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Great thread!
I am in process of ordering my 3rd MINI. My first was an R53 that became a track car in addition to being my daily driver. I did a few mods (anti sway, brakes, better tires) in addition to in having factory SS. I loved that car but do recall that my infrequent passengers found it pretty uncomfortable. I guess I was just accustomed to it :D.
Second MINI is an R56 with SS and the only mod I've done is the exhaust. While I have no problem with it, again passengers find it a bit stiff.
3rd MINI will be an F56. I have opted for DDC this time. Life has changed in the 10 years since the first MINI, track days are unlikely and comfort is more of a concern, to me and to passengers. I like the option of being able to make it a bit more sporty but in general will opt for comfort :D.
My hope is to one day find another nice R53 to buy and have as my fun car, one day...
Annette
 

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Hi Annette
lovely story. Can I request you post your experience of your new car with DDC here when you get it please? I think it would be useful for folks to know how you compare DDC with the old SS's.
I have just ordered a DDC F55, after much angst-ing over that or SS, and no opportunity to drive demo cars with either option---all guesswork.

I think we will love our minis in any case
cheers
 

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Likely to place order for F56 JCW.

This comes with Sport Suspension as standard. Unless Variable Damper Control is ticked. Which I'm considering.

Does anyone know if the sportiest setting on Variable Damper Control offers the same firmness/level of sport as the standard Sport Suspension. Or is the sport setting on VDC less / more firm than standard?


I'd not like the thought of losing the same level of sport as regular model when called upon. (The VDC is a good idea though).
 

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Does anyone know if the sportiest setting on Variable Damper Control offers the same firmness/level of sport as the standard Sport Suspension. Or is the sport setting on VDC less / more firm than standard?
I read in this topic that the VCD sport mode is less firm than the standard sport suspension. However, I ordered my MCS with the VDC that for the Italy roads is necessary :D
 

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Anyone with experience with the JCW Suspension Kit compared to the Sports Suspension?
I don't think the suspension kit is out yet.
 

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Likely to place order for F56 JCW.

This comes with Sport Suspension as standard. Unless Variable Damper Control is ticked. Which I'm considering.

Does anyone know if the sportiest setting on Variable Damper Control offers the same firmness/level of sport as the standard Sport Suspension. Or is the sport setting on VDC less / more firm than standard?


I'd not like the thought of losing the same level of sport as regular model when called upon. (The VDC is a good idea though).

At the moment I've got a Cooper SD loan car with VDC and the ride is superb even with 18" Pirelli P7 Runflats. No idea what the setting is on but the ride is better than my Cooper D with 16" wheels and that is very good, (especially when compared with the terrible ride on my previous 2012 R56 wit 17" wheels).
There is a very undulating road (built on sand) along the coast near me which ive driven in top of the range Mercs and Audi as well as my F56 CooperD and my wifes R60 Countryman and the VDC controlled car is the best ride of any of them. Superb without removing any of the sportiness. In fact the car is more sporty since you can drive it faster.
 

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At the moment I've got a Cooper SD loan car with VDC and the ride is superb even with 18" Pirelli P7 Runflats. No idea what the setting is on but the ride is better than my Cooper D with 16" wheels and that is very good, (especially when compared with the terrible ride on my previous 2012 R56 wit 17" wheels).
There is a very undulating road (built on sand) along the coast near me which ive driven in top of the range Mercs and Audi as well as my F56 CooperD and my wifes R60 Countryman and the VDC controlled car is the best ride of any of them. Superb without removing any of the sportiness. In fact the car is more sporty since you can drive it faster.
Same as above
Still thinking about 17" wheels as a long term option
 

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I have had my Cooper 5 door with Variable Dampers and 16" wheels for about 2000km now. After cruising this and many other similar threads, and angsting for a month or 2 over the decision, I ordered the VDC over the SS for the twiddleability plus comfort option on days where I have passengers or I have a headache and a stiff neck. Wasn't able to drive demos of either VDC or SS - how do they really expect to sell them if you can't drive them?

Anyway, Im pleased with my choice. I use green with soft damper settings in traffic, with passengers or behind road slugs where I can't pass, it helps calm me down - I can play with earning goldfish stars for green driving on the minimaliser to keep me occupied while waiting to shift into sport and get on with life. And the ride is fine, still handles ok, but comfy. On a bad neck day the Sports setting with the hard damping is plenty hard enough for me, on bumpy NZ roads. Sure I would love the full Sports suspension once a month when I could actually use it on a country road, so your choice will depend on what kind of driving you get to do.

I would say that if I did it again I would find a way to experience a demo with the sports suspension, and go with 17" tires if I ended up with VDC again.

I also suspect the standard run flats are more of a limitation to the handling than the suspension. To me they feel like they kinda roll sideways as you enter the corner, which my Suzuki swift with 16" standard tires doesn't do. Im thinking 17", real tyres, a jack and a tyre-fix kit might be on the menu for when the run flats wear out. And maybe a sway bar.

Ultimately it would be great to get a plug and play aftermarket set of variable dampers/coilovers or similar, which I read can be done for VW's, but not Minis yet. Getting the VDC does limit the easy options for lowering or upgrading the suspension I believe, which may affect someones choice

happy motoring
 

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Is it possible to have sports suspension and adaptive dampers? That seems like the ideal combination to me.


