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2011 MINI Countryman Cooper S - Proven

Anthony Gelinas
Mar 1, 2012
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Epcp 1204 01 o+countryman cooper s+front Photo 1/8   |   2011 MINI Countryman Cooper S - Proven

Over the years I have found the quickest and most effective way to squeeze power out of any turbocharged engine is to simply reprogram the ECU. So when John, a colleague from our IT department, was looking to juice up his 2011 MINI Countryman Cooper S, equipped with the 181-hp 1.6L (N18) turbocharged engine, we jumped at the opportunity and had the perfect company in mind. Though NM Engineering is fairly new to the MINI tuning world, they are dominant in the Audi and VW tuning scene. The engineers behind their products have been developing and perfecting engine software for the last 22 years and tuning engines and suspensions for 37 plus. This vast knowledge was extremely important, especially since MINI has begun using the latest Bosch MEVD 17.2.2 software to control its turbocharged engines. I told John I would take his MINI to get it chipped, in exchange for an honest review—good or bad—and lunch.

Vehicle Data

Engine: 1.6-liter I4, dohc, 16-valve, turbocharged
ECU type: MEVD 17.2.2 with Tricore TC1797
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Drivetrain: front-wheel drive
Mileage: 8,923

Dyno Data
Dyno type: Clayton Mustang
Transmission test gear: Third
Dyno set weight: 3,300 pounds
Fuel grade: 91 octane

Performance
Temperature: 78° F
Humidity: 22%
Peak power: 172 hp @ 5844 rpm
Peak torque: 174 lb-ft @ 1995 rpm

Test Notes

All horsepower and torque numbers are quoted at the wheels. It is also important to keep in mind that the Mustang dyno, when properly calibrated, produces more accurate real-world horsepower and torque numbers. While these numbers might seem low when compared to a Dynojet, roughly 10 percent—sometimes even greater if the dyno is miscalibrated—what is important is the differences between each dyno run. These differences are what we use to verify the validity of the manufacturer’s horsepower and torque claims.

ECU Flash NM Engineering

Epcp 1204 02 o+countryman cooper s+ecu flashing Photo 2/8   |   2011 MINI Countryman Cooper S - Proven

Test 1

Performance
Peak power: 202 hp @ 6363 rpm
Peak torque: 210 lb-ft @ 2845 rpm
Max power gain: 32 hp @ 6315 rpm
Max torque gain: 42 lb-ft @ 2511 rpm
Temperature: 81°F
Humidity: 24%

Epcp 1204 03 o+countryman cooper s+dyno graph Photo 3/8   |   2011 MINI Countryman Cooper S - Proven

Install process: Bench flash
Installation time: 45 minutes
MSRP: $500

Pros

  • Completely reversible, “zero” physical modifications
  • Retains all of the factory safety protocols and encryptions
  • Free lifetime upgrades and free re-flash back to stock programming
  • 100% compatible with all diagnostic software
  • Fuel, timing and electronic throttle setting have been optimized to take full advantage of the increase in boost pressure
  • Sport Button retains all of the factory functionally
  • Compatible with OEM BMW/MINI service equipment including OEM software updates and recalibrations
  • OEM flash capability retained preventing the ECU from turning into an expensive paperweight

Cons

  • None

Epcp 1204 04 o+countryman cooper s+boost pressure Photo 4/8   |   The boost graph represents the difference in boost levels between the factory and NM software. Boost and rpm data used in the graph was extracted from the ECU with Bavarian Technic USB OBD-II cable and software. The boost data was converted from kPa to psi using the conversion formula.
Epcp 1204 05 o+countryman cooper s+engine Photo 5/8   |   2011 MINI Countryman Cooper S - Proven

Conclusion

Epcp 1204 06 o+countryman cooper s+side Photo 6/8   |   2011 MINI Countryman Cooper S - Proven

A few days after I returned the new and improved MINI Countryman to John, I still had yet to hear from him. Since there were no bags of flaming dog excrement on my desk and my computer hadn’t mysteriously crashed, I had assumed all was well. So when I arrived at the office late one morning, I had this uneasy feeling like everyone was looking at me and snickering. Walking cautiously up to my desk, I found a partially decimated pile of my favorite 85°C sweet treats. Perplexed, I sorted through the half eaten cakes and crumbled taro bread and found the card that had “Incredible” written one side and John’s signature on the other. Apart from being annoyed at my fellow workmates, I was perplexed as I wanted more details than this.

Epcp 1204 07 o+countryman cooper s+tire tread Photo 7/8   |   2011 MINI Countryman Cooper S - Proven

As I sat at my desk and enjoyed what was left of my thank you basket, I opened my email to find a message from John. From the length of the message I at once understood the need for a one-worded card and that he probably had one too many salted coffees from 85°. Though I cannot include the length of his email as it would consume the entire ec magazine, I wanted to include some parts, as it echoed my thoughts as I drove his car to and from NM Engineering.

“Dude, this is the way the car should come from the factory. I always loved my MINI stock and my biggest concern was having a mod that I had to compromise for—like more power but it shifted strange or some other weirdness. But now it’s my car but 10 times better, with gobs of power and a more responsive throttle. In First gear as soon as you put your foot down power is instant and continues through the gears. The increased torque did take some getting used to especially when coming out of corner. Throttle response is really smooth not at all jerky, and oh yeah, the factory exhaust even has a little more growl.”

Epcp 1204 08 o+countryman cooper s+alloy wheel Photo 8/8   |   2011 MINI Countryman Cooper S - Proven

After taking some Advil to eliminate my eyestrain, John’s one-word impression made sense as it is quite incredible to purchase a product and be 100 percent satisfied with the outcome. Because, let’s face it, in the tuning world most of the time we must compromise whether we realize it or not. Ride performance for comfort, more power at the cost of gas mileage, etc. With NM Engineering’s new software upgrade for the MINI Countryman, you get a quality product at extremely reasonable price, no compromise needed.

Max power gain: 32 hp @ 6315 rpm
Max torque gain: 42 lb-ft @ 2511 rpm

Costs Summary
NM Engineering Flash: $500

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Sources

NM Engineering
Camarillo, CA 93102
805-388-7171
http://www.nm-eng.com
Bavarian Autosport
Portsmouth, NH 03801
800-535-2002
http://www.bavauto.com
By Anthony Gelinas
50 Articles

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