Factory JCW Talk (2009+) Discussion of the factory-built 2nd Gen JCW MINI Cooper S, and all unique aspects of this trim.

Suspension question

  #1  
Old 01-30-2012, 01:42 PM
Chulander
Chulander is offline
1st Gear
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 23
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Suspension question

Hi everyone, I'm currently waiting the production and arrival of a 2012 JCW Hardtop, and as I get the options get finalized, I have a question that I was hoping some of you could help me get a definitive answer on.

Standard suspension vs Sport suspension:

1. For a daily driver and a good mix of smooth and terrible roads, is the sport suspension a MUST have option? I've done as much research as I possibly can and it seems like there are quite a few opinions on this. For example, the website motoringfile.com seems to think that sports suspension is essential, while others on forums/boards seem to think the standard suspension is just fine. I'll be coming from a few Porsches so I'm used to very stiff suspension. At the same time, reviews of JCW cars often berate the suspension as being borderline unbearable (can't tell if these reviews are with standard, sport, or JCW sport suspension). Any opinions you guys can offer on the matter would be very helpful.

2. Does the sport suspension (not the JCW sport suspension) lower the car in ANY amount over the standard suspension? I love the aerokit but commonly deal with steep driveways—I will be okay with the standard suspension (I think), but don't want to risk a lower ride height if I can help it.

Thanks in advance, and I'm really excited to join the JCW fold.
 
  #2  
Old 01-30-2012, 02:55 PM
drewstermalloy
drewstermalloy is offline
6th Gear
iTrader: (4)
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Buffalo, New York
Posts: 2,867
Likes: 0
Received 8 Likes on 8 Posts
My personal preference would be to get the standard suspension and upgrade with aftermarket components.

I also just so happen to be selling my ST Coilovers, they will be in the marketplace tonight.

 
  #3  
Old 01-30-2012, 04:43 PM
Jim Michaels
Jim Michaels is offline
5th Gear
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Blacksburg, VA
Posts: 772
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My guess is that you'll find the standard JCW suspension firmer and less compliant than OE Porsche suspensions. Depends on what you did to your Porsche suspensions, I guess.
 
  #4  
Old 01-31-2012, 09:01 PM
walk0080's Avatar
walk0080
walk0080 is offline
6th Gear
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,796
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
1. The Sports suspension with 17" tires (non run flat is bearable) in the often crummy and winter beaten Toronto roads is fine (for me). My last car had standard suspension and 16" run flats and it was often borderline insanely annoying - due to the tires. I only paid $250 for sports susp, but at $500 or whatever the package happens to be for you I would say consider the after market options before ordering. IMO for a daily driver sports suspension is NOT a must have option.

2. No, the sports suspension does not lower the car. The only OE option that lowers the car a bit is the dealer installed JCW suspension package. I find the JCW Aero fairly low to the ground at the front - in my city I probably would not be comfortable going any lower than the JCW kit for a daily driver... which I think lowers around 10mm.
 
  #5  
Old 02-01-2012, 06:44 AM
JackMac's Avatar
JackMac
JackMac is offline
5th Gear
iTrader: (17)
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Phillyburbia
Posts: 1,077
Received 28 Likes on 28 Posts
I highly recommend that you go to the dealer and test drive sport and non-sport. Your perceptions and preferences may be different than the opinions of others. Wheel/tire size also makes a difference on driving feel and comfort.

I've owned and driven standard, sport, and JCW suspensions, with RFT and non-RFT, in 16" and 17", with summer and all-season tires. Each combination yields a different feel.

Right now, I am on a JCW suspension and 3rd generation 17" RFT's, and it is actually fine for daily use, while providing much improved handling and feel over the standard suspension. As mentioned above, the JCW suspension comes with a 10mm drop, which is very conservative.
 
  #6  
Old 02-01-2012, 08:50 AM
MINIGEZR
MINIGEZR is offline
3rd Gear
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 177
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I would save the $$$'s and put it towards an after market set up or coilovers. I have recently installed the ST Coils and am very happy with ride and available adjustability.
 
