If I could, I would have ditched them on day one…but it’s a bit difficult to justify spending several hundred dollars on new tires when your brand new MINI comes with a perfectly usable set of runflats (that just cost you roughly a thousand dollars). So they were put to use.
After 38,594 miles, those factory Continental ContiProContact SSR runflats had pretty much met their end. As you probably gleaned, I was never a fan of them on Ghost Pepper to begin with. They induced awful understeer, and grip really was really not much better than sprinters trying to run the 100-meter dash in wooden clogs…around a hockey rink. They just were not any good. In dry conditions, they were serviceable, but down past the wear bars, they struggled to provide grip in the wet or dry, often spinning at modest RPMs when accelerating away from a stoplight, or when accelerating after exiting a corner…this was only exacerbated in the wet.
So it was finally time for a new set of tires…time to ditch the runflats, and get a proper set of tires. After spending way too much time researching and combing NAM and /r/MINI for recommendations, I went with a set of slightly wider and taller 215/45R17 Continental ExtremeContact DWs to replace the runflats. TireRack had them delivered the next day, and just yesterday my MINI dealer mounted and balanced the wheels and tires, and performed a four-wheel alignment.
Immediately, the only thing I can tell you is that not feeling every single pebble, crack, imperfection, or hair in the road is a very welcome change. I had forgotten what a revelation it was going to non-runflat rubber on my R53 so many years ago. Other than that…ask me in a thousand miles or so, once I have them broken in.