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      08-25-2011, 11:39 PM   #1
Drivaar
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Cool Koni FSD Review: Better Ride Quality AND Better Handling -- It's true!!!

I've been asking a lot of questions in the past few weeks about Koni FSDs, and recently I got them installed. So here's my review...

Basically, I can't imagine any better scenario than this:

+ Smoother ride than stock sport shocks on bumps and uneven roads
+ Firmer, more responsive, flatter ride for cornering
+ $650 for 4 shocks (vs. ~1,000 for stock sport shocks if I calculated right)
+ Minimal dive when braking
+ Minimal squat when accelerating

It really is as advertised, and I couldn't quite believe it. I've driven it on some terrible freeways, and all bumps, even severe ones, are much less intrusive now.

And then when you take a corner, the car is so level and responsive, it's stunning. Same thing with quick lane changes or avoidance maneuvers... the car's handling is just very sharp now while being more comfortable!

I am very very impressed. The only question I have about the Koni FSDs is whether they'll be prone to failure, since they are a little more complex than standard shocks. But Koni warrants them for their lifetime as long as you own your car, so I guess I don't need to worry about that.

I guess they have a good patent on the tech, because it seems weird that every car manufacturer is basically directly trading off ride quality vs. handling. As someone else had posted about the FSDs, these are the shocks that should come standard for a luxury sport sedan.

Bottom line: If you want to make the stock sport suspension strictly better, Koni FSDs are really the no-brainer choice if you have $650 + about $300 for install to spare.

I hope this helps anyone who's thinking about getting them. Just go get them!

And thank you so much to everyone who answered my many questions along the way!

Last edited by Drivaar; 08-26-2011 at 11:16 AM.
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      08-25-2011, 11:41 PM   #2
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So how was the buying/install process?
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      08-26-2011, 12:01 AM   #3
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Buying was pretty straightforward... ********* and some other places had it for right around $650 (list is ~$750 IIRC). My only issue with the buying was that the ********* guy said "I'm going to give YOU a very special price" which was actually a tad higher than listed on the web site, and then explained it as "That's because the price on the web site is wrong... this is the right price, but I"ll give you special two-day shipping"... but it was actually sent by ground and took a week to arrive. Not a huge deal in my case, but just a little odd. It wouldn't keep me from ordering from them again, but I might ask a few more clarifying questions.

Install was very simple -- found a good place locally to install that had strong Yelp reviews. Quotes for install ranged WIDELY, from $650 down to $250! Interestingly, the larger places were typically the ones that were priced very high -- they never do suspension work (and you can bet they've never seen an FSD before), and basically live off of inspection, oil change, and tire fees. You can tell they have no idea about suspension work because they'll look up the book for shocks and say it takes 6 hours to change them, at their hourly rate, so you get $600+. They are obviously incompetent.

The smaller places that are dedicated to performance tuning / modders / racers know that a shock swap is pretty easy, and price accordingly. Takes about 2-3 hours. And it's nice to have someone with prior experience working on your shocks installing them on your car.

Last edited by Drivaar; 08-26-2011 at 12:08 AM.
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      08-26-2011, 04:23 AM   #4
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Yeah, they're pretty good. Maybe a little exaggerated. I had them on for about 10K miles and they felt the same when I sold them.

Your review sounds more like when you get coilovers installed. My car felt hardly any different with FSD's. With coilovers, my car is transformed...
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      08-26-2011, 07:10 AM   #5
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gizmo: Heh, I think the Tirerack review (though with an E46) nails it:
http://www.tirerack.com/suspension/tests/koni_fsd.jsp

In the test, the car goes from 6.80 to 7.39 in ride comfort and 6.49 to 7.65 in overall track rating.

I think the scale really isn't quite linear in the sense that you can't really ever get to 8 or 9 in a realistic way. So the .6 improvement in ride comfort (almost 10%) feels like more than that. The 18% improvement in track rating also matches what I'd say... it's sharper, but not razor sharp. But it's great for me because I am very biased in the direction of comfort now.

I just don't care for all the jolts and bumps, and I want my passengers to be comfy too.

Thanks for the info about your shocks being about the same after 10K miles. That's good to know!
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      08-26-2011, 10:17 AM   #6
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I have the FSD's paired up with some H&R sports. It is a much better overall ride. The same bumps that use to throw my car around a bit on the sport package, now get "eaten up" by the selective dampening. It's a great product.

On a side note, I'm parting out my car and have my set for sale! Pm me.

Koni FSD + H&R sports for $350 (About 10k miles on this setup)
Located in SoCal and no shipping!
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      08-26-2011, 10:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drivaar View Post
********* guy said "I'm going to give YOU a very special price" which was actually a tad higher than listed on the web site, and then explained it as "That's because the price on the web site is wrong... this is the right price, but I"ll give you special two-day shipping"...
they pulled the same bullshit with me regarding a stud conversion

i told them to blow it out their ass. till this day they still haven't corrected their "wrong" website price.

