2014 Mini Cooper: Stiff-Legged Ride
November 3, 2014
Our long-term 2014 Mini Cooper isn't plush. The ride quality is constantly busy, feeling stiff-legged over all of those minor road imperfections. This became a trait of the BMW Mini so many years ago when the decision was made to adopt run-flat tires.
But I don't know if the run-flat tire excuse is really valid anymore.
Run-flat tires (RFTs) have come a long way. While in the past they had iron-like sidewalls (and rode like it), the RFTs used today in other modern cars are able to mask this characteristic to the point that you might not even guess they're RFTs.
Yet our 2014 Mini, equipped with run-flat ContiSportContact 3 SSR summer tires, still rides like it's on old-school RFTs. This is unfortunate, as the Mini's apparently nervous and fidgety ride is tiresome and doesn't inspire confidence.
I'll say this though: it's deceptive. Even though you grimace and grit your teeth in anticipation of what you expect to be a major ker-THWACK upon seeing a big, nasty road imperfection looming ahead, it never really happens. This Mini is better at soaking up the big hits than its usual ride quality suggests. You think it's going to get knocked several inches off line, but it stays glued. Despite the aforementioned routine ride quality, this new car seems to have a bit more suspension travel and/or tuning finesse than previous Minis.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor