Ben Custard profile picture Ben Custard 2 months ago 1
Tuning

This R56 MINI Cooper S Is Hiding A 414bhp M3 V8 And Subaru Subframes

The cosmetic upgrades may be relatively subtle, but this MINI boasts some big and exciting mechanical changes

Remind me later
Mini - This R56 MINI Cooper S Is Hiding A 414bhp M3 V8 And Subaru Subframes - Tuning

Go to any car meet in the country and it’s pretty likely you’ll spot one or more modified Minis. They’re a popular budget tuner car as parts are plentiful and cheap, while even the R53 Cooper S isn’t drastically expensive to insure. From the outside, at least, this looks like any other Mini you’d find revving in a McDonald’s car park, but peer a little closer and it gets more interesting.

The first clue is the badge, which says ‘Vini’ instead of Mini. V for V8, you see. Squeezed under the shapely clamshell bonnet is a 4.0-litre V8, namely BMW’s S65 engine that was used in the brawny E92 M3. It puts out 414bhp, and has now been put in a (road-legal!) car that weighs just 1300kg. No performance stats are given - take a guess in the comments below - but the car is just about to go through track testing and the final tweaks to its setup.

Mini - This R56 MINI Cooper S Is Hiding A 414bhp M3 V8 And Subaru Subframes - Tuning

Having the Mini brand under its wing meant BMW could engineer its own front-wheel-drive cars, like the latest 1-series. But here the relationship has gone the other way, as this Mini is rear-drive.

It’s a thorough re-working for sure, and the new engine and transmission meant some heads needed to be scratched. The Mini wasn’t built to cope with such a large engine, so the floor plan and bulkhead were both strengthened. It sits on Subaru Impreza STI subframes and has bespoke MacPherson struts, plus a set of race-spec Toyo Proxes R888R tyres.

Mini - This R56 MINI Cooper S Is Hiding A 414bhp M3 V8 And Subaru Subframes - Tuning

The project has been initiated by British suspension firm Powerflex, and the build was completed with the help of a few different modifying companies. In fact, the list of brands is like a who’s who of the UK car mods scene: Litchfield, Forge, Racelogic and ED Motorsport, plus others, were all involved.

Inside, the classic R56 big central speedometer has been replaced for a racing unit with lots of buttons and controls. The steering wheel and dial cluster have been swapped out for track-spec versions, too. Not a lot is shared with the standard car, as Powerflex has thrown most of it in the bin. There’s also a roll cage, plenty of carbon fibre and Cobra seats with five-way racing harnesses.

Mini - This R56 MINI Cooper S Is Hiding A 414bhp M3 V8 And Subaru Subframes - Tuning

Head down to the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend (8-11 July) and you’ll see the Powerflex Vini V8 Mini in all its nerdish glory.

Do you like it? Tell us what you think of this V8 Mini.