  #7  
Old 02-01-2012, 09:04 AM
djdraddy
djdraddy is offline
Banned
iTrader: (2)
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: New York
Posts: 338
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
I would recommend against getting the optional "Sport" suspension for the JCW. The "standard" suspension in that car will be plenty firm for you.

If you are looking for an improvement over stock, I would look at a set of KONI yellow struts & shocks, or Bilsteen struts & shocks. If you have the dollars you might be best off going with coil-overs but that's a whole separate conversation. BTW, get a 19 or 22mm rear bar... best first mod you can make!

Good Luck with your JCW!
 
  #8  
Old 02-01-2012, 09:53 AM
Chulander
Chulander is offline
1st Gear
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 23
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for your responses everyone. To be clear, I'm not looking for an aggressive setup or necessarily an improvement in suspension feel. This would be my first Mini, so I don't have a lot of experience in how the car drives/feels over time, especially on daily use. I think any plans of "upgrading" to coilovers or springs would be premature.

I just want to know if I should tick the sport suspension option box (is it MUCH better for roll/torque steer as some publications have stated?) and if I do, would it lower the car in any way (I want to retain stock ride height).

I hope to stop by the dealer this weekend and try both suspensions out.
 
  #9  
Old 02-01-2012, 10:35 AM
JackMac's Avatar
JackMac
JackMac is offline
5th Gear
iTrader: (17)
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Phillyburbia
Posts: 1,077
Received 28 Likes on 28 Posts
The sport suspension on the R56 will not lower ride height. It will increase swaybar thickness, and stiffen the springs.

The base non-sport suspension isn't bad, however I found it to be unbalanced and unsettled when combined with the extra power and brakes of the JCW.

A good middle-ground (and affordable) option for you may be the sport suspension. A back-to-back test drive should help to confirm.

At least we have many options to choose from with MINI :D
 
  #10  
Old 02-01-2012, 10:50 AM
onefish2
onefish2 is offline
6th Gear
iTrader: (3)
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Nanuet, NY
Posts: 1,906
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Let me put this in a dollars and cents perspective... spending the additional $500 on the sport suspension is a waste of money. It is totally not worth it.

1. Buy the car with the standard suspension.

2. If you don't like the way it drives/rides then get rid of the run flats.

3. Still don't like the way it drives/rides then get a 19mm or 22mm rear sway bar.

4. Still don't like the way it drives/rides then get new springs and or shocks like mentioned above.

5. Or better yet take the $500 you saved and put it towards a set of decent coils like the ST coils as mentioned above.

This is all incremental. You took your time to analyze the way the car drives and you spent very little money over time.

Some of this advice is first hand. Some is from pouring over the posts here on NAM over the past 3 years.

You could spend a few hours going through the posts yourself and you will probably come to the same conclusion that i listed out above.

As for me... my car was bought off the lot. It came with the sport suspension. I did not like that setup. 2 months later I had the JCW Sport suspension installed. The ride in the NYC area was harsh. 2 more months went by and I swapped the run flats for Nitto Neo gens. I really like those tires. I am on my second set. The first set lasted for 25,000 miles. About 9 months later I had the rear sway bar that was part of the JCW suspension replaced with an H-Sport 25.5mm hollow bar installed on the softest setting. That has been the setup on my car for the past 2 years.

If I had to do it all over I would have gotten coils and camber plates and have been done with this whole suspension thing.
 

Last edited by onefish2; 02-01-2012 at 11:10 AM.
  #11  
Old 02-01-2012, 11:07 AM
drewstermalloy
drewstermalloy is offline
6th Gear
iTrader: (4)
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Buffalo, New York
Posts: 2,867
Likes: 0
Received 8 Likes on 8 Posts
I completely agree with onefish there, except I would get the rear sway bar and coilovers/springs/shocks at the same time. This way you wouldn't have to pull the rear end apart twice and you wouldn't need two alignments.
 
