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20 suspension setups for BMW M3 (Best price) Ultimate guide to learning springs and coilovers

From lowering springs to coilovers kits, it can get a bit overwhelming. Here's the ultimate guide to learning the variety of suspension setups out there for all generation M3s! Lower your car for a new look or go all out for a track setup. All links below can take you to our partner websites to save money on your orders. Code "M3List" can save you $ when you order a suspension setup on any link below.


Make sure you ask yourself what you're trying to do. If you want a quality ride along with aggressive track driving, or just a lowered look but don't mind stiffness, etc. Each thought will help you balance out a budget and desired feel when shopping for suspension. Grab a coffee and educate yourself below on all the setups that are the most popular for BMW M3's.


Happy browsing and have fun learning!

  1. KW Suspension

For over 20 years, KW automotive has been the market leader and driving innovation as a manufacturer of individual suspension solutions for the road and in all types of motorsports. No matter where in the world, gearheads, automobile manufacturers, and reputable tuners rely on the KW coilovers "Made in Germany".

You are not buying a mass produced, generic coilover kit, a KW coilover has been developed specifically for your particular vehicle. As a manufacturer, KW uses only its own resources, high quality components and the damper technology that has all developed in-house.


Every KW coilover kit undergoes extensive stress testing before production and is developed and manufactured exclusively in the KW company headquarters in Fichtenberg, a small in town in Germany, to meet the high standards of the KW quality management. For them as a German manufacturer, it goes without saying that their KW coilover kits will exceed the original equipment manufacturer quality, and offer useful and innovative solutions. With an application list comprising more than 4,600 options KW guarantees an outstanding selection backed by their Limited Lifetime Warranty.

The KW Variant 1 "Inox-line" coilover kit is our entry point into our street performance lineup. Thanks to the high-quality "Inox-line" stainless steel coilover struts, corrosion resistant springs, bumps stops and dampers that are optimally tuned by our engineers the result is a balanced and sporty feel specific to each vehicle application designed for long lasting driving pleasure.


The KW Variant 1 "inox-line" coilover allows you to experience an optimized balance of sportiness and comfort while driving. Even with a maximum vehicle load, the dampers always maintain a sporty characteristic.

The KW Variant 2 "inox-line" coilovers are the perfect solution for drivers who want more than just outstanding looks and adjustable ride height. In addition to the stainless steel coilover struts, and corrosion-resistant components built for long term durability, the KW Variant 2 coilovers give you the ability to adjust the rebound damping characteristics with 16 clicks of adjustment allowing the fine tuning of the ride comfort or performance to their satisfaction.


The KW Variant 3 "inox-line" coilover kit is the ideal tool for performance-oriented drivers and experienced tuning enthusiasts who place a strong emphasis on the overall performance of their suspension. The Variant 3 features patented TVR-A and TVC-A technology that provides separately adjustable rebound and compression damping.


The extensive adjustment range of the independently configurable rebound and compression make it easy to directly influence the steering behavior, directional stability, grip and handling characteristics for confident and repeatable results at the limit of driving dynamics.


Cutting-edge motorsports technology for more performance on the road. With independently adjustable compression and rebound damping the Variant 3 damper setup can be tuned to your own driving preferences or vehicle modifications such as weight, tire characteristics or additional chassis bracing. True performance optimization is only possible with this unique, patented system.

For example, the compression damping force can be increased to optimize grip from the tires, or improve cornering behavior and reduce squat without influencing the rebound damping characteristics that are optimally tuned to the spring rate.


Click here to see pricing for KW Suspension Coilovers for BMW M3

Code M3List saves $!


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2. ST Suspensions Coilover XTA Coilovers



For those who demand the absolute best performance comes the ST XTA coilover. The full driving behavior of your car can be adjusted using KW damper technology along with an adjustable aluminum uniball top mount for fine-tuning of the camber and caster!

Performance driving in mind

ST XTA coilovers feature KW damping technology which allows the suspension to be made either stiffer or softer depending on the driving conditions. This damping adjustment is made on the upper end of the chromed piston rod allowing the setup to be changed almost instantly. If the rebound force is increased, the car will drive with more track stability and reduced bodyroll. If the rebound force is decreased, the car will feel more comfortable when on the move. For increased performance, the ST XTA features an aluminum adjustable topmount allowing the camber and caster to be adjusted depending on your driving needs or vehicle setup.

