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      07-12-2018, 10:42 PM   #1
E90Dave
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Drives: 2008 loaded DCT M3 MINT
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: NY

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E9X M3 ST XTA Coilover review

The E92 ranks amongst my favorite chassis of all time. The M3 was the pinnacle of Motorsport perfection, and still battles amongst the big players today.

The M3 is poised, balanced, and greatest of all - connected to the road like a gluey, gooey and sticky R compound tire on an F1 chassis.

This is my 4th E92 M3, and boy I couldn’t be happier. This ZCP coupe with 31,000 Miles is absolutely mint. Equipped with H and R race springs (which are now for sale XD) I quickly found the stock suspensions shortfalls; the soft and supple rude. That dreaded floaty feeling which makes the most unflappable chassis feel - less planted and confidence inspiring. I knew I needed some better damping and a stiffer spring rate.

Little bit of background as a break here - I’ve had the top of the top suspensions before on my 2+ dozen performance vehicles. Moton Clubsport, Ohlins TTX, JRi, Tein Super Racing Circuit, AST, etc. I know what a good damper should feel like. Well, maybe. Lol

I was skimming the forums inquiring about different suspensions and doing my research and came across a very interesting combo - the ST XTA. Seeing as these twin tube dampers are crafted in Germany alongside KW (sister company), I think it’s safe to say the parts are the same. From what I understand, they’re a hybrid of sorts. KW V2 and Clubsport. The front is stiff and linear, but the tears are progressive.

Nonetheless, one glowing review was enough for me to take the dive on a very lightly used set of these for under $1,000.

Fast forward a week and a half, and they’re installed at my local speed shop.

Wow. First things first - I’m the first to call out a bad damper. I had some BC BR installed on an M6 a few years back and almost vomited from the pathetic attempt at creating a coilover. Stiff, valved poorly, and skipped over any slight bump. Mid corner steady state also sucked as the car never felt “settled”. I also installed some Koni Yellows on an S197 once, and that was just as bad. Poorly damped.

Let’s get this out of the way first - they do NOT ride more “comfy” than stock. I don’t care what anyone says. A good shock will still retain some comfort, but by nature, it’s valved stiffer. These are no different. They soak up bumps and don’t unsettle, but they’re not a 7 series cruiser by any means. I started at half stiffness.

Corner 1: Much improved body control. Body motion on initial turn in is firm and planted, and gone is that dreaded floaty body feeling. They’re not valved too stuff where they are affected by undulations, but just right. This first corner was a tight sweeper. Taken normally at 38-39, I was promptly at 40 with far more precision and body management. The chassis finally felt “one” with the body. Steering was also noticeably more communicative.

Corner 2: Long 60 MPH sweeper. As I put more stress on these coilovers attempting to find flaws like I always do, I could not. My last set of TCK DA coilovers were definitely undersprung or undervalved, as they didn’t inspire confidence like a sport coilover should IMO. That’s not to say they were bad, but if I’m upgrading a stock comfy suspension I had better get something that feels utterly solid. These did not. I digress. The STs however extend confidence, stability, accuracy, and a “no roll attitude”. They did have a bit of softness when approaching high speeds, so it was time to tune them in.

I got to a lot, and stiffened them up. 2 clicks harder on the rear and 3 in front. Now we’re talking!

Back to a couple of switchbacks and hard sweepers and they feel even better. They’re control is excellent.

You can however, feel their slightly soft rear springs when you hit a small bump around a corner and the rear ever so slightly is a bit “slower” to react.

All of this being said, I was determined to take these at truly a high rate of speed. There are several off ramps in central Florida which are perfect for testing suspensions (banks, opposite banks, smooth road, rough road, etc).

I hit a turn which started as a sweeper and then gets progressively tighter and then straightens out a bit. I hit this corner HARD. Initially I came in hot at 55 and the car kept its composure. The Michelin super sport tires were biting hard into the pavement. As the corner got tighter I quickly lifted off the throttle to let the suspension do its job. Wow. 49 MPH in this tight, tight smooth ramp. The car was rolling ever so slightly. The kind of roll which allows the tires to dig for even more grip as they’re forced into the ground.

On exit, I rolled into the throttle and that dreary understeer was gone. The body stayed flat and ready to do its job.

Let’s conclude this way-too-Long review. These coilovers for their price are simply put, a no brainer. I wouldn’t hesitate to put these on a spirited DD or a light track car.

While they do have their limits, I feel as if the MPSS tire had a limit before these did!
__________________
2008 E92 M3 - loaded and mint
2007 E60 M5 - black on black and mint
2014 BE GTR - quadruple digits
2003 Quad Cab Silverado 1500 - Beast truck
2013 Audi RS5 - the "shared" DD
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