  #12  
Old 02-01-2012, 11:09 AM
onefish2
onefish2 is offline
6th Gear
iTrader: (3)
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Nanuet, NY
Posts: 1,906
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Originally Posted by drewstermalloy View Post
I completely agree with onefish there, except I would get the rear sway bar and coilovers/springs/shocks at the same time. This way you wouldn't have to pull the rear end apart twice and you wouldn't need two alignments.
That is a great point and excellent advice. I forgot about the alignments.
 
  #13  
Old 02-01-2012, 11:29 AM
Chulander
Chulander is offline
1st Gear
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 23
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Awesome. Thanks so much guys.
 
  #14  
Old 02-01-2012, 11:45 AM
Jupiter
Jupiter is offline
1st Gear
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Ft. Wayne, IN
Posts: 17
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
So I guess the overall consensus is... Don't check the box!
 
  #15  
Old 02-01-2012, 01:30 PM
walk0080's Avatar
walk0080
walk0080 is offline
6th Gear
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,796
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Chulander View Post
I just want to know if I should tick the sport suspension option box (is it MUCH better for roll/torque steer as some publications have stated?)
My experience so far (with winter performance tires, mind you) is no, torque steer is not improved on the JCW with the Sports Suspension but I do prefer it over stock - but I only paid $250 (minus discounts) so I feel good about the choice. Check back in 12-24 months I might have used Sports Suspension parts available hehe.

Sounds like you should stick with the stock suspension and I suspect you will be very happy with it and it will save you $$ + interest or put it towards another option.
 
  #16  
Old 02-01-2012, 03:56 PM
minirab
minirab is offline
5th Gear
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Hagerstown, Md.
Posts: 816
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
From what I have done in the past is get a bigger rear bar, I put on a

22 mm adjustable bar on the rear and it made it so much better and not

a whole lot of money too.
 
  #17  
Old 02-01-2012, 04:41 PM
Eddie07S's Avatar
Eddie07S
Eddie07S is offline
6th Gear
iTrader: (1)
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 4,612
Received 181 Likes on 163 Posts
Originally Posted by JackMac View Post
The sport suspension on the R56 will not lower ride height. It will increase swaybar thickness, and stiffen the springs.

The base non-sport suspension isn't bad, however I found it to be unbalanced and unsettled when combined with the extra power and brakes of the JCW.

A good middle-ground (and affordable) option for you may be the sport suspension. A back-to-back test drive should help to confirm.

At least we have many options to choose from with MINI :D
+1
We may be in the minority here but after having had both the base and Sport suspension, I say check the box.

I went the route of the larger sway bar (20mm), shocks and camber plates on my '07 S based on all of the wisdom in this forum and it didn't fix the unbalanced/disconnected feeling of the base suspension when pushed. Even with these changes, I was hard pressed to match a MCS with the sports suspension on the track. A ride in a JCW just blew my setup away (discounting the power difference). Pictures of my car on the track showed the front end diving in corners. I always felt that the car needed more overall roll stiffness and the way to get that is with a larger FRONT and rear sway bar. What does the Factory do? They put a larger front sway bar to go with a larger rear bar in their Sport and JCW suspension packages. There is not enough roll stiffness in the stock supension to balance the larger rear sway bar that everyone throws into their car. From there most people go to coilovers with stiffer springs to get better roll stiffness. At about $1000 - $1500 for a good set of coilovers or $3k+ for ASTs, how is that a better deal than checking the box for the factory setup for $500?

As for sports supension, that feeling of being unbalanced/disconnected is gone compared to stock. The ride is perfectly fine with 16" runflat tires/wheels. The ride is tolerable with 17" non-RFTs, and the handling jumps up a notch.

And, as for understeer that is suposed to increase with a larger front bar, this car with the sports suspension seems to have much less understeer than the '07 with the base suspension. But I will know more about this later in the spring when I can really test it.
 
  #18  
Old 02-04-2012, 10:15 AM
biggripper's Avatar
biggripper
biggripper is offline
6th Gear
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Vacaville, CA
Posts: 1,263
Likes: 0
Received 3 Likes on 1 Post
Originally Posted by Eddie07S View Post
+1
We may be in the minority here but after having had both the base and Sport suspension, I say check the box.

