AP Coilovers Fitted to R53 – Initial Thoughts - MINI Cooper Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old Feb 6th, 2018, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
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AP Coilovers Fitted to R53 – Initial Thoughts

Some members have asked for some feedback, so here goes.

AP coilovers (AP Code: GF20-042) now fitted to my 2005 R53 Cooper S. Steve at the S Works in Tonbridge fitted them for me. The front top mounts are new OE. My APs are used with 7,000 miles on them. I paid £280 for them. New they are about £450.

The fronts are at maximum height, so a drop of about 3cms from standard and the backs are down a bit to bring the car level front to back. I'm not into 'stance' and don't want to continually hit the front spoiler. But it is very easy to adjust the height on the car with it jacked up and wheel off.

They replaced my standard OE Sports Suspension Plus that has been on the car from new, so 104,000 miles. The shocks were shot. The ride over the ripples, corrugations, dug up road patching, was terrible. The car bounced at a very high frequency, to the extent that it made it hard to see properly. They were extremely uncomfortable.

For the money they are a big improvement. They iron out all the ripples, corrugations, dug up road patching. No more bouncing. Coilovers tend to have a reputation for being harsh. These aren’t, compliant and really comfortable. And the handling is good.

I’ve had a full alignment on the Hunter at STS Tyre Pros. The alignment needed a fair bit of adjustment. Before and after pics attached. I had it set up with more front toe and more rear negative camber than standard. As you can see the front camber is uneven, not a lot I can do about that. There is no adjustment available on the standard suspension – only possible if you fit camber adjustable top mounts.

Need to do more miles. Overall, very pleased. Recommend if you want much improved comfort and ride. Not out and out track coilovers. In my view they are a better, much cheaper alternative to replacing tired suspension with new OE standard springs and dampers.

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old Feb 6th, 2018, 04:32 PM
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Interesting read.

Would these fit on a standard R50 Mini? I'm not that fussed about ride quality myself but people who ride in my car frequently complain about it. And improved handling is always welcome


2002 Mini Cooper R50, purchased Nov 2016
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old Feb 6th, 2018, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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Yes they fit all Gen 1s.
AP Coilovers

They will improve the handling quite significantly on an R50 as I think you won't have the Sports Suspension Plus (SS+, it is option number 228 on the car spec you get on the BMW VIN Decoder bimmer.work : VIN Decoder for BMW). So they'd provide much better handling.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old Jun 13th, 2018, 08:47 PM
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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.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old Jun 13th, 2018, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiteOnGrey View Post
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.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old Jun 16th, 2018, 10:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NigelK View Post
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.

Thanks Nigel. Can you post a picture of your car with the AP's on?. I really want to keep the car looking stock. I want a nippy fast car for the street and everyday driving rather than a trackday weapon. Standard the car is okay on stock suspenion. Its not awful. The cars never going to go on a track. If i did get the AP's I would be running them at maximum ride height. I'm an old bloke now and I couldn't take a car riding too low.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old Apr 14th, 2019, 10:26 AM
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recycling old thread - @NigelK , can you tell us anything more from the 1+ yr perspective? Also, would it be possible to see pics of your ride? I am interested in the height on the AP setup.
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