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how to smooth out the ride?

604 Views 13 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  a11y
Hi there,
I bought my wife a lovely 2017 Mini F56 Cooper D with 17 inch wheels last year, and I absolutely love it. My wife however has been complaining that the ride is too hard / bumpy as the roads where we live are in very bad condition (we live in Devon in the UK).
The car already has non-run flats on it, but they are looking like a few years old so might not be as supple as when they were new.
Does anyone have any advice on things we can try to make it more compliant?
My own thoughts were playing with the tyre pressures, buying new tyres or worst case buying some smaller wheels and tyres.
The car is only really driven locally on slower / bumpy roads, so I wondered if lower pressures would be better?
Does anyone recommend a specific tyre that is easier over the bumps, or has changing the profile up a step made a difference for anyone?

Any advice gratefully received. If my wife doesn't start to feel more comfortable driving it, then she'll probably want to change car again.

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Reducing tyre pressure will help a bit, but will not drastically change the situation
Smaller wheels with thicker tyres is the only thing if you don't want to try experimenting with coilovers.
175/65R15 i believe is the smallest factory option
There is a massive difference in ride quality between the tyre manufacturers. Have a look at the reviews- ideally try to find the same size tyre ( 205/45/17 ) Sometimes a different tyre can completely transform the car. Michelins seems to be very highly rated in most reviews
I also would consider 215/45/17 sizes as well as this gives more tyre stick out to protect the wheel rim.
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I run 17 inch wheels with a JCW suspension. I have experienced Pirelli P Zero, Michelin Pilot Super Sport, Continental TS850P (winter). There are differences in comfort but I cannot say they are anyhow significant. Pirelli was harder, Michelin is a bit softer, but that’s it. The car is still on the hard side. Maybe I need to compare to different tyres.
Any advice gratefully received. If my wife doesn't start to feel more comfortable driving it, then she'll probably want to change car again.
Dropping it onto 16" wheels with 205/55 R16 tyres would be a good improvement.
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Bigger tyres, same wheels is cheapest solution, so 215/45/17 if you are looking to change anyway
better still would be lighter wheels, but that’s a chunk of change.

nb the door pressures for mini tyres, assume you’re driving the car with 3 England prop forwards as passengers, 35 psi is plenty if the car is only ever driven 2-up.

give it a go, you can always put the air back in if you don’t agree it improves the

If they'll fit 16" wheels the way to go
Definitely swap to 16" with 205/55. I can tolerate my F56 with 17" and the standard 205/45r7 RFTs (but will ditch those at some point) but on my last MINI R56 I swapped from 17" RFT to 16" non-RFT and the difference was night and day. Huge improvement in ride comfort, also helped by a big reduction in wheel/tyre weight even sticking to OEM wheels.
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Thanks everyone for your suggestions. Tyres are currently michelin but look pretty old so I wouldn't be surprised if they are a little stiff. I'm going to drop the pressure by 1-2 PSI and see how that goes as a first step.
It looks like most of you are suggesting to change for 16" as the best option. I'm hoping not to have to go that far, as I like the look of the 17" tentacle spokes right now.
Has anyone tried the 17" wheels but increasing the profile from 205/45 to 205/50? It would make the rolling radius slightly larger (about 3% I think) but a little extra flexibility?
Think you should probably let your dear wife find and pick a vehicle that suits her and provides the type of ride she likes. You might get the MINI to deliver a magic carpet smooth ride but in doing so you run the risk this will compromise the car in other ways that your wife possibly even you find unacceptable.

For example fitting too different a tire can make the car feel squirrel-y and if the size is too different make the speedo read wrong and affect the odometer. (In some cases if you stick with a factory sanctioned tire/wheel combination the speedo/odo can be corrected.)
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Suggest that you ditch the run flats for regular tires. Doing so will improve the ride.
Since you already have non run-flat tires you may ask a tire shop for recommendations for a softer ride. MINIs have a stiff ride, always have, and changing to non run-flat is the first change to make but they can still ride too stiff for some people. A soft Cadillac like ride is something you’re just not going to get from any MINI. Dropping tire pressure may help but too far down and you risk lowering fuel mileage. Drop it too far and it gets dangerous and can damage your tires.
MINIs have a hard ride, there are things you can do to make it less hard but it’s still going to be harder than other makes.
I'm finding myself looking at 16" Loop alloys for my F56 SD (assuming they clear they brakes, which I believe 16" do) - several sets around for not much money at all. I like the look personally although I know not to everyone's tastes.

Reason being if it improved things as much as it did on my R56, it'll be worth the hassle. I posted about my R56 at the time I did it (Pistonheads link). Swapping 17" with RFT to 16" with non-RFT saved 4.8kg PER WHEEL/TYRE, i.e. nearly 20kg reduced unsprung weight. That alone improves the suspension and might've helped the ride comfort. Hence my interest in someone pursuing this on the F56...

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