I went the route of the larger sway bar (20mm), shocks and camber plates on my '07 S based on all of the wisdom in this forum and it didn't fix the unbalanced/disconnected feeling of the base suspension when pushed. Even with these changes, I was hard pressed to match a MCS with the sports suspension on the track. A ride in a JCW just blew my setup away (discounting the power difference). Pictures of my car on the track showed the front end diving in corners. I always felt that the car needed more overall roll stiffness and the way to get that is with a larger FRONT and rear sway bar. What does the Factory do? They put a larger front sway bar to go with a larger rear bar in their Sport and JCW suspension packages. There is not enough roll stiffness in the stock supension to balance the larger rear sway bar that everyone throws into their car. From there most people go to coilovers with stiffer springs to get better roll stiffness. At about $1000 - $1500 for a good set of coilovers or $3k+ for ASTs, how is that a better deal than checking the box for the factory setup for $500?

As for sports supension, that feeling of being unbalanced/disconnected is gone compared to stock. The ride is perfectly fine with 16" runflat tires/wheels. The ride is tolerable with 17" non-RFTs, and the handling jumps up a notch.

And, as for understeer that is suposed to increase with a larger front bar, this car with the sports suspension seems to have much less understeer than the '07 with the base suspension. But I will know more about this later in the spring when I can really test it.
I agree. My 02 MCS with SS+ and a 19mm RSB was perfect (for me). It was flat and had better rotation. Overall it was so much more go-kart like than my 11 JCW with the standard set up. Now I'm trying to figure out the best way to get my JCW to that go-kart feel. I think I'm going to start with a mild drop, maybe the NM springs and a 19mm rear sway. I feel like what I am missing the most is the flatness and the rotation when cornering. I hadn't really considered doing a front bar, is it worth the cost/trouble?

Does anyone recall the sway bar sizes front/back of the standard vs SS setups?
 
  #19  
Old 02-04-2012, 12:35 PM
onefish2
onefish2 is offline
6th Gear
iTrader: (3)
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Nanuet, NY
Posts: 1,906
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
MINI charges you an additional $500 for nothing. Those new springs, struts and sway bars do not cost anything over the stock parts.

You would be better served to save the $500 and buy aftermarket suspension upgrades.

Sometimes those upgrades work well sometimes they don't. Unfortunately buying aftermarket car parts is not like shopping for clothes or a TV. You have no way of knowing how its going to work out until its on your car and you have some miles on them.
 

Last edited by onefish2; 02-04-2012 at 07:29 PM.
  #20  
Old 02-04-2012, 01:57 PM
Drewbrese
Drewbrese is offline
3rd Gear
iTrader: (1)
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Boston
Posts: 191
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by onefish2 View Post
MINI charges you an additional $500 for nothing.
It does seem unfair that you have to pay extra for a different spring/damper/bar when you are just substituting parts.
 
  #21  
Old 02-04-2012, 02:33 PM
Pazuzu's Avatar
Pazuzu
Pazuzu is offline
2nd Gear
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 59
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree you should start with the basic suspension and then evolve to suite your driving style. I have had a MCS with sport suspension and then got a JCW with basic suspension and eventually went with coil overs/ camber plates and am very happy. I am lowered so I am adding the JCW aero side sills - but not the full aero due to ' lowness'. Individual styles very greatly - I took a long time reading and talking to others before I pulled the trigger and glad I did. Good luck!
 
  #22  
Old 02-04-2012, 02:51 PM
ljmattox's Avatar
ljmattox
ljmattox is offline
5th Gear
iTrader: (1)
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: St. Louis metro area USA
Posts: 920
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The last point for ordering my MCS today was checking out the "sport suspension". The hardtop we used on our test drive a few weeks ago wasn't available; it was great to drive, amazingly so, but our MA didn't recall if it had sport suspension or not. I'd read enough of filling-rattling reports that I wanted to be sure to check it out, so the MA sent us out in another MCS with this option to be sure.

