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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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      07-01-2012, 06:23 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverEmu
[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.
Great review SilverEmu! I have the exact setup and could not be happier. I hope you continue to enjoy the setup and look forward to your updates.
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      07-01-2012, 06:24 PM   #24
michaelalex17
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i have the same setup as OP if anyone wants to see more pictures you can see them in my thread from awhile back:

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=537587
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      07-07-2012, 08:44 PM   #25
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In for an update.
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      07-09-2012, 11:13 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PowerLex View Post
In for an update.
Another couple hundred kms on it and still positive about the change. The non-confidence inspiring feeling is all gone. I suspect a beefed-up set of sways would help even further with the body roll, but I am perfectly happy with the way it works now.
Steering feels very communicative now and very precise, with immediate response from the car. "Confident" is how I would describe the entire package.

In terms of ride quality - as described before, it feels stiffer, but I did not experience any "crashing" so far - and there is no shortage of bad roads in my area. Nothing to complain about, yet.

Height-wise, it seems to have settled at 13.75" (F) and 13" (R) - distance measured from the center of the wheel to the fender. I am not that concerned about this anyway, but I like how it ended up looking.

All in all, I still think it's a worthy upgrade.
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      07-10-2012, 11:56 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverEmu View Post
Another couple hundred kms on it and still positive about the change. The non-confidence inspiring feeling is all gone. I suspect a beefed-up set of sways would help even further with the body roll, but I am perfectly happy with the way it works now.
Steering feels very communicative now and very precise, with immediate response from the car. "Confident" is how I would describe the entire package.

In terms of ride quality - as described before, it feels stiffer, but I did not experience any "crashing" so far - and there is no shortage of bad roads in my area. Nothing to complain about, yet.

Height-wise, it seems to have settled at 13.75" (F) and 13" (R) - distance measured from the center of the wheel to the fender. I am not that concerned about this anyway, but I like how it ended up looking.

All in all, I still think it's a worthy upgrade.
Good to hear. Thanks!
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      07-10-2012, 12:09 PM   #28
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Nice drop

Any noice? Heard of some people having that...
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      07-10-2012, 12:47 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW_Belgier View Post
Nice drop

Any noice? Heard of some people having that...
Intentionally left the radio off after the install to listen to any potential unusual noises...and ALL IS CLEAR so far, after ~500km (apart from my teeth clatter, JK )

Any noise would have to do with an improper install, I suspect.

Had to take a really bad road today (an old road being in process of being repaired - the worst combo) after my usual route was blocked by a car collision (and the usual police blocking all 4 lanes) and while I know exactly where all the cracks, dips and ridges are, neither me or the new suspension got unsettled in any way. It is firm, just not as harsh as initially feared.
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Last edited by SilverEmu; 07-10-2012 at 10:41 PM. Reason: Added picture
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      07-10-2012, 08:42 PM   #30
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real nice drop. looks better the eibachs. i wish eibach fronts drop little more.
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      07-11-2012, 04:44 AM   #31
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Bilsteins are high pressure monotubes and will have a gas pressure offset both front and rear, raising the ride height maybe 1/4" or so over non-monotubes (like Koni) all other things equal. In addition on the fronts, the design req. means air often initially gets trapped in the strut cavity under the shock body after being fully extended, and this gets burped out over time. So you may see the front settle a little esp when first installed.
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      07-11-2012, 10:54 AM   #32
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I had the same setup on my 2008 xi coupe. Drop looks good but on NJ roads it felt like shit. Wait until you hit a big pothole and it takes your sour from the sound and feel. I was ok for the first 6 months but after the newness wore off I was left with an uncomfortable ride that wife, family, and friends complained about whenever they were passengers. I hope your roads are better and it works out for you. I ordered some eibachs to see if they feel better and have not installed them yet.
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      07-11-2012, 11:24 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaviorXi View Post
I had the same setup on my 2008 xi coupe. Drop looks good but on NJ roads it felt like shit. Wait until you hit a big pothole and it takes your sour from the sound and feel. I was ok for the first 6 months but after the newness wore off I was left with an uncomfortable ride that wife, family, and friends complained about whenever they were passengers. I hope your roads are better and it works out for you. I ordered some eibachs to see if they feel better and have not installed them yet.
The harshness MAY be the struts and not so much the springs. In the front the bilsteins have essentially four separate sets of seals (on the main piston itself inside the fluid chamber, the floating piston at the gas/fluid boundary, the lower piston rod/shock body, and then the housing sliding in the lower strut tube) each of which has stiction to some extent. They bind/stick on small hard bumps then suddenly let go.