Last edited by tofu-; 08-30-2011 at 03:46 PM. Reason: stud conversion kit, not spacers
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      08-26-2011, 11:51 AM   #8
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I installed FSDs on my 335i with sport suspension about a year ago. The improvement in handling on smooth surfaces is subtle but they really come into their own on poor road surfaces. They make a huge difference in the way the car handles pot holes, construction plates, frost heaves, etc.

I had no issue with the way the stock dampers, or the RFTs for that matter, handled the smooth roads of South Florida. When I had the car shipped to NYC the combination of the stock sport suspension dampers and the RFTs simply did not work on the war ravaged roads of NYC and the surrounding area.

I would highly recommend the FSTs to anyone who has an issue with the ride quality of the rather poorly sorted out stock sport suspension. Other than the cost there seems to be no downside with going with the FSDs.

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      08-26-2011, 12:30 PM   #9
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captainaudio: I agree whoelheartedly! On smooth surfaces, it doesn't really matter what you have. But on ravaged roads, the FSDs really shine!
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      08-26-2011, 12:39 PM   #10
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Buying was pretty straightforward... ********* and some other places had it for right around $650 (list is ~$750 IIRC). My only issue with the buying was that the ********* guy said "I'm going to give YOU a very special price" which was actually a tad higher than listed on the web site, and then explained it as "That's because the price on the web site is wrong... this is the right price, but I"ll give you special two-day shipping"... but it was actually sent by ground and took a week to arrive. Not a huge deal in my case, but just a little odd. It wouldn't keep me from ordering from them again, but I might ask a few more clarifying questions.

Interesting.. I had a similar experience with them with regards to shipping, which took forever, and then getting a replacement for a defective part, which also took over a week and me calling them every day I would definately NOT recommend BavX

Glad you're enjoying your FSD's; you sure did alot of research prior to buying I'm enjoying the slightly firmer, quicker, connected, predictable feel of the Sports v. the FSD's
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      08-27-2011, 10:18 AM   #11
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Appears we have two threads the same, running in parallel....

Wondered where my post had gone... but it is in the other one.

It is like having two conversations and wondering if we are really paying attention to either one.

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      08-27-2011, 10:59 AM   #12
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I have to whole heartily agree, after having the FSD's for a few months now, its a great strut. Its really true about the mid corner bumps not upsetting the car. The Tire Rack review was spot on in my opinion.
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      08-27-2011, 05:10 PM   #13
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Quite frankly if I had not gotten the FSDs I would have gotten rid of the car and I would not have cared how much money I lost, The stock suspension with the RFTs was garbage and IMO BMW has a huge set of balls pawning it off as an "Ultimate Driving Machine". "Undriveable Driving Machine" would have been more accurate.

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      08-28-2011, 09:43 AM   #14
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HighlandPete: sorry for the double threads -- I had started one in the General section also, just coz I bet a lot of people there (like me) would never have considered a suspension change because a degradation of ride quality would result.

jwong77: I wholeheartedly agree... actually that same Tire Rack review (http://www.tirerack.com/suspension/tests/koni_fsd.jsp) was what got me really looking into the FSDs as something I might buy.

captainaudio: Well, it's all relative. Out of all stock cars, the BMW sport suspension is a pretty good compromise of ride and handling. But I get what you're saying... I find it stupid that there's an aftermarket part that's cheaper and more capable in every way than the stock part. Except, I would bet, reliability. For parts that constantly move a lot like a shock, the chances of failure have to rise exponentially as the number of sub-components increases...

cvc 22349a: Heh, yes I did a lot of research... just seemed too good to be true, so I was quite suspicious. But from my own experience now I can see that it really is just that good. The perfect choice for someone who wants something like more comfort and flatter handling.
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      08-28-2011, 03:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drivaar View Post
captainaudio: Well, it's all relative. Out of all stock cars, the BMW sport suspension is a pretty good compromise of ride and handling. But I get what you're saying... I find it stupid that there's an aftermarket part that's cheaper and more capable in every way than the stock part. Except, I would bet, reliability. For parts that constantly move a lot like a shock, the chances of failure have to rise exponentially as the number of sub-components increases...
.
Well we can agree to disagree because I feel very strongly that the BMW 3 Series Sport Suspension is poorly engineered and poorly sorted out. It is a lousy compromise because the ride quality sucks and the handling is mediocre at best in the real world environment that the cars are driven in,

I am by no means the only one that feels this way, Google "Pothole Explosions"

I recently drove from Manhattan to Lime Rock in a friends Cayman S. I take exactly the same route almost every weekend in my 335i and have driven it with the stock RFTs and dampers, with non-RFTs and the stock dampers and with non-RFTs and Koni FSDs. The Cayman handled potholes and irregularities at least as well, if not better than my 335i in its present state and an order of magintude better than when it was it stock form. So much for the "That the price you pay for good handling" theory,

There is an excellent post on this forum that explains the issue with the stock suspension very clearly.

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=401537
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      08-29-2011, 01:05 AM   #16
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captainaudio: I'm not disagreeing... I was just saying compared to other cars of lower or equal price (say a G35, IS 350, 350z, or S4), the BMW sport suspension is a good compromise. Comparing to more expensive cars isn't quite fair, no?

