My 2002 M-Coupé was imported with the stock suspension. At first I thought the ride was stiff, even compared to my former set-up (H&R's with M3 struts on my 1996 328is). Well, after having the Koni's and H&R's installed this past Friday, I can't believe my first impressions. The ride is at least 50-60% more compliant over bumps and dips (where they dis-balanced the chassis quite a lot previously). The largest improvement by-far though is the dive, squat, and roll control on smooth roadways. First off, front nose dive under hard braking is quite noticeable with the stock set-up; combined with see-saw turn-in, it made for an un-settling feeling to the overall set-up/execution/completion of the turn. Where before the car would roll, settle, and continue through-out the curve with an 'on-the-edge' feeling. The Koni/H&R set up eliminates the dive (mostly) by way of the increased compression valving and (of course) the increased spring rate. The best experience though is felt with a much more solid turn-in feel (with 80% of the previous roll-in eliminated). Combined (decreased roll and dive), the chassis now allows for (what feels like) more contact with the surface of the tire against the road's surface (opposed a tire which feels as though it's rolled over onto its side-wall). Secondly, the squat (which this e36/7-8 chassis is well known for) under acceleration is nearly totally eliminated. Beautifully, this set-up will benefit anyone interested in auto-xing his or her car. The reason why the elimination of rear squat is of particular concern has less to do with the increased weight transfer to the rear under acceleration (which helps this chassis, in fact) and more to do with the 'jostling' effect of the balance between the front and rear ends of the car. If this car were to be used for drag's, I'd stay with the stock suspension... as the rear end benefits from the added weight transfer to the rear under acceleration. But, for auto-x, I personally prefer a balanced chassis that prefers to stay more neutral under acceleration and braking. Ask Marcel.... I seem to drive with either full gas or brake on. This is a weakness of mine for Auto-X.... something this new suspension set-up will help disguise
(a fact which makes me respect those who run full stock suspension set-ups.. as it takes a lot more to control a car and keep it smooth!...Prop's).
So, over the last few months of owning this car, I've come to realize the stock suspension is it's major weakness (a contributing factor to it being ranked in the SuperGrandTouring 3 class with an 81.5% rating in SCCA's Solo II classification system). As such, simply chipping this car and re-working it's suspension makes it a killer in this class, where in fact it attains too many 'Pip points' for modifications and requires it to be bumped to the top of the SuperGrandTouring 2 class with an 89% rating!! (A testament to it's weak stock suspension and purposefully restricted ECU.... both easily fixable!!) Thus, pitting it against stock BMW Z8's and 98' 911 Turbos!!!
It doesn't end there though.... I even installed the B&B Triflow exhaust system. Nice deep burble from 1500 to 3000RPM's. From 3000-up, the raspy sound comes into play but less annoying than stock, where it's louder (but not obnoxious) race like note carries a hollow Ferrari like’ish sound out the staggered quad slash tips.
See ya'll at the autocross
this coming Sunday, April 10th!!!