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There is a quantifiable difference as well as some subtle differences that really separate the two models. They are actually quite different beasts. I much prefer the style of the R56, but I am wowed and almost stunned by the performance of the F56. The F series is a grown up R series. If you love the nimbleness of a bobcat the R is probably a better choice, but if you like the speed and performance of the cheetah the F is a better choice. Both are wonderful and fun, but having had an R56 JCW and now the F56 JCW I am moving on to what is generally considered to be a quantum leap in ride and performance, but a loss of quirky personality and uniqueness. Dependent upon what extras the car has the F is generally considered as a wonderful hot hatch. If you can drive both to compare you will most likely notice the vast differences. Personally, I prefer the look of the R over the F, but the F is a stellar performer.
 

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Nicely summed up Kydan; i love the analogy with the bobcat/cheetah! Perfect. I like the f looks BUT it can look a little awkward from some angles and in some guises! Just my opinion but the r looks lovely from anywhere! Mm f might be a bit smarter underneath-it's beautifully covered! Love mine!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for everyone's advice. I think I didn't make myself clear.
I love the appearance of R, it's really classic and fun.
As to the performance, I'm considering how to improve it.
What can I do to improve the performance under the hood?
I've thought about change the intake system or ECU remap. What's your opinion?
 

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A lot of people would be surprised at how upgrading all the squishy bits on their car really makes a noticeable performance difference, as well as increasing the fun factor. Look at upgrading things such as your sway bar (and end links or the stock ones will snap), transmission mounts, engine mounts, control arms, shocks, springs, and anything else that will cause undesired component movement on your driving.

Trust me, it will be a vast improvement and best bang for your buck. Going fast in a straight line is fun until you need to take a turn...
 
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Thanks for everyone's advice. I think I didn't make myself clear.
I love the appearance of R, it's really classic and fun.
As to the performance, I'm considering how to improve it.
What can I do to improve the performance under the hood?
I've thought about change the intake system or ECU remap. What's your opinion?
Quickest bang for your buck performance-wise is getting a tuning module. BurgerTuning makes the JB+ for the Cooper S N18 engine. Takes 5 minutes to install and will net you around 20 hp. They run $300 retail, but can easily be found used on some other forums. I had one on my Countryman and it made quite the difference.
http://burgertuning.com/Mini_Cooper_S_N18_JB_performance_tuner.html

A full ECU retune is also a good option, albeit a more expensive one.

Intakes will not net you much HP gain if any, though you get a little more on the N18 engine than you do on the new F56 and the R56 has MANY intake options to choose from: http://www.outmotoring.com/mini-cooper-accessories/1-induction/

Rear sway bars are also an easy upgrade that significantly improve your MINI's handling. Again, the R56 has been around long enough to have many options to choose from.

I'll echo what other people have said and say that you will probably have better luck on other forums where more R56 owners reside since this one is focused on the F56 and 3rd gen MINIs specifically which are much different than the R56.
 
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