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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > All-Wheel-Drive (Xi / xDrive) Talk > Bilstein Sport + H&R installed, reviewed. Mandatory crappy phone pics included.



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      06-27-2012, 10:03 AM   #1
SilverEmu
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Bilstein Sport + H&R installed, reviewed. Mandatory crappy phone pics included.

[Edited - added rolling shot ]
I realize that I am not the most qualified person to provide a suspension review, but since I had the chance to do my purchase based on the opinions found on the forum, I decided to provide my contribution as well. Please take it as it is, a personal, subjective and not extremely technical take on the matter.

Back to the subject....we all know how the factory xi suspension rides and looks (in that order). Incented enough by this, I started looking at my options and discovered that there are not that many. Based on Doyle's generous input, I looked at Koni Sport and its derivates (TCK and HPA coilovers). I have also looked at AST and KW and of course, I have considered the shocks & springs combos. Due to a combination of mostly subjective factors (logistics - me=Canada based, price, stock levels, my ability to find vendors on the web, forum reading) I stopped at xDrive specific Bilstein Sport (a brand I personally trust & a technology that has decent reviews) and H&R Sport. I looked at Eibach ProKit as well, since it has good coverage on the forums and it seems to work very well for a good number of people, but being paranoid about using xDrive specific products (the ProKit that is available in NA #2092.140 seems to be RWD, in Europe they seem to have a different part for the AWD with different permissible axle load numbers), I settled on xDrive specific H&R Sport (#50494). The adjustability offered by coilovers (in terms of height & potentially damping) was not important for me and the price was good, better by far than any coilover option that works for us. As I said, I was pretty comfortable with the brands and the quality of the products I chose.

I am also fortunate to have some experience with the RWD platform in LCI E90 form (Sport/MSport suspension), so I have a good comparison base.

So, in terms of ride, what I noticed so far (suspension was installed yesterday, so I only have ~200km on it. I am also on RFT.):
- cornering is, as expected, flatter, with no drama and extremely low body roll. Much better than before and actually better that the Sport Suspension RWD car I had before.
- steering...oh, I am driving a BMW again. Seriously, when I switched to xDrive I was surprised to see that the tight steering that was the BMW signature was under that level of sedation. I thought that because of the front wheels being driven, the steering requires a different type of calibration and I was reluctantly accepting it...but boy, is it ever back! Tight, firm, responsive, the way it should be.
- comfort - it is obviously stiff. I know I have a good tolerance (given the advantages!) to a firm suspension and I do not mind it at all, but I can see why some people might not like it. A switch to non-RFT will alleviate the problem, but as I said, I am just fine with it. It feels clearly firmer than the sport suspension on the RWD.
- damping - appropriate. Keep in mind, Bilstein Sports are monotube. You feel the cracks in the pavement (no problems with that in my book). The bigger surface variations feel fine so far, with no crashing (for the lack of a better word). On my drive to work, there is a small ditch across the entire lane that used to be absorbed pretty well by my standard xDrive suspension. I am glad to report it does not feel significantly different. That is just a small example, obviously more time is needed to judge it.

Looks:
- Rear looks slammed. Front is 1.2 inches lower than standard xDrive suspension (measured 15" from the center of the wheel to the fender before the install, I have 13.8" now) and I know it will settle further, not sure how much - so far, it is as advertised by H&R. It looks [subjectively] lower than the Sport Suspension I had on the RWD before in the front, and clearly lower in the back. I have 19X9 wheels in the back, wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza RE050 RFT (OEM) and there is very little room between the tire and the fender. Not planning on any spacers yet (I just don't like the idea) so it's all good in terms of clearance.

To conclude, I am happy. Waiting for the excitement to inevitably wear out but I am sure I will still enjoy the benefits of the upgrade later on. Will do an alignment after a month or so, as my daily driving is not that extensive and I want to make sure all is settled in properly before.
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Last edited by SilverEmu; 06-29-2012 at 09:11 PM.
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      06-27-2012, 10:38 AM   #2
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Good review. Someday I'll pull the trigger in these!
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      06-27-2012, 12:58 PM   #3
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That drop is perfect!
I wish the Eibach springs lowered the front that much.
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      06-27-2012, 02:41 PM   #4
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I have the same setup and really hate the rake look im going to switch to kw1 once my shocks and springs wears out... Kinda regret getting it because kw1 are just couple hundred bux more..
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      06-27-2012, 08:51 PM   #5
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Nice review, please keep the feedback coming. I have had this exact setup in the garage waiting to be installed for over a month. Just need some time to get it put in!
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      06-27-2012, 11:11 PM   #6
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nice setup, LOVE those wheels.
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      06-28-2012, 07:38 AM   #7
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Thanks for the feedback guys! Drove a little more yesterday and the positives continue to amass - both in terms of control and damping. Happy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by klov335 View Post
I have the same setup and really hate the rake look im going to switch to kw1 once my shocks and springs wears out... Kinda regret getting it because kw1 are just couple hundred bux more..
Not sure how this dreaded "rake" is being measured, but if you count on the visuals (wheel gap differential between front and rear), looks can be deceiving. On a flat surface, I measured the ground clearance right behind the front wheel and right in front of the rear wheel and I got 6" - so no rake, either way. Am I doing something wrong? I know that was not incredibly scientific....

But then again, my springs are still settling. I will wait and see.

