Without a doubt most of the discussions I hear about snow tires and the MINI tells me that most people don’t believe in them! The typical answer is that the MINI drives and handles too great to need them! The second most common answser is that the owner simply won’t drive the car in the snow! Strange answers in my opinion.
The MINI Cooper is for sure a great handling car with it’s front wheel drive and high performance wide tires, it will show up many ‘real sports cars’. But will it run as well in the snow? You could argue that with the DSC, ASC and often stock limited Slip differential it is idea for the snow? While the stock MINI is not excessive low to the ground, the simple mandate to have car performance oriented results in a lower stance than most daily drivers. But all that performance and computer skill still requires the mechanical ability to get and stay in touch with the road surface. Sorry to say, people, but it ultimately comes down to the tires. After having driven Minis of one type or another and having lived in parts of the country with all amounts of snow- I can assure you snow tires on MINI Cooper are a real must have! While the stock tires are safe and run well in the rain, many of us have ‘upgrated’ to yet a better performance tires that has, I assure you sacraficed bad weather performance. And snow on the road is not somthing that you want to mess with- it is dangerous for even the experienced driver.
Snow Tires are not the same as all weather tires. Snow tires have a more aggressive tread pattern to grip in the ice and snow. Just as important almost all real snow tires have a softer rubber compound. You will be very suprised how light a MINI Cooper will feel when you first install the snow tires and yet how well the car will handle driving fast around coners- please only try this in the dry conditions!. The softer rubber compund results in many fo these tires being called a poor mans race tire. The won’t last long on hot summer roads but they will be great fun in the winter.
I personally what to keep the best of both worlds and thus will have a set of stock rims with real snow tires on them that I simply bolt on in the winter and keep my performance wheels and tires for summer months!