Does a new exhaust really increase engine power?
There's many ways to add a little extra grunt to your car. The most common (and most effective) method is to remap the engine control unit (ECU) - this allows for serious increases in both horsepower and torque, but often costs a few hundred quid and usually voids your car's warranty.
Other common options include adding an induction kit or a new air filter, or simply by using performance fuels, but what about a new sports exhaust system? Not only do you get a beefier and sportier tone, you'll also see a small increase in power (apparently).
In order to test this, I opted for the Cobra Sport TP86-BLK non resonated cat-back exhaust system specifically designed for the F56 Mini Hatch Cooper S. Cobra Sport are a specialist exhaust system manufacturer based in Sheffield, UK that offer class-leading TIG welded, custom exhaust systems for a wide variety of both everyday and performance cars.
Not only did the new pipes sound great, I was certain a few extra ponies were present
A new, louder exhaust system can give off a placebo-effect of extra power. This could be down to the fact the owner is experiencing a different drive due to the increase in sound, but I was adamant that the engine seemed a tad more powerful. I just had to find out.
Yes it really was that loud
The guys at AmD Tuning in Essex kindly allowed me use of their rolling road. Now we must remember that most cars using the BMW 2.0-L Turbo 'B48' engine often run slightly overpowered anyway. For example, this one was producing 206 horsepower with 296Nm of torque as standard, where Mini state 192 hp and 280Nm. So I wasn't expecting a great deal more power with the addition of the new exhaust system, but the nerd in me had to know.
Not bad results for a standard car with an aftermarket exhaust
Horsepower saw a slight increase - bringing it close to 215hp (over 8 horses and almost 23 more than Mini's stated output. Engine torque saw the biggest gain with an incredible 325Nm achieved thanks to the new exhaust's improved airflow. This chunky figure is 29Nm of torque up from what the car was already producing and a whopping 45 from Mini's stated number.
On the rolling road at AmD Tuning Essex
In conclusion, a new sports exhaust system not only gives off a better tone, there's also a very good chance of increased engine grunt. A new system promises a slight horsepower increase, but more importantly, more pulling power (torque).
Plus, if you do decide to remap the ECU one day, the exhaust promises even more gains thanks to its improved airflow, giving the car more space to breathe.
On the flip-side, if you're not bothered about adding a new exhaust system, an ECU remap is usually the cheaper option and will generally add a larger amount of power to your car - just make sure that it's set up properly to handle it.