Easy lowering adjustment

Like all ST coilovers the lowering adjustment is made via a continuous thread on the galvanized strut. This even allows the lowering to be made when the kit is installed by turning the spring plate higher or lower! NOTE: The lowering of each vehicle differs greatly with ST XTA coilovers due to the type of construction. For example, older vehicles such as the Honda Civic (EJ9) can be lowered between 40-75mm with ST XTA coilovers, while newer models such as the Audi S3 (8P) can be lowered between 10-40mm due to being much lower from the factory. KW Engineering: Exclusive for ST suspension

The high-quality ST XTA coilover is based on the twin-tube damping principle of low friction combined with pressure-resistant damper housings. Manufactured directly at KW, a mono block guide and seal package reduces the friction of the damper as well as protecting it against corrosion and dirt. Each galvanized strut is sealed multiple times to ensure maximum longevity in ALL weather conditions.

  • Latest damping technology for maximum longevity

  • Reduced system friction for effective damping adjustment

  • Individual lowering within the TÜV-tested adjustment range

  • Front and rear axle (when possible) with thread adjustment

  • Galvanized coilover struts with additional coating for an optimized corrosion protection

  • Complete solution with adjustable spring plate, race spring system and bumpers with dust protection

  • Aluminum adjustable uniball top mounts (when possible)

  • Scaled camber adjustment (optionally also caster)

  • Externally adjustable damping ST SUSPENSIONS - SPRING STRUT CONSTRUCTION ST SUSPENSIONS - DAMPER BASICS FUNCTIONAL PRINCIPLE OF TWIN TUBE SHOCK ABSORBERS



With a Twin-Tube shock absorber, the piston works inside of an inner tube. The space between the inner tube and the casing is used as an equalization chamber. Changes in volume due to the position of the piston rod change the oil level in the equalization chamber between the outer casing and inner tube.

Compression phase:

When the car swings downwards in the direction to the road, the piston rod is moved downwards.The oil displaced by the piston rod is pressed into the equalization chamber between the tubes via specially designed orifices in the compression valve at the lower end of the inner tube. The resistance that is created through this valve creates the actual compression forces. Oil underneath the piston also flows upwards through the piston check valve with low resistance which also influences the damper characteristics.

Rebound phase:

When the car swings upwards, away from the road, the shock absorber is extended. The piston rod is extending outward from the housing. The rebound phase valve at the lower tube resists the oil that flows downwards through the holes in the space above the tube. Therefore, the upward motion is slowed down when the piston rod is pulled out of the case, its volume is balanced out by the oil that flows from the equalization chamber back into the inner tube through the compression check valve. FUNCTIONAL PRINCIPLE OF MONO TUBE SHOCK ABSORBERS

With a one-piston shock absorber, the piston works directly in the damping case. Both the traction and compression phase valve are integrated into the piston at the end of the piston rod. Depending on the velocity with which the shock absorber is compressed or extended, the forces rise. A characteristic is the separating piston that separates the oil from the gas space which is under strong pressure. The gas space balances the oil expansion with temperature differences and volume changes while the piston rod retracts. The separating piston thereby moves upwards and downwards. The gas pressure of 25-30 bar in the separating space is necessary in order to support the damping forces in direction of the pressure direction.

Compression phase:

When the car swings downwards in the direction to the road, the piston rod is moved downwards. The compression phase valve on the top of the valve resists the oil that streams upwards through holes. Therefore, the downward movement is slowed down. The separating piston is thereby lowered by the same degree as the piston and retreats downwards. The gas pressure underneath the separating piston thereby prevents the oils from foaming above the piston. Rebound phase:

When the car swings upwards, away from the road, the shock absorber is extended. Thereby, the piston rod is moving out of the damping case. The rebound phase valve at the lower piston resists the oil that flows downwards through the holes in the space above the piston. Therefore the upward motion is slowed down. The separating piston is thereby lifted upwards by the same degree as the piston extends.


Click here to see recent pricing for ST Coilovers

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3. Ohlins Road & Track Coilovers

With DFV, the dual flow valve gives the same characteristics on rebound as it does on compression, thanks the damper fluid having a consistent path of flow in both directions. This means that the wheel and tire can quickly and effectively resume their important position back on the ground, providing grip and traction. The new Öhlins R&T range uses DFV technology on every single fitment, making it the perfect upgrade for the enthusiast that needs comfort and agility in the one unit. Figure 1: (Compression flow) At low shaft speeds, oil flows mostly through the shaft jet bleed (lower dotted arrow). At higher shaft speeds, oil flows mostly through the compression ports in the piston (upper dotted arrow). At very high shaft speeds, or during sudden shaft accelerations, oil can also escape through the compression ports in the DFV, increasing comfort. Figure 2: (Rebound flow) At low shaft speeds, oil flows mostly through the shaft jet bleed (lower dotted arrow). At higher shaft speeds, oil flows mostly through the rebound ports in the piston (upper dotted arrow). At very high shaft speeds, or during sudden shaft accelerations, oil can also escape through the rebound ports in the DFV, maintaining tire contact with the road.


