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Discussion Starter #1
I am planning on buying a Mini within the next two weeks, but I am not completely settled on which model I would like.

I consider myself a car enthusiast, and I love the extra horsepower and zip the Cooper S provides. Unfortunately someone told me that the Cooper S is a terrible car to drive on long trips because of the 17 inch tires, the seats, and a few other features. I drive a lot, and the last thing I need is a car that won't be somewhat comfortable on one of my many road trips.

Is this true? Should I rethink my decision and just go with the standard Cooper?
 

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16 inch tires come standard on the MCS. They provide a more forgiving ride than the 17 inch options. To be honest, the 16" runflats bother me locally at times on city roads, but long distances, especially on interstates, I have no complaints at all. You can eventually modify the ride by going to non-runflats or 15s if you're still disatisfied. However, I feel that this would mainly be an issue if you're driving potholed or poorly paved roads.

-Michael

'04 DS/W
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for your quick reply.

I remain torn, because comfort is a priority, as is fun. I would like to get the Sport Package with the 17" included, and I think that is the way I am currently leaning, but I don't want to make a mistake. Are 17" tires going to take away from my overall enjoyment of the car both in performance and comfort?

What would you do?
 

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I'll take the 16's

I had the same choice to make. In the end I went for the 16's on MCS as I have had plenty of cars with low profile tires and you do get to feel every bump. If I don't like it then I can always trade up to some after market 17's. I got a discount for swapping the MCS 17's for the 16's but had to pay labour for wheel swapping.
 

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I've recently test driven three Mini variants and have to say even the JCW S running on a sport suspension setup and 18" JCW wheels was comfortable around town on some of Auckland's rougher roads. I suppose it all comes down to what you are stepping out of. I'm currently driving a Honda S2000 (on 16" wheels) and sometimes I wonder whether my car has springs at all!? No complaints about the feedback or grip though! :)

I was a little surprised how the 18" (JCW S) and to some degree the 17" (Cooper S) runflats would squeal during cornering when pushed hard... it was a test drive afterall :D The 16's on the Cooper never made a single chirp, but there was a definite sensation of the tyre rolling over on the rim on the Cooper. Oddly it all seemed in keeping with the cars character and was good fun. I'm pretty certain all the cars were running Dunlops. As for fun my money would be on the JCW suspension and wheel package. It was still compliant enough for everyday use and gave excellent feedback. My only current concern is I feel the JCW engine upgrade (on the car I tested) flatters the cars upgraded suspension and vice-versa so if you get one and not the other will it it all gel? JCW did a great job. I hope this helps :confused: ;)
 

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I wish it was possible to get the Sport Package with different wheels. The problem is that if you individually buy each of the items in the Sport Package except the wheels, it ends up costing nearly as much so it's a bit hard to resist the "free" wheels. But I'm going to get aftermarket wheels and tires as soon as I get the car. The S Lites and runflats are very heavy so I'm going to replace the S Lites with different 17" wheels but reducing weight and sidewall stiffness should significantly help ride and handling. At least that's my plan.

Mark
 

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What do you currently drive? Our two household cars are my new MINI and a 2003 Audi A4 3.0 Quattro with sport seats/suspension, and either could be construed as 'not comfortable to ride in' if you're used to something a little less tightly strung. My 2005 MC has a fairly stiff feel to it, but again, it feels par for the course for a sporty Eurostyle car, and not all that differently from my old BMW.

I think it matters more what your basis of comparison for your ride's feel is, rather than the model.
 

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if u are a car enthusiast, go with the S...u'll kick urself if u don't

i went from all sedans to the S and it doesn't feel that stiff to me

and if u want the handling on the Cooper, u'll have to get the Sports Plus Suspension, in which case it will be just as rough...

maybe some people are used to cadillacs/buicks or something, but i don't think it's really a rougher ride than an altima/sentra/protege...

and after the runflats wear out, u can always go to regular tires...
 

