Roadfly.com         Roadfly Home | Features | Car Review Videos | Car Reviews | Cars For Sale | Used Car Parts Classifieds | Forum | Car Review Archives | Forum Archives Index



PDA



oddlycalm
05-18-2003, 08:15 PM
It's clear to me that BMW spent very little time working on the M3's suspension. The cab is the worst of the pair, but the coupe's suspension isn't anything to brag about.

BHairsto is but the latest forum member to replace the stock suspension and comment on how much better the ride compliance is afterward. I'm certain he will also find he now has much better control at the limit as well.

I find BMW's efforts in this regard to be unacceptable in a car with this level of performance and at this price point. How much work would it have taken to achieve results similar to the aftermarket units? Days? Weeks? It's not like it's a simple matter of sacrificing comfort for performance, as in the case of the M3 they have failed on both regards. We also need to keep in mind that BMW had, on average, an extra 30mm of travel to work with over the aftermarket units.

I've examined the springs and struts that make up the ACS sport kit (not their coilover kit), and they are nothing remarkable. Simply vendor supplied units to ACS specifications. They are not even the best available, although ACS is not shy about charging as if they were. My point here is that it would not have required even a dollar more in parts cost to make the M3 suspension great. The ACS components are really not any better in build quality than the stock components. All it would have taken is a bit more engineering time.

It's not a matter of running out of time, as subsequent years have been identical, nor of not knowing how, as BMW has produced some good suspensions on other models. The only conclusion I can reach is that they simply didn't care, which I find disturbing.

oc

steve.tenney
05-18-2003, 08:19 PM
<br>2002 AW/IR M3/SMG

<img src="http://www.mindspring.com/~steve.tenney/m3gtr_2.jpg" height=144 width=320>

ChuckD
05-18-2003, 08:23 PM
<br>

mpowerme
05-18-2003, 08:24 PM
<br>///MPowerMe

BillK
05-18-2003, 08:25 PM
I would hazard a guess that most M3 buyers complain about the suspension being too stiff the way it is.

Remember the percentage of M3 buyers here on this board is rather small, and the percentage who install a new suspension even smaller.

BMW will go with whatever maximizes sales, as would any car company.

Should BMW make a performance suspension option available from the factory? Perhaps...

Agent7
05-18-2003, 08:28 PM
1. Track Junkies: % ?
2. Spirted/Enthusiast Street Drivers: %?
3. Occational romp into warp drive: %?
4. Drives it like a family car: %?
5. Female drivers that don't even know they own a "M": %?

Now design a suspension to suit all of these drivers. BTW, my opinion is most "M" owners fall into the bottom 3 catagories. The "track junkies" are less than 1% and the enthusiasts are maybe 10%.

<br>



Agent7 Austin,Texas
<img src="http://members.roadfly.com/agent7/sig.jpg">

StMedina
05-18-2003, 08:43 PM
What a brother know...


http://members.roadfly.com/stmedina/KoniDoubleAdjustableRears.jpg[/IMG]<br><font color=maroon><font size=1><font>
<img src="http://members.roadfly.com/stmedina/sig3.jpg">
corpuschristitexas

StMedina
05-18-2003, 08:44 PM
<img src="http://members.roadfly.com/stmedina/KoniDoubleAdjustableRears.jpg"><br><font color=maroon><font size=1><font>
<img src="http://members.roadfly.com/stmedina/sig3.jpg">
corpuschristitexas

gg lakers
05-18-2003, 08:44 PM
ROFL!

oddlycalm
05-18-2003, 08:48 PM
Your arguement would hold water if it was the stiffness that was the only problem. However there is also the problem of wallowing and rear wheel steer on the limit, and which is bad enough in cabs to make the car undrivable at the limit, and unsafe IMO at speeds over 120mph.

oc

StMedina
05-18-2003, 08:48 PM
<img src="http://members.roadfly.com/stmedina/KoniDALeftRearRebound.jpg">
<img src="http://members.roadfly.com/stmedina/KoniDARightRearRebound.jpg"><br><font color=maroon><font size=1><font>
<img src="http://members.roadfly.com/stmedina/sig3.jpg">
corpuschristitexas

ChuckD
05-18-2003, 08:51 PM
How did you get those cutouts so square?

And what is the OEM looking door with latch? I dont have one of those.<br>

oddlycalm
05-18-2003, 08:51 PM
The ride compliance, and hence comfort, are terrible, and the control at the limit is terrible also, although worse in cabs. How does their suspension then best address any part of the market?

