Until now, there have have not been many options for upgraded turbos. The newest and best option for a turbo upgrade is the new ALTA Billet 56 MCS Turbo. This has the benefits of the stock turbo in that it bolts on with no additional parts or modifications to parts. It makes more HP than the JCW turbo (roughly 15% more), the responsiveness is very similar to the JCW turbo, while costing only slightly more. The question is "Is the added cost worth the difference? The ALTA Billet 56 MCS turbo will flow about 30 more HP than the JCW turbo and with almost the same response. Meaning it will not have the typical trade off of response for power.
To give you an idea how these all stack up:
Turbo Air Flow lbs-min Est. Engine HP Wheel HP seen
Stock MCS Turbo 21 lbs-min 210 HP 210WHP
Stock JCW Turbo 25 lbs-min 250HP 240WHP
ALTA Billet 56 Turbo 28 lbs-min 280HP ???
Garrett GT2560R Turbo 30 lbs-min 300HP 280WHP
Remember bigger is not always better. When we tested out GT2560 kit the one thing that was missing is the super responsiveness of the OEM turbo. That is something we felt customers would not like even if it meant more HP. When testing and tuning the ALTA Billet 56 MCS Turbo this was one of the most important features it needed to have. We knew that it had the potential to make plenty of power, but if that meant the turbo wouldn't reach full boost until 3000-4000 RPM(Tuned MCS reach full boost by 2200), then we felt this would NOT be a good trade off.
Above is a picture showing the boost response of our old GT2560R kit. What you can't see here is the off boost TQ and power is gone until 3000.
Well as you can see from the pics below, turbo response is not an issue at all!
Test Case #1 our 2010 MCS Manual
This car started life as a Stage 3 setup (3" Turboback Exhaust, Larger Intercooler and ALTA AccessPORT), and now in its Stage 4 form, we started to really pushing! Going into this we knew that limits of the MCS MAP sensors could be an issue, and it was. Even with us being limited to 20psi, its still a huge improvement! This is JCW power but with more power up top!
Below is a comparison of a local customers JCW we tuned a while back and the ALTA Billet 56 Turbo. For all intensive purposes, its the same until 5500 where the larger turbo starts to make some big power!
Look for future results with new MAP sensors on the MCS and then results on the JCW!
I know there are guys going, "why did this take so long for these kind of results to come out?" That is easy engine management! New Mini owners are never going to know the difference as they will have all these new choices to make. Old Minis owners have been sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for something new to do to their car! With the release of the ALTA AccessPORT and its ability to tune Minis, and the growing group of tuners throughout the USA, custom dyno tunes, big turbos, and methanol injection systems finally being installed, Mini owners will no longer feel like they are held back.
Turbo Stats and comparisons:
Compressor Wheel comparison
-ALTA Billet 56 Wheel 56mm exducer with 59.32mm extended tips.
43.3mm Inducer size. Rated at 28lbs/min
-K03 compressor wheel from MCS 50mm exducer with 53.77mm extended tips
37.8mm inducer size Rated at 20-21lbs/min
K04-S4 compressor wheel 50mm exducer
39.77 inducer Rated at 23lb-min
Inducer is the smaller leading edge of the compressor wheel and exducer is the larger side of the compressor wheel.
Here is a picture showing the MCS compressor wheel next to the ALTA Billet 56 wheel.
Turbine Wheel Comparison
-ALTA Billet 56 Turbine wheel 50mm major exducer , 42mm exducer.
-JCW Turbine Wheel 45mm major exducer, 40.5mm Exducer
-MCS Turbine Wheel 45mm major exducer, 40.5mm Exducer
Here is a shot of the ALTA turbine wheel machined into the exhaust housing.
Compressor Map Comparisons
There is a lot to understand about a compessor map, but in simple terms it shows how efficient the compressor is at different air flows. You can see how in the middle of the map the turbo is most efficient which means it pumping out cooler air. For those who know what you are looking at below are the compressor maps that represent the turbos above.
At 65% eff, this map represents the ALTA Billet 56 compressor. This is roughly 27.8 lb-min at .21kg/sec, call it 280 engine HP
At 64% eff, this is the JCW compressor map. This is roughly 24.7 or .187kg/sec, call it 250 engine HP.
At 65%eff this is the stock MCS turbo compressor map. This roughly flows 21.1lbs/min or .16kg/sec, call it 210 engine HP
With this kind of data you can clearly see that the ALTA Billet 56 MCS turbo is a great choice for any MCS customer looking for more power. That and the fact its a rather simple install anyone with normal tools and a little mechanical know how can do this install. Look for more info very soon on pricing and availability.
Below is a 2010 MCS that started life as a Stage 3 setup (ALTA turboback, FMIC, intake and boost tube) indicated by the blue line, and then got an ALTA Billet 56 turbo installed, indicated by the green line. You can see that there is very little change to turbo lag with this larger turbo and with a boost limit of roughly 19psi, this turbo makes huge gains in HP over the stock turbo.
The ALTA Billet 56 makes 30-40more Wheel HP, and 20-40 ft-lbs of torque more with almost no change to turbo response!
Below is a comparison between the same Stage 4 2010 MCS and a totally stock 2010 MCS. For just over $5000, you can turn you MCS into a 250WHP monster! The best part about the Stage 4 package is that there is no loss in turbo response anywhere in the RPM band!
The Stage 4 MCS w/ALTA Billet 56 makes 40-80 more Wheel HP, and 80-60 ft-lbs of torque more with no change to turbo response!
Below is a 2009 JCW that started life as a Stage 3 setup (ALTA turboback, FMIC and boost tube) indicated by the green line, and then got an ALTA Billet 56 turbo installed, indicated by the red line. You can see that there is very little change to turbo lag with this larger turbo and with 20-40 more Wheel HP, and 20-30 ft-lbs of torque, who wouldn't want that!
Below is a comparison between the same Stage 4 2009 JCW and a totally stock 2009 JCW. For just over $5000, you can add 50-60 Wheel HP and 100ft-lbs of torque to your JCW.