the market and we pay for it (service/choice/price). Blerrrrgh!

DJ
 

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Discussion Starter #11
UPDATE: Order placed with Autowerks and credit card smacked-down for a hefty $deposit. Unfortunately, the angled carbon tips added an eye-watering $650 to the cost of the system, so I stuck with the 102mm polished chrome ones. System is scheduled for delivery on 8Jul16 and the workshop will phone me at that point to book in an installation date. Things are starting to get real.
 

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That's about right. I got quoted around 2,200 from Ross but that's here in Melbourne. Add a few hundred to ship to Sydney and you are there. Not really a bad price. They can be purchased for around 1400USD with chrome tip. That's around $1800 AUD add shipping and duty and its close enough. Dealer wanted over 4K for just the exhaust...


Have you been able to find someone to perform the JCW ECU tune.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Have you been able to find someone to perform the JCW ECU tune.
I decided not to go down that path for warranty reasons. Instead, I'll be installing the (easy in - easy out) NM Engineering 'Power Module' and a 'Go Pedal'.

DJ
 

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Be interested to find out how you go with the NM box. Discussion forums indicate that some Piggyback systems can result in the ECU "learning" and adjusting the signals back to the original map rendering the piggyback system ineffective. One would think there would be more negative comments about these piggyback systems if this was the case. It would be interesting to hear if you get a big initial performance increase that drops off over time. This us a great article that explains the various systems (pro and con).
I am new to the forum and can't post links yet but do a search on "Stand alone vs piggyback ECU set ups" and go the enginebasics site. There is a great article on this.

Is there anything that drove you to the NM unit over RaceChip/ESE/Remus Powerizer other than the NM being the least epensive.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Discussion forums indicate that some Piggyback systems can result in the ECU "learning" and adjusting the signals back to the original map rendering the piggyback system ineffective.
I read a number of articles about the (re-)learning capability of the ECU based on sensor readings. My plan is to stick with 98RON fuel and keep the Power Module on the 'low' setting most of the time (only stepping up to 'high' when I manage to escape Sydney CBD). If the ECU does start playing funny-buggers, I'll just reset it. Used to do this once every couple of years with my VW Golf GT Sport (as some say, "It's like car Viagra").

Is there anything that drove you to the NM unit over RaceChip/ESE/Remus Powerizer other than the NM being the least expensive.
Price was a factor but was at position #5 in my criteria:

  • Ease/speed of installation and removal. And no ECU/logging write-back.
  • Trust/reputation (NM Engineering has been around for 20+ years)
  • After-sales support (incl an AU distributor)
  • Performance
  • Value for money
Hope this helps

DJ
 

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Wow I would have thought the aftermarket performance mods would be good in Australia or do they just concentrate on Ford and Holden ?
It is different over here, within months of the F56 release there were a number of upgrades available.
If you are in the ute or 4wd scene, the aftermarket arena is flooded and you can do practically anything with any model.
As for the european cars like the mini, the aftermarket scene is an absolute joke. In fact it is very difficult to even buy basic service parts.

Im still looking at ways for improving the performance of my JCW but the expense of exhausts mods is really putting me off.
Currently the best bang for buck is a piggy back chip.
I might even look at having an exhaust manufactured from scratch and will probably come out about the same price or better than importing a pre fab one in.

Im in Brisvegas and getting help in this area is even harder than Melbourne and Sydney.

Any way, great thread and plase le us now how the new exhaust ges and what the noteable differences are.
Cheers
 

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Thank you, I'm going through the same process at the moment. Good to get feedback from someone that has gone through it recently.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Well, today was the day. Here's the exhaustive (sorry, bad pun) chain of events:

8.00am - Arrive at Autowerks (Enhancement Division). Talk about the job with Sonny who is the owner and lead tech. Hand him the key fob and wander off to get a train to work.

12.30pm - Receive call confirming the system was installed, tested and the car was ready for pickup. Always nice to get a call from a workshop when they DON'T need to deliver bad news about a discovery they made ;-)

4.30pm - Get a quick run-through of the valvetronic remote, pay the balance of the invoice, grab key and run to the car like an excited kid.

6.00pm - The 20min drive somehow took a very indirect route and a full 90mins to complete. I just wanted to keep driving! :)

Some very early thoughts.....

+ve
  • Service (initial enquiry through to pickup) by Autowerks was top-notch. A workshop full of expensive Mercedes, BMWs, HSVs etc but I was treated like a valued customer even though it was only for a MINI exhaust.
  • That sound. O M G ! With the valve closed, regardless of driving mode (green/mid/sport), it could be mistaken for a stock system. But with the valve half-open or fully-open it has the most wicked roar and undeniably LOUD snap-crackle-pop. Sport mode + 100% open + flat to the floor accelerator = terrifying fun ;-)
  • It looks great, and really fills-out the gap in the non-JCW bumper. I didn't get the carbon cut tips - just the polished chrome - and will easily be able to live with them.
  • No dyno run, and perhaps it's all in my head, but the car feels...well....less "restricted" and, dare I say, a wee bit faster. Remus claims this system delivers +7.2HP (+5.37kW) of power and +12.1Nm of torque. Also drops 4.6kg (16.75lb) from the weight of the car. Nothing earth-shattering, but it all helps, I guess.
-ve
  • Remus only provide ONE remote control. Stingy much? Seriously what would a second remote cost them $2? And the remote is clearly an off-the-shelf, yum-cha garage door / alarm system remote they've had screen printed with their logo. [EDIT: The remote controller is a model JJ-RC-I2]. The UI is pretty rubbish and rather illogical: A=Valve closed, C=Valve 25% open, D=Valve 50% open, B=Valve 100% open. Errrr?
  • I'm still bitter that the carbon tips carry a $650 premium.
  • There is some (not a lot, but noticeable if you're specifically listening for it) exhaust drone with the valve at half-open and fully-open.
Anyway, so far so good. A few pix attached (not much to show, really!) and I'll get around to doing the token video clip on the weekend. I did remember to do a quick video of the OLD (stock Cooper S) exhaust so I could compare.

Feel free to keep questions coming.

DJ
 

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Are you sure you driving your Mini?




The underside of the car is way to clean....:laugh::laugh: Thank you for the post that exhaust looks sweet. I guess you are working on the video;);)
 
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