How to maximize the R53- and R56-chassis Mini Cooper

By Staff Writer
Sep 29, 2022 | Cooper, Mini, Mini cooper, Cooper S, R53, R56 | Posted in Buyer's Guides | From the Aug. 2014 issue | Never miss an article

Photograph Courtesy Mini

Story by Ed Higginbotham

[Editor's Note: This article first appeared in the August 2014 issue of Grassroots Motorsports]

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View comments on the GRM forums
David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
2/22/18 8:08 p.m.

Hey, that little one in the background looks familiar. 

frenchyd GRM+ Memberand Dork
2/24/18 2:26 a.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens : one thing that would really help is if you listed years. I’m sure the insiders who know the code understand that a 53 is from——- to ——- and the 56 was from  —- to —- 

but if you’re an insider then you likely know all this.   


Jerry UberDork
2/24/18 6:44 a.m.

" Many second-generation MINIs are being sold with high-flow downpipes. The problem is that all of them will produce a fault code/check-engine light. The solutions are O2 sensor spacers or a $300 OBD fault code canceller. "

I'm wondering if I can get the same thing for a Fiat 500 Abarth?  I've been looking at catless downpipes but like not having CEL's.

phaze1todd Dork
11/6/18 5:40 a.m.

Zombie post alert!

How about something for the R53/R56 NA "Justa" owners?

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/6/18 6:11 a.m.

In reply to phaze1todd :

While I don't know of many power adders for the R56 "Justa", the R50 can benefit some from a intake, exhaust and ECU re-flash by a company like RMW. It'll never match the factory forced induction cars, but it can still be fun.  There were some early attempts at turbo kits for the R50, but they proved unreliable and in the end less powerful than factory cars. In most street driving situations, an R50 can hang with a R53, but you'll have to keep the engine in the upper end of the rev range.

For anyone who cares: the 02-06 base Coopers were code R50; 02-06 Cooper S (supercharged) is code R53; the 07-13 base Coopers and turbo Cooper S models were the same code R56 (no idea why). All first gen convertibles (base and S) 05-08, are R52. There are a myriad of R56 variants (Convertible, Clubman, Coupe & Roadster) with their own codes, but generally fall under R56 mod-wise. The current production Cooper and Cooper S is F56. The model pull-down at is a good quick-reference.

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