How will the MINI survive in the snow without snow tires?

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!

Snow Tire and Wheel package from Mini Mania

Snow Tire and Wheel package from Mini Mania


9 thoughts on “How will the MINI survive in the snow without snow tires?

  1. I agree 100%
    I have a 2006 “S” convertible and I run Goodyear Ultragrip snow tires on 16″ rims. I run snow tires on my Volvo too. I have a 104 mile r/t commute in Northern NM starting at 7000 ft down to 6200 ft and back up to 7400 ft. It’s not uncommon to have a snow storm strike in the middle of the commute. The mini is not quite as steady as the Volvo in the ice and snow. I blame that on the weight — the mini is lighter and has a higher power to weight ratio so getting started even with all the automatic stuff enabled is a bit trickier.

    You should see how powerful a front drive performance Cadi CTS or STS with AWD looks, as it hopelessly spins the front performance all season tires on an icy hill. I passed two of these just last week. After years of watching people with all-weather tires spin, slide and generally make a mess of the commute I firmly believe that the tires make all the difference in the world and I wouldn’t dream of *not* having a set of dedicated snow tires on any car I own.

  2. Great car for snow driving.
    I live in northern Norway and use my car daily, in winter times it means driving in snow. I use Nokian snow tires, and the idea of not using my car since it is snowing is not apealing. Because the MINI is a great car to drive and handle, it is also a great car to drive and handle in snow. Or any other weather con.
    With the snow tires you opt for the safe side. The problem with summer tires is evident when braking or critical manoeuvre. The down side with snow tires is on wet asphalt, when most of them have a nasty habbit of slipping in curves/braking, even in farly low speed.

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  4. I live in Montreal and have a Mini Cooper(on winter tires) and I also own an X5 BMW, when I take the curve near my home in the snow the Mini believe it or not handles better than my X5! The X5 amazing truck but even if it is an awd sometimes it is not as comfortable as my Mini on that curve!

  5. Would it help to put weight in the back of my mini for driving in the snow? I noticed that when i accellerate the back end tends to want to fish tail. I just had brand new tires mounted on it but not flat runners. Thank you

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