To me: it was firm, like you'd expect in a sports car, but not jarring or unpleasant in the least. It would easily be just fine for my normal 35+ miles of freeway commuting, and even the few crappy surfaces we encountered weren't off-putting. Absolutely, no...it's not a Buick or something, but it isn't supposed to be. This particular one (all black, sinister, we loved it) had 17's with the lower profile tires, mine will not, so I factored that in, and I've traded RFTs for normal tires on a coupla other cars and know that change can reduce expansion joint impacts quite a bit. Again, not that today's drive was unacceptable in the least.

Everyone's threshold and sense of this will be different...so a personal test drive is a great way to settle this.
 
  #23  
Old 02-04-2012, 02:51 PM
walk0080's Avatar
walk0080
walk0080 is offline
6th Gear
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,796
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Drewbrese View Post
It does seem unfair that you have to pay extra for a different spring/damper/bar when you are just substituting parts.
Customizing a car on the factory assembly line probably does cost MINI some expense but not likely $500 or even the $250 I paid.

Basically MINI charges the $$ because they can.

I am still quite happy with the Sports Suspension but I have winter tires currently. Once I have new summer (non-run flat) tires I will have a better idea.

Did wash the car today and I am thinking a 10mm drop would really make a difference in the looks... hmmm


Originally Posted by Eddie07S View Post
+1
I went the route of the larger sway bar (20mm), shocks and camber plates on my '07 S based on all of the wisdom in this forum and it didn't fix the unbalanced/disconnected feeling of the base suspension when pushed. Even with these changes, I was hard pressed to match a MCS with the sports suspension on the track. A ride in a JCW just blew my setup away (discounting the power difference). Pictures of my car on the track showed the front end diving in corners. I always felt that the car needed more overall roll stiffness and the way to get that is with a larger FRONT and rear sway bar. What does the Factory do? They put a larger front sway bar to go with a larger rear bar in their Sport and JCW suspension packages. There is not enough roll stiffness in the stock supension to balance the larger rear sway bar that everyone throws into their car. From there most people go to coilovers with stiffer springs to get better roll stiffness. At about $1000 - $1500 for a good set of coilovers or $3k+ for ASTs, how is that a better deal than checking the box for the factory setup for $500?
This is why when/if I save my pennies for suspension, I will probably stick with the JCW suspension option (and maybe sell my Sports Suspension parts). The JCW option is expensive (but still cheaper than some options), but I still think it is probably the best option for those of us not willing to experiment.
 
  #24  
Old 02-24-2012, 08:34 AM
GreyLens's Avatar
GreyLens
GreyLens is offline
2nd Gear
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 57
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by onefish2 View Post
MINI charges you an additional $500 for nothing. Those new springs, struts and sway bars do not cost anything over the stock parts.

You would be better served to save the $500 and buy aftermarket suspension upgrades.

Sometimes those upgrades work well sometimes they don't. Unfortunately buying aftermarket car parts is not like shopping for clothes or a TV. You have no way of knowing how its going to work out until its on your car and you have some miles on them.
I have to agree with ONEFISH2 and others saying not to check the box. His plan is what I did and I'm glad I took that route. I do a fair amount autox, some track time and lot's of fun back road time here in Texas. I ended up with AST's, Swift Springs, Vorshlag Plates and other fun stuff. It runs exactly 1" lower and is a great daily driver, at least for me.
 

Last edited by GreyLens; 02-24-2012 at 08:42 AM.
  #25  
Old 02-24-2012, 08:53 AM
Drewbrese
Drewbrese is offline
3rd Gear
iTrader: (1)
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Boston
Posts: 191
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by GreyLens View Post
I have to agree with ONEFISH2 and others saying not to check the box. His plan is what I did and I'm glad I took that route. I do a fair amount autox, some track time and lot's of fun back road time here in Texas. I ended up with AST's, Swift Springs, Vorshlag Plates and other fun stuff. It runs exactly 1" lower and is a great daily driver, at least for me.
Adding $3K in suspension upgrades should make a great daily driver! Not harping on you for it, just jealous I suppose.
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Quick Reply: Suspension question


Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

© 2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
 
  • Ask a Question
    Get answers from community experts
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: