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Stephan McKeown's 2006 R53 Cooper S

by Jeffrey Zurschmeide



This car received extensive modification from the shop that later became Dinan BMW. Stephan McKeown wanted great track performance in a car that was also a pleasure to drive on the street. (Photo courtesy Jim Williams)

“I wanted both a street and track car, with an emphasis on handling and stopping over raw power,” says Stephan McKeown. McKeown bought a stock 2006 Cooper S, and to prep his MINI for both track days and street performance, he had all work planned and performed by Al Megenity at A&E Performance. Megenity sold A&E to his former employee, Steve Dinan, in 2008. Dinan has produced many performance parts for the MINI under his own name before and since.

“After listening to me ramble on about what I was looking for in a MINI, Al offered me a drive in a Cooper S prepared at A&E Performance, his shop in Campbell, California. Al’s been tuning and racing BMWs and MINIs from day one,” McKeown says. McKeown’s Cooper S came from the factory in pepper white, with a 6-speed manual transmission, Sport Package, Cold Weather Package, and elements of the Premium Package without the heavy sunroof option. Then Megenity went to work, primarily focusing on the suspension, but also addressing every aspect of a performance car. 

“Everything works together seamlessly, creating a whole definitely greater than the sum of its parts. Al thinks in entire systems: suspension, brakes, wheels, and tires are all interrelated. By selecting and tweaking high-quality, compatible components, he puts together a great-handling MINI,” McKeown says. 



You can see how McKeown’s car corners flat with the outside wheel straight up and down. That’s good suspension geometry. The car doesn’t even look like it’s working! (Photo courtesy Jim Williams)

Here are just the highlights of Stephan’s extensive aftermarket mod list. In this configuration, McKeown’s Cooper S generates dyno pulls at 224 hp and 180 ft-lbs of torque at the wheels: 

  • Strassentech front chin spoiler
  • Rennline stainless-steel folding tow hooks 
  • JCW black carbon-fiber rear wing
  • Alta 2-inch stubby antenna
  • Texas Speedwerks aluminum jack points
      • JCW leather dash with black/red stitching
      • Greddy Version II 52-mm oil pressure and water temperature gauges
      • Craven Speed flexpod
      • B & M short shifter
      • Whalen shift knob
      • Schroth red harnesses
      • Minspeed black leather autocross kneepad
      • 30-percent-tint side and rear windows
      • Second Skin sound damping
        Wheels and Tires
        • Street: 17x7.5 SSR GT2 semi-solid forged at 14.6 pounds per wheel, with 3-mm spacers and Michelin PS2 235/40ZR-17 tires
        • Track: 17x7.5 SSR Comp R semi-solid forged at 13.2 pounds per wheel, with Dinan wheel nuts and Toyo RA1S 235/40ZR-17 tires
          • Stoptech 328-mm slotted front rotors with red anodized four-piston calipers
          • Pagid racing pads in front
          • Porterfield racing pads in the rear
          • ATE racing blue brake fluid
          • Stoptech braided stainless-steel lines
            Suspension and Handling
            • Bilstein PSS9 corner-weighted coil-over  suspension system
            • Camber: front -1.7 degrees; rear -2.7 degrees 
            • H-Sport 27-mm front and 19-mm rear anti-roll bars
            • Texas Speedwerks adjustable sway-bar droplinks
            • SPC camber plates 
            • Powerflex front control arm bushings
            • MINI Mania precision steering amplifiers
            • SPC billet aluminum lower rear control arms
            • Moss upper rear control arms
            • Powerflex rear trailing arm bushings
            • M7 underbody strut system
            • Dinan aluminum and carbon fiber strut tower brace
              Engine Performance
              • GRS intercooler
              • Dinan high-flow cowl induction intake and  high-flow air filter
              • Dinan 15-percent supercharger pulley and belt
              • Dinan 59.75-mm high-flow throttle body
              • Dinan fuel pressure regulator and fuel tank pressure regulator assembly
              • Dinan Stage 5 software
              • Revolution MINI head: stainless nitrided valves, titanium retainers, custom locks, keepers, and dual valve springs
              • Revolution MINI header and center pipe, coated with jet-hot 2000 black
              • Borla sport exhaust
              • GTT resistance fit steel/hard anodized lightened crank pulley (stock size)
              • GTT twin-bearing idler pulley and tensioner pulley 
              • Minspeed tensioner pulley stop bar
              • MSD coil pack
              • MSD 8.5-mm red plug wires
              • NGK Iridium spark plugs (IK-22)
              • Quaife ATB differential• Clutchmaster FX300 Clutch
              • Texas Speedwerks Version 2 improved engine damper
              • M7 air plate diverter

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