That famous “go-kart” feel to the MINI makes it seem like it’s going faster than it really is. But this MINI practically breaks the sound barrier!
How could you possibly get a MINI to do 0-60mph in under four seconds? The quarter mile in under twelve? (No, they didn’t drop it from an airplane!) OK, here’a hint: Base Vehicle price for a 2007 MINI Cooper S: $27,400. Price as Tested: $175,000 (est.)
That’s the bump-up charge for “enhancing” the stock engine with an additional Rolls Royce Allison C18 Jet Turbine engine. Our friends over at MC2 magazine tell us that Marine Turbine Technologies in Franklin, Louisiana is a company that actually specializes in adding jet turbines to cars and motorbikes. They simply stuck the additional engine – the same model that powers Bell Jet Ranger helicopters - between the front bucket seats and the rear hatch.
OK, it wasn’t quite that simple. They had to make a few modifications, of course. They built a 2x3-inch steel sub-frame, added a C-5 Corvette rear axle assembly and an inch-thick sound insulated partition between the driver and the turbine. The coolest addition, though, has to be the pair of turbine exhausts that poke noticeably through the roof. They’re even more noticeable when they start belching fire in rev mode like, say, at a stop light when you’re sitting next to a Porsche in the next lane.
Inside, the turbine’s throttle is controlled by a little hand control that looks kind of like something you’d squeeze to get Windex out of the bottle. It’s small, but a bit frightening, made all the more so when you see it lock into position. It also features a couple of digital readouts to keep the driver posted on the turbine’s performance – a redundant feature, when you think about it – and a couple of additional toggle switches; one to turn on the computerized system that monitors the turbine and one to power the turbine itself.
The downside of all this fun is that, while the stock engine runs at about 24-26 mpg, the turbine drank its diesel at the rate of about 0.5 mpg.
So it might be considered a little bit of an eccentricity, but consider this: business is booming in Franklin, Louisiana.
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