This edition’s question comes from Chris. While it seems like a rather simple one, I think the answer may be a bit surprising for some MINI owners.
>I’ve got a 2005 Cooper S with the stock 16″ wheels and tires. I’ve always thought the ride was a little harsh but never complained because I just assumed that’s how it had to be with the runflats. Recently I’ve had a chance to test drive a new BMW 330i (with the sport package) which comes with 18″ runflats. I was amazed at the difference ride quality. The 330i handled impeccably and the ride was quite comfortable as compared to the MINI. I know the suspensions are similar in design so why such a huge difference?
That’s a great question Chris. For one the MINI’s shorter wheel-base contributes to the cars less than settled feeling as compared to the BMW. However the bigger issue is that the BMW’s decision to fit runflats tires on the MINI came at the last moment in its original development cycle. Therefore the current suspension was not designed to be used in conjunction with runflats. The newest 3 series on the other hand has a suspension that was engineered from day one to work with runflat tires.
If you switch from runflats to normal tires (as quite a few owners do) you’ll actually be experiencing how the MINI’s engineers originally intended it to feel. And ask anyone who’s done this and I’m sure they’ll tell you it’s a huge difference.
The upcoming R56 and R55 MINIs have been designed from the ground up with runflats in mind so the ride quality should be much more comparable to the new 3 Series.