With 252 hp and a 290 lb-ft of torque, the M7 Cooper is pretty lively. But more than that, the improved air and exhaust flows make the engine feel even keener, giving it an edge the stock engine hints at but cannot deliver. Coupled with the speed of the paddle shift system, this car goes down the road at a rate that confounds the drivers of big American V8s, who cannot believe how fast this little car can motor.

Agility has always been a Mini asset, but the chassis of M7's R56 takes this to a whole new level with fully adjustable coilovers, the Under Strut System, front and rear strut braces, 25mm rear anti-roll bar, and rear H-Sport camber links. The ride is firm on 17-inch Yokohama Advan alloy wheels wrapped in 235/40 Yoko rubber, but still has impressive resilience.

The car simply turns into corners as if they were mere kinks in the road, the one proviso being that this level of power means grappling with torque steer on the way out. When it comes to stopping, the D2 vented and grooved discs with eight-piston calipers sitting behind the front wheels provide complete reassurance.

Speeds reached by a delimited Cooper S in this trim means aerodynamics come into play. The carbon front splitter and rear roof wing are totally functional and provide significant extra stability at speed. The rear diffuser looks similar to the one on the factory racecar, but is totally different and starts further forward, extends slightly further back and has an additional horizontal foil under the exhaust pipes.

The car's appearance falls into the subjective category. Not everyone wants such an extroverted look. But regarding all the mechanical changes, nothing is there just for show. In a market full of go-faster parts that don't always do what they claim, M7's tuning program comes like a breath of fresh air.

M7 Mini Cooper S
Transverse front engine, front-wheel drive

Engine 1.7-liter I4, dohc, 16-valve, turbocharged and intercooled. M7 Super AGS cold-air intake, M7 intercooler, modified turbocharger, Alta sport exhaust, Unichip software

Transmission Six-speed manual, M7 sequential shift kit with "Bump Lever" and paddle-shift gear selectors

Suspension M7 adjustable coilovers, M7 Under Strut System, front and rear strut tower braces, 25mm rear anti-roll bar, H-Sport rear camber links

Brakes D2 eight-piston calipers, slotted rotors (f)

Wheels and Tires Yokohama Advan alloys, 17-inch Yokohama Advan AE80, 235/40

Exterior Carbon front splitter, roof wing, rear diffuser

Peak Power: 252 hp
Peak Torque: 290 lb-ft

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