Now my Project R53 is up and running I was looking at suspension upgrades. My old Golf had the Koni yellow shocks and koni springs and that rode beautifully. I was tempted to go for the same setup on the mini but i keep hearing good things about the AP coilovers on this car. I dont mind a slightly stiff ride but the way the car is now feels a tad underdampened when you hit the ripples and small potholes. I want the car to feel a bit more together than it currently does so may invest in a set of these rather than koni shocks now.
I've had VAG cars in the past as well. From what I can judge, different coilover brands suit different marques of car. So suspension that works brilliantly on one marque don't suit, and aren't popular with, drivers of others. I'm not sure why. Thinking maybe weight of the car, suspension travel, chassis engineering and geometry are the things the cause this?
Generally it doesn't seem that many MINI users fit the 'spring and damper' combos, like KONO yellow + the springs. I know they are very popular within the VAG community and work well. But I'd definitely not go there on an R53.
My R53 on standard SS+, given about 100k miles old, was horribly bouncy and under damped. Made your eyeballs joggle.
The upsides of APs seem to be:
German engineered and manufactured by KW Automotive, the 'economy' offering within their range, so quality.
They are very reasonably priced - Europerformance about £430 a set - probably about the least expensive that actually work properly.
They handle the ripples and small potholes really well. The springs are progressive, rather than linear, which is why they manage that. Composed but comfortable. But that is why they are not the choice for the out and out tracking enthusiasts, not firm/stiff enough.
Having said that, I had my first opportunity to drive them hard on a track on Sat 2nd June on the Top Gear track at 'Minis at Dunsfold'. I wasn't expecting much TBH, but I was actually shocked how well they performed when really going for it.
Maybe worth adding, I've done a few of the recommended other mods that greatly improve handling - polybush front control arm rears, bigger rear Anti Roll Bar, light after market wheels, decent non run-flat tyres, R56 S front brake set up.