I'd agree with that! I believe it is possible, based on what I heard on the youtube video of the review of the JCW I watched recently. The guy clearly said that it was a great option to add AD for only $500. Now, why would he say that for a JCW if it wasn't possible to do?....sounded to me like the JCW could be further stiffened for track use with the AD...kinda wished I'd added that option on my JCW...but it's plenty stiff enough for me! I love it though.....I'll never whine it's too rough a ride, even with runflats. It's a sports car and it rides the way it's suppose to! :)
 

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According to my local dealer, it is possible to add the variable dampers to the JCW's default sport suspension setup.
I really wish dealers would pay attention to their own part numbers. On the JCW, choosing the DDC replaces the sport suspension. This is easy to see in the ETK; there are separate part number dampers for A) standard suspension, B) Sport suspension, and C) dynamic damper control. The car can only have one, mix-n-match is nonsensical as you can't have more than one damper per corner.

Please remind your dealer to kindly do their homework.
 

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I'm not sure if I've commented on my impressions of DDC vs. Sport. I've had seat time in two separate DDC equipped JCW's, and then my own JCW arrived with sport suspension. IMO they're both too soft to fit with the character of the MINI. The DDC in Green mode positively levitates over rough broken pavement. The DDC in Sport mode is still fairly floaty feeling; weight transition is slow-ish albeit controlled. The Sport suspension is only slightly firmer. It still absorbs terrible pavement very well, better than any previous generation MINI, and IMO that's the problem. It's still too soft. Swapping it out for the JCW Pro coilovers didn't ruin the ride, but it did "tie the car down", giving much better weight transistion and firmer response without ever being jarring. I genuinely feel the JCW Pro setup is a more natural character for the car. The Sport suspension would best fit a Cooper owner looking for a sport-ish but still mainly relaxed ride, and the DDC is for those that want the utmost comfort above all. Having driven a DDC JCW in the Miles Ahead driving school, it was the weak link of the total package on the track, being too soft in both spring rate and damping for the summer tires. Owners not having any intention for track work don't be dissuaded, it all comes down to your preferences.

I definitely recommend driving every suspension option available to decide for yourself which character fits you best.
 

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I'm not sure if I've commented on my impressions of DDC vs. Sport. I've had seat time in two separate DDC equipped JCW's, and then my own JCW arrived with sport suspension. IMO they're both too soft to fit with the character of the MINI. The DDC in Green mode positively levitates over rough broken pavement. The DDC in Sport mode is still fairly floaty feeling; weight transition is slow-ish albeit controlled. The Sport suspension is only slightly firmer. It still absorbs terrible pavement very well, better than any previous generation MINI, and IMO that's the problem. It's still too soft. Swapping it out for the JCW Pro coilovers didn't ruin the ride, but it did "tie the car down", giving much better weight transistion and firmer response without ever being jarring. I genuinely feel the JCW Pro setup is a more natural character for the car. The Sport suspension would best fit a Cooper owner looking for a sport-ish but still mainly relaxed ride, and the DDC is for those that want the utmost comfort above all. Having driven a DDC JCW in the Miles Ahead driving school, it was the weak link of the total package on the track, being too soft in both spring rate and damping for the summer tires. Owners not having any intention for track work don't be dissuaded, it all comes down to your preferences.

I definitely recommend driving every suspension option available to decide for yourself which character fits you best.

Good info! In the end I believe I did the best for me in not adding variable damping to my JCW, since I certainly don't my ride to be any "softer"...I thought with variable damping you could go "'stiffer"! I don't understand why so many people think the sport suspension is too jarring. My stock JCW with 18" run flats is just perfect for my tastes.

John
 

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I really wish dealers would pay attention to their own part numbers. On the JCW, choosing the DDC replaces the sport suspension. This is easy to see in the ETK; there are separate part number dampers for A) standard suspension, B) Sport suspension, and C) dynamic damper control. The car can only have one, mix-n-match is nonsensical as you can't have more than one damper per corner.

Please remind your dealer to kindly do their homework.
Well that is disappointing misinformation from a reasonably prestigious dealer! :(

Having driven a Cooper S with and without the VDC, and a JCW with Chili pack but without VDC, I think i'll be ordering the VDC. I found the JCW a little bit jittery and harsh with the run flat tyres. I've had four years of runflats on the 1 series and I don't want to have the same in the JCW.

I've got another JCW test drive next week for 24 hours this time, so that should finalise my decision.
 

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K, this has been a great thread. I've driven a bunch of Minis with different packages, and it jives with what people are writing here. But, where the heck do you spec the Sport Suspension for a build on the website? I can only find DDC and a "Sport Package" (that doesn't list the SS).
 

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K, this has been a great thread. I've driven a bunch of Minis with different packages, and it jives with what people are writing here. But, where the heck do you spec the Sport Suspension for a build on the website? I can only find DDC and a "Sport Package" (that doesn't list the SS).
For 2016 model year, the Sport suspension is now standard on the JCW, and unavailable on the other models. They dropped the Sport suspension on the Cooper and S allegedly due to the low take-rate, but that's irrational given they're using the exact same part number dampers on the JCW's Sport suspension. The reason is likely they were trying to make the JCW more exclusive by excluding the option on others. I'm not sure how I feel about that, because if I wanted a Cooper the Sport suspension would be an excellent match for it.

Ironically, the Sport Package now includes the DDC, which offers a softer ride.
 
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