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Leaving appearance aside means you get very little for your £500. No better performance for example. It might be worth checking if they both come with run flats. I am sure a while back the standard wheels didn't but the upgrade wheels did.
 

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2023 F56 Cooper DCT 700 miles, 2014 Countryman S, auto. 177k miles
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Less sidewall will make for sharper handling such as turn in. 17" are offered on the S and are a pretty good ride, a little firmer. I have run 17" for years and years on R56 and F56. I am trying to slow down my driving so when my 1.5 arrives in November will do this: Use my old 16" winter wheels (Perillis Snow Control), then in the Spring make a change. I will note the Hankooks runflats that come on the 1.5 are literally the worst of the worst. 61/62 touring tires offered on Tirerack. So will likely so a 16" all season, Goodyear Assurance Weatherready. It is three peaks snow rated, side wall is relativley stiff. It is not available on 17" wheels. Then try to use it year round.
 

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2020 JCW
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The aspect ratio of the tyres will change as you go up (or down) in wheel size to maintain the overall same diameter.
With a lower sidewall you will get a firmer ride with better steering response. It will also look better, with a more balanced appearance.
My own opinion is that it will be an improvement. If your buying wheels and tyres new, then get a better quality tyre than fitted by Mini, something like Michelin PS 4 or 5's these will give you a huge improvement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The aspect ratio of the tyres will change as you go up (or down) in wheel size to maintain the overall same diameter.
With a lower sidewall you will get a firmer ride with better steering response. It will also look better, with a more balanced appearance.
Thanks, that all makes perfect sense.
I've amended my order to go up one size to 16 inch which hopefully is a good compromise for ride comfort, handling and appearance for the less sporty version of the Cooper.
 

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2020 JCW
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I dont think you'll be disappointed. My wife has just bought a new Cooper S with 16" wheels and it gives a really good balance between comfort and sporty handling, particularly compared to my JCW on 18" wheels.
 
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