If your point is that it is fine for people that don't know any better, or have no basis for comparison, then I agree. However, that's not much to be proud of.

oc

bhairsto
05-18-2003, 08:56 PM
if handling were compromised to improve ride quality in order to please the masses who don't like super-stiff suspensions, it would be more understandable. But the fact that I could go out and buy a kit for less than $800 that improved BOTH ride quality and handling, while lowering the car only slightly so as to not pose a problem w/ speed bumps/driveways, etc. says to me that BMW could have spent a little more time figuring out the proper specs for the suspension. The same was true, however with my old Audi 225TT. Oh well, it just makes it more fun and justifiable to modify the car.<br>[img]http://members.roadfly.com/BHairsto/UVA.jpg[img]

ChuckD
05-18-2003, 08:57 PM
With fully adjustable bound and rebound and spring rates that are not too insanly stiff. You can make the ride more compliant than stock or on par with some fully tuned racecars.

It would be nice if BMW could incorporate something similar with electricly actuated dampenting in their ///M cars. It would cost entirely too much obviously.. but it sure would be nice.
<br>

M3_EVO
05-18-2003, 08:58 PM
You can't please everybody...so that's why there are aftermarket tuning companies that tune it to your liking =)
<br>Straightlines are for fast cars
Curves are for fast drivers

///May the speed be with you

oddlycalm
05-18-2003, 08:59 PM
What I meant is that the ACS parts are not much, if any, better quality than the OEM parts. The problems is with the engineering that determined what spring rates and strut valving to use. They parts they have are simply OEM units built to spec. BMW stuffed it by simply not caring enough to get a good result. The stock suspension is overdamped and very much under sprung.

oc

csl
05-18-2003, 09:00 PM
personally seen STOCK M3's piloted by experienced, competition drivers, absolutely decimate cars of greater capability (track dedicated) but driven by lesser experienced individuals.
There are very few, if any, people here that really know how to push this car to 10/10's effectively and efficiently in its' stock form.
This car aint bad right out of the box -- suspension mods only enhance the performance.<br><img src="http://members.roadfly.com/CSL/VIR002a.jpg" height=212 width=383>

oddlycalm
05-18-2003, 09:03 PM
The ACS ride is much more compliant than stock, yet much firmer at the limit.

Of course it's possible to buy all kinds of things in the aftermarket. My comments were aimed at the stock car as delivered. The simple ACS struts and springs work so well that adjustability isn't necessary. I would agree that a wide rance adjustment would be cool for those that track their cars, and we are seeing this on the C5 and other cars, but for a street only car it's more of a gimmick than a necessity.

oc

Stl_Don
05-18-2003, 09:07 PM
I bet we see something like that in the next generation.
Unfortunatly it will probably be over computerized.

D<br><br><hr><br><A HREF = "http://stl_don.home.att.net"><img src = "http://members.roadfly.com/stl_don/M3_sig.jpg"></A>

toyo
05-18-2003, 09:11 PM
suspension was beyond words for my experience with high performance cars. I took many mountain runs in my car with the stock suspension, outperforming many coupe m3's. After i installed my ACS kit, I could not believe the difference. I still ask myself, why couldnt BMW do this to start with. But I feel it still comes out of the box pretty damn good. Now that I have some experience and a new suspension, I feel my cab and I can handle our own against the average coupe in the twisties.<br>Cumming,Ga

4thm3
05-18-2003, 09:12 PM
Most of us get upgraded suspensions to overcome deficiencies in
skill. Problem is, seat time is expensive too and the GC suspension
is about 5-6 DE's here on the west coast. Could i gain 2-3 sec per
lap in 6 DE's (as the GC suspension has afforded)? dont think
so, but if the DE's were closely bunched, maybe. I know i get
rusty if the interval between DE's is more than 1 month.

That said, i've been passed by a new Evo on street tires driven
by a more experienced driver at Sears. And then there was the
time that retired racer Davy Jones drove my mostly stock E36M3 at
Laguna, talk about smooth.

JETcpe
05-18-2003, 09:13 PM
.<br><img src=http://members.roadfly.com/shahin/sig.jpg>

oddlycalm
05-18-2003, 09:14 PM
Sure, a pro driver can do things with a pig of a car that a novice can't match with a great car, but that's a separate issue. I've held off kids on serious superbikes while on a sport touring bike on a curvy road, and same with cars, but again, not the point.

