New exhaust and short shift kit! Woohoo!
Mr. Kimmelshue and I installed my new B&M Short Shifter and MyMINIparts.com Sports exhaust yesterday, and what a difference they make. The shifter dramatically shortens the throw, drops the shift ball a couple of inches, and gets rid of all the mushy feelings of the stock shifter. Shifts are definite, secure, and there is no real difference in weight, even though I'm pulling from closer to the fulcrum.
The exhaust is a much less restrictive system with no resonator, so it's a bit noisy. Very deep, throaty growl with a sublime purr at idle. There's a slight power-drop at low RPM's, but the car takes off like a rocket over 4K RPM. The difference between stock and this system is night & day. My only complaint is a bit of a drone at speed, and I'm going to try and take care of that with a product called Peel & Seal, a roofing material that's said to approximate DynaMat in performance, but at about 1/6 the price.
The absolute best part about the exhaust is that, if you didn't know it, you couldn't easily tell it's aftermarket just by looking at it. And it's quiet enough at idle that I just might surprise someone at a stoplight one day. I need to get out with some denatured alcohol and remove the "MyMini" sticker, but then it will be quite the subtle system, very much in keeping with my desire to keep the car looking stock.