Suspension is our biggest-selling product at AC Schnitzer UK and, along with a performance upgrade, forms the core of any true AC Schnitzer car. But, which suspension type should you go for? Why even bother to upgrade your suspension at all, standard suspension is fine isn’t it?
Well, yes it is fine, if all you need is to get from A to B it will do that perfectly adequately. But there is so much more enjoyment to be had from that journey, let me tell you.
“So where do I start?”
Our entry-level product is a suspension spring kit. These kits start at around £300, plus fitting. In most cases, the kit consists consists of four coil springs, to replace the four already on your car. The AC Schnitzer springs will be slightly shorter and slightly stiffer compared to the standard ones.
“That’s going to make the ride hard, right?”
Not at all. AC Schnitzer go to great lengths to make sure the ride is still very comfortable. Drawing on their expertise gained in over 30 years of production, AC Schnitzer develop springs using extensive real-world testing at the Nürburgring and also on the road. The springs are wound in such a way that ride comfort is maintained. Some even say improved!
The first thing you’ll notice about a car fitted with AC Schnitzer springs is that it sits a little lower to the ground. The wheel arch gap is reduced, making the car look sportier and more muscular. It’s not until you drive it that the real benefits appear though.
The steering is sharper, more responsive and holds a line better. The car body rolls less in corners, dives less at the front when you hit the brakes, and doesn’t squat so much at the rear when you accelerate. It’s tauter, more agile, less floaty and feels more “planted” on the road. This is due to the fact that the centre of gravity of the car has been lowered. It’s not magic, it’s physics! And it’s much more pleasant to drive.
“So that’s all I need? Four springs?”
For many people, yes, this is all they need to get more enjoyment from their car. It looks better and feels better to drive. A little sportier than stock, more planted and stable, but still perfectly comfortable for everyday use.
“OK I really like my car with the springs fitted, but it still feels a bit bouncy on uneven roads, why is that?”
The spring’s function is to absorb bumps, but it’s the function of the damper, sometimes called the strut or shock absorber, to control how quickly the spring compresses and also how fast it rebounds. Here too, there is scope for improvement over the original part.
AC Schnitzer sports dampers are available for all 1-4 series BMWs and deliver improvements in body control by using high quality components, superbly calibrated by AC Schnitzer test drivers and engineers. The price range is around £1500-2000 for this kit (plus fitting), but if you already have the spring kit you can order the dampers on their own at a lower price.
If your car has BMW “adaptive” suspension, the sports kit from AC Schnitzer will delete that function electronically. Why? Because it’s not needed any more. In fact, it’s better without it (honest!). The reason is AC Schnitzer sports dampers have a damping rate calibrated to match the spring rate, so the springs and dampers work harmoniously together – all the time and in all conditions. Your car will now tackle bumps and undulations with fluidity, stability and confidence.
“You do make adjustable suspension though?”
Yes, we do. We call it AC Schnitzer RS suspension, which is “coilover” suspension. RS suspension starts at around £2500 (plus fitting).
Without getting into the technicalities, this suspension is for experienced drivers looking for the ultimate in body control and handling. Many of these drivers will have experienced and owned other great handling cars, and will want their suspension to be as good as it can be. Available most 1-4 series, Z cars and all M series cars, RS suspension is adjustable for ride height (using threaded collars), compression damping and rebound damping (using click adjusters). This means it can be dialled-in to give exactly the suspension response the driver is looking for, or adjusted for a specific requirement, like a track day for example.
RS suspension comes pre-set for fast road use by AC Schnitzer, but it’s still very comfortable. Few owners will deviate from these settings by much, as the settings arrived at by the AC Schnitzer test drivers are already excellent. The body control from this kit is another step up even from our own sports kit; Evo magazine described it as “nothing short of genius”. We’re tempted to agree!
We hope this article has answered some of your questions about suspension. Don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions or for further details.