Anyway, I agree the stock suspension's got issues. Especially on sharp bumps. That's where I see the biggest improvement with the FSDs. There are some very sharp speed bumps now that used to be nasty, but now they are very reasonable. And normal shallower speed bumps are just pleasant.

Some people might call is "disconnected" not to feel every little bump on the road, but I think it's actually great because you still get the nice loaded feeling on the steering. No one really needs to know that they went over a penny here or there. (And that is really not an exaggeration with the stock shocks... you really can feel such things and I suppose that is a little cool, but uncomfortable on non-perfect roads!)
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      08-29-2011, 03:37 AM   #17
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..Anyway, I agree the stock suspension's got issues. Especially on sharp bumps. That's where I see the biggest improvement with the FSDs. There are some very sharp speed bumps now that used to be nasty, but now they are very reasonable. And normal shallower speed bumps are just pleasant.

Some people might call is "disconnected" not to feel every little bump on the road, but I think it's actually great because you still get the nice loaded feeling on the steering. No one really needs to know that they went over a penny here or there. (And that is really not an exaggeration with the stock shocks... you really can feel such things and I suppose that is a little cool, but uncomfortable on non-perfect roads!)
Similar thoughts to myself.

BMW have tended to place primary ride control, over secondary ride comfort. Wasn't always as extreme, firm yes, but never the way it has become in the last 8 or so years. Problem is we need near perfect roads for that sort of set up, then add the fashion for big rims and rubber band tires and we have a recipe for very poor road feel.

One of our top UK motors magazines ran a blog on "handling vs. ride comfort", and it was clear many drivers still put 'fashion over form' and will put up with poor driving dymanics in a quest for this 'pseudo' form of handling on big rims.

The modern fashion for over firm rides, do not give real handling improvements, in normal driving situations, as Kevin Bird (highly respected here in the UK) has rightly highlighted and developed and built a proper solution. For me, I want a fluid drive with total predictability, the OEM offerings are not giving that these days, in a sport setup. So easy to go outside the working envelope, just on our average daily drives.

I know there are situations where we may 'fancy' perfect feedback, but most of us are using our cars for the daily drive, carrying passengers as well. Compromises have to be made, (on any suspension setup) but making a car into a Go-Kart, is not my idea of a road car which has to do everything, on all kinds of roads.

So other than a fully developed system like Kevin's offering, the Koni FSD is, IMO, the simplest change to get most benefit.

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      08-29-2011, 10:08 AM   #18
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HighlandPete: Yeah, I agree completely. It's a personal choice for sure, but I think if you don't have smooth roads it's just not worth the trouble. From time to time I see someone in an extremely lowered car and it's just comical to watch how much the chassis is punished for every road imperfection.

Most passengers also really appreciate a smoother ride... if you can get flatter cornering at the same time, all the better, as it keeps them from swaying if you're turning a little harder.

I agree that Kevin Bird's setup is great. I don't know enough about sway bars to really comment on why one wouldn't do that (strengthen sway bar and soften springs) more often.
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      08-29-2011, 01:59 PM   #19
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..I agree that Kevin Bird's setup is great. I don't know enough about sway bars to really comment on why one wouldn't do that (strengthen sway bar and soften springs) more often.
Sounds an easy solution, but there are some negatives including reducing the sensitivity to single wheel bumps, and of course rear wheel lift off in cornering. So it gets a bit more complex and requires really well balanced spring and damper rates. Also you really do need to get away from electronic TC and get back to a mechanical LSD. We are back to a set of compromises again, the nature of tuning suspensions.

Personally I sense this is where variable damper control comes into play, easier to do things electronically, than develop a more advanced passive system. Simply switch to the ride mode you fancy.

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      08-29-2011, 02:53 PM   #20
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captainaudio: I'm not disagreeing... I was just saying compared to other cars of lower or equal price (say a G35, IS 350, 350z, or S4), the BMW sport suspension is a good compromise. Comparing to more expensive cars isn't quite fair, no?

Anyway, I agree the stock suspension's got issues. Especially on sharp bumps. That's where I see the biggest improvement with the FSDs. There are some very sharp speed bumps now that used to be nasty, but now they are very reasonable. And normal shallower speed bumps are just pleasant.

Some people might call is "disconnected" not to feel every little bump on the road, but I think it's actually great because you still get the nice loaded feeling on the steering. No one really needs to know that they went over a penny here or there. (And that is really not an exaggeration with the stock shocks... you really can feel such things and I suppose that is a little cool, but uncomfortable on non-perfect roads!)
Not only do I want to know if I ran over a penny, I want to know the date it was minted

The FSDs are nice for a replacement shock for street/DD - I will recommend them - but I felt a more significant difference in solving the "disconnected" syndrome by adding the M3 tension struts and Michelin PSS.
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      08-29-2011, 07:26 PM   #21
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Haha, nice line about the penny.

I agree, Michelin PSS is a great tire... I've got them on now too.
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      08-30-2011, 12:43 PM   #22
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i just picked up some H&R sports for the e92 and have FSDs in the mail, this thread reassures my purchase decision!! thanks so much.

can anyone post profile shots with what the HR Sports/FSD combo provides?
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