This Damos stage 2 tuned Mini Cooper Convertible is all what you need!

This looks like your average Mini Cooper Convertible, until it flies past you with a turbo whistle and a loud exhaust note
After watching The Italian Job, I knew that if I were to ever become a getaway driver after pulling off a heist, a Mini Cooper JCW would definitely be my pick
After watching The Italian Job, I knew that if I were to ever become a getaway driver after pulling off a heist, a Mini Cooper JCW would definitely be my pickShot by Rohit G Mane for evo India

I Don't know what it is, but whenever you spot a Mini on the road, you always have to take a second look. A red Mini? Better. A convertible? Even better. The Mini has been my poster car for a while along with other supercars. The reason? After watching The Italian Job, I knew that if I were to ever become a getaway driver after pulling off a heist, a Mini Cooper JCW would definitely be my pick. This Mini Cooper Convertible is owned by Dwayne, an enthusiast who not only works on his cars, but also runs a performance centre in Pune where he tunes and services supercars and luxury cars. Sometimes, even JCBs and jet skis. The scarcity of Mini Coopers in India is evident because of the price and practicality ratio, but Dwayne clearly thinks the opposite.

He wanted a convertible in his garage and the cheapest one available was the Mini Cooper Convertible. No brainer then, the Mini is a steal deal over pricier drop-tops. However, there was an issue. In India, the JCW is available only in the hardtop and not in the Convertible. Furthermore, only front-wheel-drive variants are available here, while globally they offer an all-wheel-drive option as well for the JCW. But that wasn’t going to stop Dwayne.

Sleeper-build exterior

This Mini in the Chilli Red shade without the iconic bonnet stripes looks subtle and harmless, nothing like the angry JCWs. All hood scoops on Minis are just an aesthetic enhancement without functionality, but this one has been put to use. The hood scoop has been changed from a chrome one to a functional carbonfibre one by Eventuri. This supplies more air into the engine mixture and helps the engine breathe better, which is essential in our environment. Personally, I’m a fan of sleeper cars more than the all-show no-go cars and this one, hits the sweet spot.

Cockpit

Step inside, and you’ll find a cockpit designed with purpose and precision. The Mini Cooper Convertible seamlessly blends technology and tradition to create an interior that is modern but nostalgic. The rocker switches in the interior for the engine start, windows and sport mode make you feel like you’re piloting an airplane. The interior has an optional carbonfibre package, and it gets inserts on the dash. The sport display in the infotainment system works accurately and presents real-time data of the bhp and torque output. But every enthusiast gets a bit bored with the interior after a while, doesn’t he? Dwayne wanted his car to run the latest tech, so the infotainment system’s UI has been coded and upgraded to the 2024 one and the analogue cluster has been replaced by a 5-inch Mini digital cluster. The valvetronic exhaust switch lies inside and is fitted neatly into one of the cup-holders.

The fun part

I never knew you could extract such great power from tuning, until I saw this Mini. In stock form, the Cooper Convertible produces 192bhp and 280Nm of torque mated to a 7-speed DCT that works effortlessly. This Mini runs a stage 2 tune by Damos and makes a whopping 316bhp and 480Nm, now that’s some serious power. I can’t even begin to talk about the amount of torque steer that you go through when you put it into launch control. For those pops and bangs, the exhaust system has been upgraded to a JCW valvetronic system with a Milltek decat pipe. The exhaust is not annoyingly loud and has a bass effect and depth to it, making it almost sound like a V6 engine’s grunt. The engine bay gets a BMC air filter for improved air flow and a massive Eventuri air-intake, paired to the functional hood scoops, which makes the intake almost sound like a supercharger. The engine always deserves the best, right? So, the fuel injectors have been upgraded by Bosch for better fuel spray, stronger acceleration and better average. Moreover, a good engine needs good fuel and this car runs only on the good stuff – 100 octane petrol. 6kmpl at `160 a litre? Fun. The transmission has been remapped slightly to adjust to the newer power inputs. The convertible weighs just 1370kg and has a very good power-to-weight ratio, pushing almost 230bhp to a ton. This translates into the Mini doing 0-100kmph in 4.6 seconds, making it 2.5 seconds quicker than the stock one. And it’s still FWD!

Driving experience

I know Dwayne personally because he has helped me build a few of my cars as well, and the first time I drove this machine was my first time ever, driving a Mini. 316 horses and squealing tyres, unleashed at the tap of an accelerator. Lag is well contained, and revs rise to 1600rpm very quickly, where the turbo kicks in and doesn’t let up until you hit a solid 8500rpm. At first instance, I was afraid to throw it around corners, obviously, as I had never driven a FWD hot-hatch before and was pretty sure that she would lose traction and take me flying into a tree. On the contrary, I was gapping like it was no one’s business. After a few hours of driving around, it was time to bid farewell to the day’s drive and the only thought in my mind was, “When am I getting one?”

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