Because DFV opens more quickly and easily on minor road imperfections, ride comfort is surprisingly supple and more akin to an OEM strut than a coilover set-up. Over undulating surfaces, the compliance of the R&T units allows the car to crest bumps and pot-holes, while still keep stable and in control. Traction is always maintained at its optimum level.


(Vehicle – no DFV) Without DFV the oil can not flow through the piston quickly enough on the rebound stroke after hitting a bump, so the tire is not able to stay in contact with the road.

(Vehicle – DFV technique) The DFV valve opens, letting the oil flow quicker through the piston on the rebound stroke after hitting a bump, enabling the tire to stay in contact with the road.


When adjusting ride height on coilover units, it’s worth comparing how it’s done. On many inferior designs, height is adjusted by raising or lowering the lower spring platform. This has the effect of compressing or extending the spring, which can limit the suspension travel that may cause topping out. The Öhlins method is to leave the spring seat in its perfect position, while the lower flange spins easily on the threaded body, to allow you to adjust with absolute precision while maintaining the perfect characteristics that we took so long to design in! Once you've set it all up, the adjuster simply locks off to maintain your exact settings.

Dampers will get hot. That’s one thing that you can be sure of. As the piston moves within the damper, it generates friction – and therefore, heat. Although we can’t stop heat, we can deal with it, and this is yet another way that Öhlins differs from the competition.


As the heat increases, the viscosity of the damper fluid can change, altering the car’s handling characteristics. Our unique needle bleed valve expands with temperature, closing the gap that the fluid travels through, maintaining a consistent damping rate. The best thing of all? You won’t even notice! All you’ll feel is that the car responds consistently, lap after lap, turn after turn; allowing you to concentrate on braking points and apexes while the Öhlins technology takes care of the damping.


These kits all work well ‘out of the box’, but there’s still plenty of adjustment for you to set things your way. You like stiff and reactive? Or soft and forgiving? It’s all there. Too much low speed rebound damping can have an adverse effect on grip, so the easily accessible adjuster at the base of the Öhlins units allows small, but positive increments of fine tuning, so you can take into account every single parameter. Sounds complicated? Nothing could be further for the truth. Just a few clicks either way from our factory settings will soon have your car responding precisely to your inputs and driving style.


The Road & Track McPherson struts also feature camber adjustable upper and lower mounts to give you the possibility to fine tune your wheels for the right occasion – whether you want to go for a ride in your neighborhood or take your car for a spin at the track on a weekend.


GENERAL FEATURES

  • DFV (Dual Flow Valve)

  • Rebuildable

  • Corrosion salt spray tested (ISO 9227)

  • 2 year limited warranty

  • Height adjustable

FEATURES

  • McPherson strut Front / Conventional Shock Rear

  • Single bleed adjuster

  • Height adjustable (approx. 15 mm lower front / 10mm rear)

  • Coil springs (Rate 60 N/mm Front 120N/mm Rear)

  • Dustcovers

  • Use with original top mounts

Fitment:

NOTE: Suspension is non-returnable

CANCELLATION KIT: For cars equipped OE with electronic adjustable suspension, Öhlins cancellation kit should be used.


Click here to see recent pricing on Ohlins Road & Track Coilovers


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4. H&R F8X M3 / M4 Sport Spring Set


Over the years, H&R has developed a diverse line of products and suspension applications for the street. H&R now produces four different spring product lines, six different coil over product lines, two different Cup Kit product lines, a sway bar program, the largest wheel spacer and adapter program in the industry, along with camber adjustment bolts, our lightweight line of I.D. Race Springs, and the ever popular Quick-Safe Wheel Bolt Stud conversions. Every suspension application is designed to be vehicle specific and all of our products are manufactured and produced to enhance handling potential, personal style, and retain vehicle ride comfort.


All H&R products are 100% made in Germany and exceed ISO quality assurance standards. H&R has an established heritage of industry respect and customer confidence due to the quality of our products, the definitive edge we give our customers vehicles, and the additional benefit of knowing H&R works right out of the box.

Click here to see recent pricing on H&R Lowering Springs


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5. Dinan F8X M3 / M4 Adjustable Coilover Kit


For the driver that demands the best out of their vehicle. The Dinan Adjustable Coil-Over Suspension was bred in the race lab but refined on the street for maximum versatility. No matter the environment, the traction that is bestowed upon the vehicle from the improved suspension will inspire new found confidence when running at higher speeds.

Combined with a substantial reduction in body roll as well as reducing dive under breaking and squat under acceleration. Dinan will guarantee you superior handling, performance, and comfort. Dinans design implements threaded collars to allow the user to change the ride height. The end result is a sleek lowered stance that provides improved handling to go along with its stunning visual appearance.