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If comfort is a priority I would stay away from the 17" wheels included in the sport package, and stick with the 16" X-lites. Performance should be better as these are much lighter than the S-lites, and down the road you could always go to a 205/50R16 tire size for the same footprint as the standard tires on the 17" S-lites.
I recently changed wheels/tires to the 16" X-lites/run-flats from the 15" 7-holes/non-run-flats and the ride comfort does suffer around town, but is OK on the highways.
 

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My '04 MCS was ordered without the "sport package" and therefore I got the much better riding/handling 16" runflats with the factory V-spoke wheels. The 17" an absolute waste of time and money, not to mention they are heavier and affect handling/acceleration... They are purely for looks.

I also own a 2002 Cooper CVT, so if you want opinions from someone that owns both models, feel free to drop me a private message.
 

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I have the 17" runflats on my baby... I have noticed there is a bit of a stiffer ride overall (also due to sport suspension) but I took a two day trip up to San Fran. from So Cal (so, what, 800+ miles in a two day period) and was not uncomfortable at all... nice, smooth ride, no major bumps... overall, I am extremely happy with what I got- I do notice that I need to go slower over speed bumps to aviod bobble-head-doll syndrome, but other than than, no worries ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks again everyone for your opinions.

It appears as though the millions of choices you get when designing a Mini are both a blessing or a curse. But at least I can rest assured that no matter what I choose for color, tires, suspension, etc, I will be thrilled to parade around town/the country in my new MINI.
 

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I currently drive a 1988 4Runner which has a fairly decent ride for a truck. I've had the fortune to borrow the MINI I'm going to be buying from a friend in the coming weeks, an MCS with the 17inch wheels, sports suspension. I've done the same trip that I often do in the truck, several hundred miles, in the MINI and find the MINI far more comfortable. I purposely tried the car on all kinds of roads from good to poor and overall, it was great.

My legs tend to cramp up in the truck but not in the MINI. It's often mentioned how rough the ride is with the 17 inch tires but, depending on what you're used to driving, you may not mind it.

Cheers.

J\
 

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CooperS4us said:
My '04 MCS was ordered without the "sport package" and therefore I got the much better riding/handling 16" runflats with the factory V-spoke wheels. The 17" an absolute waste of time and money, not to mention they are heavier and affect handling/acceleration... They are purely for looks.

I also own a 2002 Cooper CVT, so if you want opinions from someone that owns both models, feel free to drop me a private message.
Not trying to pick a fight, but if you have the 16"/non SSP+ package, how do you know the 17"/SSP+ is a waste?
 

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RickB said:
Not trying to pick a fight, but if you have the 16"/non SSP+ package, how do you know the 17"/SSP+ is a waste?
1) 17" Pirelli Euforias are heavier and much more rough riding
2) Tradlife is not as long as the 16" runflats
3) Low profile (45 vs 55) makes them extremely prone to road hazard damage (Potholes, etc)

My MCS came with the Dunlop SP5000 Runflats (195/55/R16) and these tires offer the best balance between ride and handling. Ofcourse the car has SS+ suspension from factory

I'll grant you that the bigger tires look nicer and it seems to be the prime reason why so many MCS owners go with the Sport Package.

But in terms of handling, ride quality and durability, the 16" Dunlops can't be beat.
 

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Performance-wise the MCS is much better, but I prefer the MC (with the standard 175/15 tyres), it's not only the most comfortable, but it also gives more feel/feedback through the steering wheel, more like the original Mini, and is easier to handle at the limit of adhesion, especially in the rain.

Or... be VERY patient and wait for the new 140hp-engine? Current model MC R50 with 140hp: should be the perfect Mini to me, could this be reality in 2006???
 

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In my mind, the S

Having owned an S, a cooper and now a Cabriol S, it is a no brainer.

I opted for 15's on the cab because a) my snows on the S were 15's, and the wheels I want only come in 15 and 17 from Kosei.

Hock the farm and spring for the extra bucks for the S. If you asked the question, it's because the car is more than basic transport for you. As an enthusiast, you will not regret your decision.
 
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