Last edited by SilverEmu; 06-28-2012 at 04:54 PM.
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      06-28-2012, 11:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverEmu
Thanks for the feedback guys! Drove a little more yesterday and the positives continue to amass - both in terms of control and dampening. Happy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by klov335 View Post
I have the same setup and really hate the rake look im going to switch to kw1 once my shocks and springs wears out... Kinda regret getting it because kw1 are just couple hundred bux more..
Not sure how this dreaded "rake" is being measured, but if you count on the visuals (wheel gap differential between front and rear), looks can be deceiving. On a flat surface, I measured the ground clearance right behind the front wheel and right in front of the rear wheel and I got 6" - so no rake, either way. Am I doing something wrong? I know that was not incredibly scientific....

But then again, my springs are still settling. I will wait and see.
Generally rake it measured from the center of the roundel on the wheel to the fender. Then compare the measurements front to back. Looking at your pics it does look like you have much (if any) of a rake.

Glad you're still liking the ride!
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      06-28-2012, 12:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zipstic View Post
Generally rake it measured from the center of the roundel on the wheel to the fender. Then compare the measurements front to back. Looking at your pics it does look like you have much (if any) of a rake.
Thanks for clarifying.

When measured like that, I got (as of this morning) 13.75" in the front and 13" in the rear. What I was trying to say was that, even with that difference, the ground clearance front and back is the same (6").

Regardless, it seems purely aesthetic (and the difference is not material, anyway) so I am not at all worried .
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      06-28-2012, 12:39 PM   #10
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The drop looks good. Do you have a picture of the whole car? I have the Eibach springs and while I like it, I like the ride height of the H&R springs on the front much better.
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      06-28-2012, 02:27 PM   #11
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Do you know where the cheapest place to buy the springs and shocks are? I plan on installing this exact setup, and the cheapest I could find was $221.40 for the springs from ECS and $197.95 for front shocks and $103.45 for rear shocks from Bavarian Autosport.
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      06-28-2012, 02:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tate325xi View Post
Do you know where the cheapest place to buy the springs and shocks are? I plan on installing this exact setup, and the cheapest I could find was $221.40 for the springs from ECS and $197.95 for front shocks and $103.45 for rear shocks from Bavarian Autosport.
Usually Turner Motorsport has a package deal with the Bilstein and H&R springs. Occasionally there is 10% off.
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      06-28-2012, 02:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tate325xi View Post
Do you know where the cheapest place to buy the springs and shocks are? I plan on installing this exact setup, and the cheapest I could find was $221.40 for the springs from ECS and $197.95 for front shocks and $103.45 for rear shocks from Bavarian Autosport.
That's close to what I paid. Bavauto prices on Bilsteins are the best, if I am not mistaken.

Last edited by SilverEmu; 06-28-2012 at 03:01 PM.
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      06-28-2012, 09:32 PM   #14
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Car looks fantastic! I want to get this setup too.
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      06-29-2012, 10:19 AM   #15
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do you have a link from where you ordered these from?
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      06-29-2012, 12:58 PM   #16
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I bought my dampers and springs a while ago, so I am not sure those places still have the best prices.

If you check the Sponsors section, you can find a lot of vendors carrying H&R, pretty sure you can work a sweet deal:

http://www.e90post.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=203

Bilstein Sport dampers - Turner Motorsport or Bavarian Autosport carry them, just make sure you get the xi parts numbers.

If you still have troubles finding these vendors online, PM me and I will send you the links - as I don't think they are forum sponsors.

Last edited by SilverEmu; 06-29-2012 at 01:07 PM.
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      06-29-2012, 02:57 PM   #17
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I have a friend with the H&Rs on Konis, and the rear is dumped post settle. There is actually a tuck on the rears, even without anyone in the car, but not up front.

Great review.
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      06-29-2012, 09:13 PM   #18
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Added a rolling shot to the first post - in all her Ruby Black splendor...

Rake? What rake?

Yeah, I noticed the rear sits pretty low on the H&R, but it seems stable so far...still @ 13" rear and 13.75" front. No tuck yet. Still stoked with the ride, the Bilsteins are doing a good job - as expected.

Last edited by SilverEmu; 06-29-2012 at 09:19 PM.
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      06-29-2012, 09:36 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverEmu View Post
I bought my dampers and springs a while ago, so I am not sure those places still have the best prices.

If you check the Sponsors section, you can find a lot of vendors carrying H&R, pretty sure you can work a sweet deal:

http://www.e90post.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=203

Bilstein Sport dampers - Turner Motorsport or Bavarian Autosport carry them, just make sure you get the xi parts numbers.

If you still have troubles finding these vendors online, PM me and I will send you the links - as I don't think they are forum sponsors.
Cool, thanks. I'm going to do the springs immediately, and do the shocks in a month or two, as my stock ones still have a bit of compression left.
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      06-29-2012, 10:44 PM   #20
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This review really has me considering the HR sports, I was pretty set on the eibach pros, but now im not so sure....
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      06-30-2012, 04:22 AM   #21
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Very nice!!
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      06-30-2012, 10:09 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tate325xi View Post
Cool, thanks. I'm going to do the springs immediately, and do the shocks in a month or two, as my stock ones still have a bit of compression left.
Why spend themoney on labor twice (or do it twice)? Just wait the month and do it together, and pay one time rather than two.
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