All Dave needs is a willing owner prepared to leave his car at the shop long enough to master the new engine. There is no particular magic, just a bigger air intake, gas-flowed cylinder heads, a remapped ECU and a new manifold. You can even crate up a DB7 engine, send the 20,000 and wait for the power hike.
You don't need to work too hard to liberate horses from a 6-liter and even Aston's chief engineer, Jeremy Main, believes 600 bhp is perfectly possible with this engine. Fear not, as soon as a customer brings his or her car in and asks, BBR will do it.
Monster MINIOnly last month I pondered the sense of fwd cars with 250 bhp and more after a fraught outing in a 328-bhp Alfa, but now I have to order up a slice of humble pie after a drive in BBR's 275-bhp MINI.
The tuner's Stage 4 conversion takes this fashion icon and turns it into a proper sports car. For those of you who don't want to spend 15,000 to take your MINI to quite that level, there are kits for 220-, 240- and 250 bhp. The big kit includes a gas-flowed and ported cylinder head fitted with a new camshaft, an uprated valve spring assembly, a new supercharger, new injectors, an auxiliary water pump, a twin-intercooler, a new exhaust and a wild-looking air inlet in the hood, as well as the requisite engine remap.
The ratios on the six-speed gearbox also come in for some attention and the performance drops to a staggering 5.2 sec. for the 0 to 60 mph and the needle will now head all the way round the dinner plate-sized speedo to 150 mph. The noise is something else, too; a high-pitched whine from the transmission and supercharger that belongs in a sci-fi special effects department.
Clearly the car is not for shrinking violets, but it is usable transportation and a highly entertaining, chuckable car that won't bite unless you truly deserve it.
It invites an attacking style and, thanks to suspension mods and a mighty limited-slip diff, opposite locks on exits. BBR rejigged the front and rear suspension to rid the MINI of its built-in understeer but retained the original springs and dampers for ride quality and cost control.
Of course, 275 bhp is always going to be huge power for a car of this size and configuration, but even with the traction control off on country roads it felt balanced and didn't once threaten to plow straight ahead through a hedge on sharp turns. The back end slides out, but a novice could balance it on the throttle, such is its natural poise. So while I expected an engine more overpowering than an old-woman's perfume, I actually received an education on what is possible with the right engineering.
It flatters any driver, is immense fun, is a genuine daily driver and BBR is already shipping huge numbers of kits to the U.S. If you're thinking of tuning your MINI, this is the place to start.-Nick Hall