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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking at a mini cooper at the moment and I need some opinions on the sports+ suspension and 16" Wheels. Do other owners find that with this suspension the car is still comfortable or will it shake your fillings out? How does this suspension fare on bumpy country roads? Is the cooper a sharp enough handler on the standard setup? Thoughts please!:confused
 

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SS+

I’ve tried both and there is not much in it, yea the SS+ is firmer than the SS but not that much. I tried a Cooper with the SS+ and Chili pack for two hours and by the end of it I felt fine, not shaken to bit’s. The is less body roll on the SS+ and I think it’s one of those options that if I did not get I would probably want in six months time when I was used to the standard SS.

On a more pessimistic angle you do get bounced around in the back a bit because there is less padding and springs in the rear seats compared to the front, but I don’t by a car for passengers so if they don’t like it they can always walk. from a drivers point of view it's ACE.

It’s a personal choice I would recommend driving both (for at least two hours) and see how you feel.

Dave
:D
 

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I have a Cooper without sports plus and 15" alloys. The car handles very well and is still considered bumpy by my girlfriend. However, having driven a Cooper with sports plus and 16" wheels I would say that the man difference between the two is the width and type of the tyre.

The pirellis that come with the 15" wheels are often left struggling for grip and could do with being a bit wider in my opinion.

I personally would compromise by getting the normal suspension but with the 16" wheels.
 

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Well my Cooper has got SS+ with the standard 15" wheels and 175/65? tyred (Dunlops in my case).

It has got LOTS more grip than my previous car had - an MX-5 with 195/55x15 tyres which makes me realise how important the actual cars handling is to determining the amount of grip. The only time i have a problem is pulling away fast when its damp and greasy when you can wheelspin quite badly and not deliberately (ASC+T might have saved me some tyres!)

The suspension is very firm - I've never felt firmer - and I'm in 2 minds about whether I should have got it - I only drove an SS+ MINI before I ordered and just loved it so much I didn't consider anything else. During summer, my MINI will be taken to the highlands and thrashed to an inch of its life on mega-twisty fantastic roads where the suspension will come into its own, the rest of the time, though, it will be doing more mundane things like spending days on the M6 when I regret it slightly...
 

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As you may have found looking at this and earlier threads on the topic, there is no simple answer to this one. The wider tyres offer more grip, but their lower profile combined with the stiffer SS+ suspension results in a harsher ride.

Turning to the professionals (motoring journalists) is no help either. Autocar loved the handling and grip of the Chili pack but felt the resulting ride was unacceptable. In their recent Car of the Year test, EVO magazine were split in their preferences.

There is not only the ride issue, but also the initial and replacement cost of the 16" tyres. And finally - the looks. Some like the "big wheel" look and some don't.
 

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Something I keep forgetting to mention:-

My SSP+ Cooper keeps rubbing its front bumper off the ground with a horrible crunch - on speed bumps and on the uneven lane at the back of my house (my old Mini and MX-5 handled both)
 

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SS+

Well Ive driven a couple of times a Cooper with Chilli pack (so SS+ en 16 inch) and it's absolute not to firm. My current car is Peugeot 206 GTI and that's a lot firmer than the Cooper so if it's my choise: go for de SS+ and 16 inch. It will handle like a cart but with enough comfort, you won't regret it...

Roy
 

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To be honest I don't see what all the fuss is about. I think the Mini's ride is firm yes, but not hard. I have drive many cars with seriously hard suspension and believe me you know about it.

From the Mini's I have drive the difference between the SSP and SSP+ is minimal. I truly believe someone couldn't tell the difference between them it is that subtle.

You don't want soft suspension on the Mini, it would ruin its drive.

At the end of the day the Mini is a driver car and that is all there is to it.

LMB:D
 

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Running SS+ on 15s.....
I live in London and haven't yet clipped a speed bump, but cannot park on my father's driveway due to the crest of the sloping drive.
SS+ on 15s allegedly runs lower than SS+ on 16s.

It's great to live with.
Very smooth yet surefooted on motorways.
Handles very well when I throw it around in the country.
Only time it feels upset is over cobblestones and on the unmetalled private track up the local farm.
Wouldn't mind if it was harder still.

Girlfriend thinks it's too hard - I didn't go for 16s because I didn't like the look of them, and figured I needed the extra tyre-wall because I regularly parallel park against kerbs!
 

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I have driven both SS & SS+ and have found the actual handling of the car is fantastic with both. My girlfriend prefered the more supple feel of the SS with 15in. The SS+ certainly keeps you very alert, even a twitch on the steering has the car cantering around the corner.

If you are worried about comfort and drive over a lot of speed ramps I wouldn't bother with the SS+. Save the money the car handles like a dream anyway! If you want to feel like you are driving a go-kart get the SS+ and smile around every bend!

JS
 

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Just wanted to add a couple of comments in addition to my posts above, now that I've had more time with the car.

Yes I regularly crunch my front bumper on bumpy ground but I have investigated today to see what exactly hits the ground and its a piece of relatively soft plastic that sticks out further than the rest of the bumper for some reason. It looks like its meant to do this and although rubbed fairly rough underneath now, its not really doing any harm so I'm not going to worry about the crunch next time I hear it!

Also, the SSP+ seems to be getting SOFTER now that I've got more used to the car. Also I was in an Ibiza Cupra at the weekend at it felt much more unpleasant and hard than my MINI so I'm quite happy now.

I'd be very interested to drive a standard Cooper now to see how it compares though...
 

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10% stiffer springs - same ride height. The increase in stiffness may not sound like much, but compared to the Fiesta S, the springs on the Puma were only stiffened by 5% at the front and 6% at the rear, and the Puma is heavier anyway.
 

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Missing Fillings

OK, I now realise just how firm SS+ with 16" wheels is.... been riding in a Chrysler Grand Voyager people-mobile in Spain for the last week or so. Compared to that particular water bed on wheels the ride in my Cooper is very firm... thought my fillings were going to fall out! Not sure I'd want to stiffen the ride much further by going for the 17" wheels though!

Oh, and then there was the issue of the almighty bang from the back of the car as I hurtled along the M1. THought my car was shedding its exhaust on the road or something! Investigation revealed a bottle of shampoo had blown its lid off in my luggage!!!!

kjs
 

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Re: Missing Fillings

kjs said:
OK, I now realise just how firm SS+ with 16" wheels is.... Not sure I'd want to stiffen the ride much further by going for the 17" wheels though!
This confirms my suspicions about 17" on SS+ being too harsh, though my dealer is planning to get a Cooper demo in Feb with this configuration which I will try before finalising my S order
 

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I parked my SS+/15" Cooper right next to a non-SS+/16" Cooper and the ride-height difference was quite obvious - mine was a good bit lower.

I also read, somewhere!, that the ride height of SS+ was lowered so this just confirmed it... but this is at odds with red & white's comment so now I'm confused!

:confused:
 

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My 2p Worth

I have a Cooper Chili and it is now well and truly run-in - suspension has to bed-in just like everything else.

I find the ride generally acceptable but on two types of road it is not. These are:

Uneven concrete motorways e.g. M11 by Stanstead, M42 by Solihull. You find your vision becoming blurred by the violent jumping of the car.

Rough country back roads - normally of the single-track variety - here the lack of travel of the lowered SS+ becomes a pain as the suspension hits the bump-stops rather too frequently.

To counter this - fast B-Roads are an absolute Hoot, and put such a smile on my face. Still a lot better than a Mini.
 
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