The springs combined with progressive bump stops and other components increase travel that allows the car to be lowered up to an 1” in the front and 1 1/2" in the rear. Suspension packers are included to fine tune handling and comfort by changing the clearance of the progressive bump-stops, something no respectable racecar is without. Components are machined from 6061-T6 aluminum and black anodized for appearance and corrosion protection.


Benefits of Dinan’s Performance Coil-Over Suspension System:


+ Threaded collars allow easy and precise front & rear vehicle height adjustments. + Up to 1" of lowering in front and 1 1/2" of lowering in back are possible depending on tire clearance although 1/2” drop is recommended in front and back to maintain a civilized ride. + Spring rates are nearly 50% stiffer in front and 10% stiffer in the rear. + Substantial reduction in body roll. + Included suspension packers allow adjustment of bump-stop clearance to fine-tune handling and comfort. + Dinan-spec progressive bump stops improve ride quality at lowered ride heights. + Components are machined from 6061-T6 aluminum and black anodized for a sporty appearance as well as corrosion protection.

+ ONLY Compatible with vehicles NOT equipped with BMW EDC shocks. + Stock upper spring mounts are utilized for quiet operation.


*Note: Due to the extensive lowering possible, and the increased suspension travel, the installer must carefully evaluate tire clearance under all situations. Safety will be compromised if all precautions are not taken. Dinan is not responsible for any property damage or injury.


Click here to see recent pricing on Dinan Adjustable Coilover Kit


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6. H&R E9X M3 Sport Spring Set


Will work on cars with EDC. Lowers car 1.0" F, 0.6" R.

The most popular spring in H&R's line-up, Sport Springs will lower your vehicle an average of 1.5 - 2 inches (depending upon the make and model of your vehicle) for a lower center of gravity, improved handling and a more aggressive appearance. Sport springs feature more control than that of the OE Sport spring, but is still comfortable for daily use. Sport springs are an excellent choice for street and occasional track use.


Click here to see recent pricing on H&R E9X Sport Spring Set


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7. MSS SPORTS ADJUSTABLE FRONT AND REAR E90 | E92 | E93 M3


Our unique dual-stacked, triple-rated springs are proudly European - designed and engineered in the UK, and manufactured in Germany.

Unlike OEM and traditional aftermarket suspension, our two active springs and three separate spring rates deal with a much wider range of situations when driving near the limits. Distinct benefits from the reduced roll and pitch - whether it be dive or a squat - enables you to turn sharper, brake later and accelerate sooner.


Features:

  • Adjustable Ride Height

  • Retain factory Electronic Suspension Functionality

  • Improved Handling and Cornering

System Parts:

  • MSS Ride Adjusters/Couplers

  • MSS Ride Controllers

  • MSS Ride Enhancers

  • MSS Adjuster tool (s)

Click here to see recent pricing on MSS Sports Adjustable

Code "M3List" saves you $!


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8. BILSTEIN B16 PSS10 COILOVERS E90 | E92 | E93 M3


For every route the appropriate setting: The BILSTEIN B16 allows a slowly and individual Approach to various settings for driving experience and driving comfort. Just as individual as you are.


The coilover suspension kit for quick adaption.


This coilover suspension kit offers parallel mechanical setting of rebound and compression by a simple twist of a dial. Ten clicks clearly distinguish each setting, giving you the flexibility to find what setting works best for you in a variety of driving conditions.


ALL BILSTEIN B16. FEATURES AND BENEFITS


  • Quick and easy damping level adjustment

  • Threaded body allows lowering of approximately 30mm to 50mm

  • Robust lightweight design with spring seats and lock rings made from special aluminum alloy

  • Triple-C-Technology® surface coating for long lasting corrosion and resistance

  • Robust round thread for easy adjustability

  • Quality sport springs made from highly durable materials

  • BILSTEIN gas-pressure technolog

  • BILSTEIN upside-down monotube technology available on select applications

  • German TÜV certification

Click here to see recent pricing on Bilstein B16 PSS10 Coilovers

Code "M3List" saves you $!


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9. Air Lift Performance Suspension for BMW


Remember, you get FREE SHIPPING in the US 48 states!!!!

Use code "M3List" to save $! When you purchase a BMW, there are a few things you expect. From the infamous kidney grill to the refined interior–as well as the outstanding detail to luxury and performance–this German automaker has striven to give you the ultimate automotive experience.

While we do agree that BMW builds amazing cars, we do have one question: why, oh why, is there so much wheel gap?! Air Lift Performance set out to conquer the wheel gap problem on the BMW chassis. Of course, there are many different ways to lower your BMW, but what the ALP engineers have put together is the best no-compromise suspension on the market. Gone are the days of a harsh ride, and scraping your car everywhere you go, just to get the low look you are after. Now, you can just push a button to raise and lower the car on demand. With a simple twist of the damping knob you can go from a soft luxurious ride to a stiff race car feel, allowing you to get the most of out your suspension.