What I am talking about is that BMW delivered a car where the suspension on the coupe achieved a level that was no better than 'acceptable', which the cab is considerable worse.

oc

oddlycalm
05-18-2003, 09:15 PM

KJ-TypeR
05-18-2003, 09:17 PM
...not sure about cabs though.

quickburn7
05-18-2003, 09:18 PM
on this car is amazing. If you have ever driven the coupe on twisty roads you find that it is great at keeping the car stable. It may not be good enough for track junkies but that is why you have aftermarket tuners. or else you would be complaining that the car is too low and too stiff for every day driving.<br>2003 coupe six speed
titanium silver/black napa leather
heated seats
bi-xenon lights
HK sound
UUC ssk
Hid super white turn signals
piaa 9006 super white plus fog lights
Bimmian painted front reflectors
soon to be installed H&R springs.

oddlycalm
05-18-2003, 09:18 PM
Your experience is the same as mine. My point is that it would even have cost any more money to get it right, just a few more hours of ride engineering. The ACS and BMW OEM suspension parts may have even been made in the same factory, as they are very similar in build and construction.

oc

toyo
05-18-2003, 09:21 PM
to perform as well as the coupe? It is all about compromises. Sure your car may handle a little more crisp. That is like comparing coupes against cabs in the driving down the raod at sunset in 70 degree weather with the top down. Two different markets.<br>Cumming,Ga

toyo
05-18-2003, 09:27 PM
stock suspension. It is sitting in my basement collecting dust. Do you think I could sell it on ebay?<br>Cumming,Ga

oddlycalm
05-18-2003, 09:27 PM
My point is that it the car could ride better and offer better handling at the same time for without spending a dollar more if BMW had simply speced better spring and valve rates. If you don't think so, it's because you either don'have a basis for comparison, or don't know the difference.

oc

oddlycalm
05-18-2003, 09:28 PM

StMedina
05-18-2003, 09:31 PM
<br><font color=maroon><font size=1><font>
<img src="http://members.roadfly.com/stmedina/sig3.jpg">
corpuschristitexas

StMedina
05-18-2003, 09:32 PM
on the right rear however...I kept the cut right at the break...didn't want to expose the electronics right behind....I did take the covers off to have all the room to work with....

<br><font color=maroon><font size=1><font>
<img src="http://members.roadfly.com/stmedina/sig3.jpg">
corpuschristitexas

StMedina
05-18-2003, 10:04 PM
<br><font color=maroon><font size=1><font>
<img src="http://members.roadfly.com/stmedina/sig3.jpg">
corpuschristitexas

BillK
05-18-2003, 10:08 PM
I know too many people (myself included) that have had enough problems with how low the Audi TT and M3 sit; any lower and they'd be impossible to live with for most people. For example, I had to always pull out of my driveway at a 45 degree angle one tire at a time to not scrape the nose of my TT but scraped it on a couple road hazards anyway; another inch and the front clip probably would have been lying on the side of the road...

BillK
05-18-2003, 10:10 PM
The number of M3s that can legally be driving at "the limit" in the U.S. is perhaps a few percent, and the number that will ever see anything over 100 MPH is perhaps a few percent larger.

In short, what you've described is not a limitation for 95% of M3 buyers, so it's not a concern for BMW; that's why the aftermarket EXISTS...

goody4
05-18-2003, 10:12 PM
<br>
Goody4

'02 M3 Coupe
TB/Gray
"...to the gills."
Oct. '01 build

bhairsto
05-18-2003, 10:12 PM
improve both ride quality and performance...so the argument that the stock suspension is somewhat compromised to improve ride quality doesn't fly. You'll know what I'm talking about after you replace your springs.<br>[img]http://members.roadfly.com/BHairsto/UVA.jpg[img]

Stl_Don
05-18-2003, 10:14 PM
<br><br><hr><br><A HREF = "http://stl_don.home.att.net"><img src = "http://members.roadfly.com/stl_don/M3_sig.jpg"></A>

StMedina
05-18-2003, 10:17 PM
it was kind of a surprise....opened the trunk.....Hey..check it out..i got a door...

<br><font color=maroon><font size=1><font>
<img src="http://members.roadfly.com/stmedina/sig3.jpg">
corpuschristitexas

BillK
05-18-2003, 10:17 PM
A suspension the delivered the way you want it suits perhaps 5%, maybe 10% of the population of M3 buyers.

