Most MINI Cooper owners are thrilled with how their car handles in dry and wet conditions, but often find the Original Equipment tires leave them wanting more when the snow flies. If you plan on keeping the vehicle for two winters or more, a dedicated set of winter wheels and tires is the way to give you the best grip possible in poor winter weather.
The standard Cooper models come with 15" wheels and tires with an optional 16" size if you select run-flat tires. Since most of the Coopers do not have a spare tire in the trunk, the run-flat tires can be an added safety measure to have. In the stock 195/55R16 size, run-flat snow tires are available from Bridgestone (Blizzak LM-60), Dunlop (Winter Sport 3D ROF), Michelin (Primacy Alpin PA3 ZP) and Pirelli (Winter 210 SnowSport RFT). All of these tires will have very good handling characteristics when the roads are clear and have a slightly more agressive tread pattern and rubber compound for improved snow and ice traction.
If you live in an area where you have persistant issues with snow or ice you can get better results from a Studless Ice and Snow tire from Bridgestone (Blizzak WS60) or Michelin (X-Ice Xi2), but would have to give up run-flat capability.