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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Even with all of the electronic gadgets, can someone from EU comment on how the Mini handles in the snow?
I was reminded recently why I am so pleased with my A4. I don't expect my S to do as well as the Audi next winter (we don't get that much snow in Phillly), but I do want something that is way, way better than my previous 633csi or my wife's XJ6.
 

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I obviously can't speak to the MINI, but I've found that snow tires on a front driver like the MINI makes them virtually unstoppable even in the worst we've gotten around Philly in the last 10 years or so. My wife's Passat and my SE-R both have separate rims with snows and it's unbelievable what that does for getting aroud in the winter. Of course, most winters (like the current one) around here it's really overkill for!
 

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Indeed, I've found that real snow tires (not just "all-season" tires) make a huge difference in the white stuff (and we tend to get a bit more of it up here than in Philly). I'm planning on getting a separate set of rims and snows for my S (when I get my S)...

-Ricardo
 

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I've got a Jetta VR6 with Hakka Q studless snow tires mounted to 15" black steelies. Between the snow tires and the ASR (VW's traction control) the combination has been very inspiring. Its really like an unfair advantage.

The thing to remember is that you want narrow snow tires to help cut through the snow to get traction. My summer tires are currently 225/45R-17 and the snows are 195/65R-15.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
In reply to Brisbane, y'all get SNOW??!! Gimme a break!

Yes, I'll be ticking the DSC box, and I'll use narrower winter tires - I don't expect All-season (gross misnomer) tires to work in all seasons, outside of Miami or Newport Beach, that is. And I don't expect a FWD car to out-perform my A4quattro.

But, after driving a TT225 (lent by my dealer) all day, and after numerous attempts over the years to get my A4 to break loose (impossible except for a 4-wheel skid), I'm reminded of the beauty of AWD.

Nonetheless, I just want to hear from someone (like in Novosibirski, Murmansk, Oslo or Helsinki) who has been driving a Mini in real snow (or preferably snow over ice, like we get here in the Northeast US).

The question is simple: How does the Mini drive in the snow?
 

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Don't forget that if you want to use snow chains then 175 width is the maximum width tyre you can use.
 

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It won't be an A4, that's for sure. I've asked this question before. It'll drive fine for a FWD in snow. The large (diameter) wheels will help a bit. Running the narrower 15" wheels with the taller sidewall will also help. Snow tires are even better.

It's got a cast iron engine in the front, so traction should be adequate. I don't suspect this thing will be a tractor like the A4 in snow.

Best of all, my only complaint against FWD cars in winter, will be solved with DSC. FWD cars usually behave better in snow than RWD cars. They maintain control longer, and in worse conditions than RWD cars. But when you lose control in a FWD, boy do you ever. When the front wheels DO lose traction, that's it, no steering, no engine, no brakes. Not fun. I found the Integra to be particularily prone to this with an aluminum engine and wide, small diameter tires. DSC and ASC+T should help here.

In Toronto, we don't get THAT much snow. I'm banking on not being able to drive the MINI 3-4 days each winter. So what? Take a bus, bum a ride, better yet, call in to say you're SNOWED IN. Anytime I have ever decided that it's just a tad too risky out there, it's been declared a SNOW DAY at work anyway. Stay home, watch the snow fall, order in Pizza (I love the Pizza Pizza Monster Truck they use to deliver on bad weather days) and get paid! Sweet.

It will probably be worse than our current car, but way better than my previous cars: Integra GS-R and Mustang GT Cobra. It will also be great for the other 361 days of the year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Apologies to Basil over my brusque tone. After many years in Philadelphia, one tends to forget that proper manners are practiced elsewhere in the world. Our fair city may be known as "The City of Brotherly Love", but it is 99% due to the translation of its name from Latin.
 

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Back to the original question.


The MINI with standard tyres was never meant to be much use in snow. The brakes need a very light touch to prevent there some what sharp nature from unsettling the car. Having said that it is probably better than most fwd judging by other cars that failed certain local hill climbs this winter.

My ONE does not have DSC. Electronics can not beat pure physical grip, so I invested in the more costly option of performance snow tyres. I fitted Michelin Pilot Alpins ( http://car.michelin.co.uk/uk/engagement/perf_hiv/def.htm )in the 195/55 HR15 size. The tyres look very meaty and according to Michelin will just fit on 5.5J wheels. The rolling radius is 0.9% smaller, so speedo error is not a problem.These tyres were fitted as at the time the 175 width tyre was unavailable. If you must have snow chains for legal reasons then 175 width is the maximum tyre width that they will fit on to.

Performance wise the improvement is really huge. You can stop from 30 mph in 16m. Thats on a snow covered road that you would easily slip over on if you tried walking. Wheel spin is not even possible in 3rd gear and above.

Driving is a surreal experience with them fitted. Its as if the Laws of Physics have been reversed. Snow no longer behaves like snow should. It feels more like wet sand. It is very tempting to push the speed envelope and I suspect ludicrous speeds are possible, but it is like being asked to put your hands into a fire. Your senses make you back off well before the MINI even notices that you are travelling over packed snow . Other motorists struggle to keep control at even 20 mph. You start to wonder why dry road performance has taken precedence over winter safety when it comes to standard fit tyres.

Once fitted with winter tyres the MINI is great to drive in snow. You will look at weather forcasts almost hoping for snow. You can travel to your destination comforted in the knowledge that you will not fail to climb that ungritted hill, lose control when emergency braking, or be delayed much at all by the winter conditions.

If you do have DSC and you are on standard tyres that are slipping, then a tip is to turn the dsc off. That way you will allow the spinning wheel to bite through the snow down to the tarmac and get you moving again.


I found some reviews of this tyre at epinions. Click on this to be taken there: http://www.epinions.com/auto-Tires-All-Michelin_Pilot_Alpin
And if you need something even tougher:
http://www.epinions.com/auto-Tires-All-Michelin_Arctic_Alpin
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks

Thanks very much to Apial in Linconshire - this was the intelligent and experienced reply that I was hoping to receive to my question.
 

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Often, one must be patient before knowledge and experience appear. In this thread, that was certainly the case.

Tom
 
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