This 328i needs to get low!
I'm a huge fan of good handling, limited body roll and of course the looks that come with a lowered car. As such the first modification on the list for our Project 328i was suspension related.
The being an M Sport variant this 328i already came with slightly lowered ride when compared to a Sportline, but unfortunately that wasn't going to cut it. I have a rule that I like to stick to when it comes to lowering cars; eliminate all manner of wheel gap... period.
Broadly, the options available in the marketplace were:
- Lowering Springs
- Sports Lowered Suspension Kit (Springs and Matched Dampers)
- Coilovers (Height and/or Damper Adjustable)
Airbags were crossed out straight away - I just don't need that degree of flexibility. Also given that I purposely bought a 328i without adaptive suspension, opting for lowered springs wasn't necessary either. In fact coilovers were always at the top of my list as I felt the need for enough adjust-ability to set the perfect height is what I wanted.
There isn't really a plan to do any significant track work with this car as I appreciate that it's not really designed for this. Therefore outside of ride height adjustment, having a damper that can support a very occasional track day would suffice. The 328i is used regularly as a daily car, so ride comfort is still a really important feature, and with that in mind finding something with progressive rate springs was also crucial.
So to summarise, the features I wanted for the 328i suspension were as follows:
- Ability to eliminate wheel gap
- Ride height adjustability
- Progressive rate springs
- Less body roll but not crazy stiff.
- High quality springs and dampers
- Good value for money
Given this list of choices I delved into the catalogue from our friends at Vogtland Autosports and found a perfect solution - some F30 Ride height adjustable coilovers with a ride height range of 40 - 60mm in drop.
A little more about this suspension system
As an authorised dealer of Vogtland products and therefore a major advocate you'd be forgiven for thinking that's all I looked at for a suspension solution. But it wasn't quite like that and in fact Vogtland weren't the only option I considered. I also paid a visit to some of the usual suspects in Bilstein, H&R and ST prior to choosing these. Importantly I wanted something German, its a German car and I think a German suspension makes perfect sense.
Going into it I knew the history of Vogtland. They have a long! (111 year) track record in making springs and follow a meticulous process in making them using Chrome-Silicon-Vanadium alloys that are designed to perfectly match the car for which they're intended.
I also knew their process, TUV certification and lastly I knew which other manufacturers use Vogtland springs in their suspension systems. This, coupled with the fact that they offer height adjustment range that exceeds the competition all tallied up to being the right choice.
Vogtland offer a coilover system for F30s in both a ride height adjustable and also both height and damper adjustable options. And in the case of a car with adaptive suspension, there's also a deactivation kit that can be supplied.
The one I used on our Project 328i is the height adjustable only without adaptive suspension deactivation - available here
The results were exactly as I'd hoped, great stance and significantly better on road.
So.... how does it handle and ride?
Since these were important features on our list I want to tell you about the handling and ride.
This is a daily driven car. I put my wife and two kids in it. Apart from it being visually lower I have not once had a complaint from any of my family that the car is "too bumpy, harsh or crashy". In fact every time I have someone join me in the car who knows I run coilovers, more often than not they comment on how it rides very nicely - almost factory like.
As far as handling goes I am 100% happy. Body roll is reduced substantially and the car responds much more to steering input and provides better feedback which is one of the things that a stock F30 is often criticised for.
Feel free to follow our Project Build on Instagram also @FlashtunedF30