Later this summer I am hoping to try the konis, have had McPherson strut sport bilsteins on other cars and they were all pretty harsh.

Don't get me wrong they are great shocks and the high pressure gas monotube is a far superior design to twin tubes, but I think putting them into a McPherson strut compromised that to some extent. On rough pavement they drive me a little crazy on my other car.
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      07-11-2012, 11:40 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaviorXi View Post
I had the same setup on my 2008 xi coupe. Drop looks good but on NJ roads it felt like shit. Wait until you hit a big pothole and it takes your sour from the sound and feel. I was ok for the first 6 months but after the newness wore off I was left with an uncomfortable ride that wife, family, and friends complained about whenever they were passengers. I hope your roads are better and it works out for you. I ordered some eibachs to see if they feel better and have not installed them yet.
I can definitely understand your point - the suspension is a very subjective aspect in a car. It is also a compromise.
What is also important to come to terms with (my opinion, take it as it is) is that, in this price bracket, you can't really have a cake and eat it too...

As I said, I appreciate the benefits and I can learn to live with the downsides - I am at peace with that. Sure, there are better solutions out there, both in terms of performance and comfort, but for my particular budget, usage pattern and preferences, this worked out best. And I am happy to confirm that (new toys excitement aside - haha, I am old enough not to be that blinded by this ) the post install experience kind of matches the theoretical expectations.
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      07-11-2012, 03:37 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaviorXi View Post
I had the same setup on my 2008 xi coupe. Drop looks good but on NJ roads it felt like shit. Wait until you hit a big pothole and it takes your sour from the sound and feel. I was ok for the first 6 months but after the newness wore off I was left with an uncomfortable ride that wife, family, and friends complained about whenever they were passengers. I hope your roads are better and it works out for you. I ordered some eibachs to see if they feel better and have not installed them yet.
Would love to hear back on your review after you install the eibachs. Boston roads are not even close to being good either.
I still don't know what to go with even tho I read the forum everyday. I have sport stocks on with Runflats right now and every time i hit a pothole I feel like I left a piece of the car behind me.
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      07-11-2012, 03:43 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelalex17 View Post
i have the same setup as OP if anyone wants to see more pictures you can see them in my thread from awhile back:

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=537587
Insane looking car..
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      07-28-2012, 10:14 PM   #37
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Car looks great and review was really solid - thanks for doing that!

Was leaning towards KW v1s, but since I'm not tracking this car, leaning towards your setup. Trying to find best prices - if you don't mind PMing me where you got them from, that'd be great.

Thanks again for the write-up!
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      07-29-2012, 01:28 AM   #38
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I have the same setup... Have you guys notice any interior noises?
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      07-29-2012, 04:41 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_sk View Post
Car looks great and review was really solid - thanks for doing that!

Was leaning towards KW v1s, but since I'm not tracking this car, leaning towards your setup. Trying to find best prices - if you don't mind PMing me where you got them from, that'd be great.

Thanks again for the write-up!
Thanks, pm sent.
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      07-29-2012, 04:44 PM   #40
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I have the same setup... Have you guys notice any interior noises?
Nothing more than the usual rattles that were there before. Nothing new.
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      07-29-2012, 05:28 PM   #41
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When i go over bumpy roads makes my interior not rattle but makes the door panel squishy sound.. It really bothers me.. But then maybe its my 3 10inch subs..
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