A good example can be seen in the "030" sport suspension option for Porsche Boxsters. Most Porsche dealers never order this option for their stock vehicles because it's too harsh for most people, yet Porschephiles find the U.S. 030 to not be stiff enough.

I would say at least 75% of the people who buy an M3 buy one to have a sporty 3-series, nothing more. When I test drove an M3 last week I asked the salesman how many sales they lost because the M3 didn't ride like a regular 3 series, and he admitted that a fair number of people DID complain about it being too rough.

You're an enthusiast, I can understand that, I am too, but for the average M3 buyer it's just a step up from a 330ci with the performance package.

StMedina
05-18-2003, 10:55 PM
still have to set the car up....what feels good on the street...could be a dog at the track....<br><font color=maroon><font size=1><font>
<img src="http://members.roadfly.com/stmedina/sig3.jpg">
corpuschristitexas

StMedina
05-18-2003, 11:01 PM
they made the car to fit everyone...from 16 to 80....which means they had to compromise...anyhow..I hear ya...<br><font color=maroon><font size=1><font>
<img src="http://members.roadfly.com/stmedina/sig3.jpg">
corpuschristitexas

Captain_Winters
05-18-2003, 11:08 PM
<br><img src="http://members.roadfly.com/captain_winters/Sscn2944_2.jpg"height=150 width=200>

surfah
05-19-2003, 12:56 AM
disappointed when I first drove the M3 and found out how much the body rolled in the turns. Knew right away that the stock suspension was too soft for me.<br>


The ultimate driving machine !
<img src="http://members.roadfly.com/surfah/m3_s40+004b.jpg" height=180 width=240 > <img src="http://members.roadfly.com/surfah/a_mlogo.gif" height=60 width=80 > <img src="http://members.roadfly.com/surfah/Logo.gif" height=60 width=80 > <img src="http://members.roadfly.com/surfah/hr.gif" height=60 width=80 > <img src="http://members.roadfly.com/surfah/logo_bridgestone.gif" height=60 width=160 > <img src="http://members.roadfly.com/surfah/brembo.gif" height=60 width=160 > <img src="http://members.roadfly.com/surfah/williams_logo.gif" height=60 width=160 > <img src="http://members.roadfly.com/surfah/uhlogo.jpg" height=60 width=80 >

oddlycalm
05-19-2003, 07:37 AM
All the aftermarket suspensions are actually softer (more compliant, more comfortable, etc.) AND have more control. Get it, BOTH. You seem to think I am saying that I want a very harsh ride, and what I'm saying is the opposite. I would a compliant ride AND more control at the limit. The two are not mutually exclusive.

oc

oddlycalm
05-19-2003, 07:44 AM
For those of you that thought I was saying the the stock ride is to soft, I'm not. It is absurdly harsh considering the lack of control it has at the limit.

What I am saying is that the aftermarket suspensions actual feel softer, or more compliant, at normal speeds, but have much greater control at the limit of travel.

In a progressive suspension, the first inch of travel is soft, and the final inch of travel very firm. This isn't rocket science. It is very possible to have both comfort and control.

oc

oddlycalm
05-19-2003, 08:05 AM
I never expected the cab to be the couple, but after I was done it sure is a lot better cab. The ride is softer (more compliant) in normal driving, but has much more control when pushing hard. It has that good knife edge feel that the stock car just doesn't have. This is the way the car should have come from BMW. All I did was put on a strut brace (as BMW did beginning a month after my car was built), put on a good progressive suspension, installed the lighter full floating Euro brake rotors, and put on a light set of wheels.

I don't expect BMW to put on the light wheels, but everything else they should have done from the factory. There is not excuse not to use the Euro brake rotors, and I've driven cars costing half as much that had much better suspensions. It's not like ride engineering some unfathomable secret, they just didn't do the necessary work. End of story.

oc

eatapc
05-19-2003, 09:28 AM
You have a basis for comparison. The few people here who don\'t agree with you haven\'t tried the aftermarket parts. It\'s strange that BMW\'s M division couldn\'t get the tuning right, while the ACS people did a better job with less effort and fewer resources. Why is that?

However, I must say that I was initially impressed with the handling of my M3 coupe. My previous car was a 1998 M3 sedan, which had a softer ride and nowhere near the cornering ability or sharp turn-in of the new coupe. In almost any situation on the street, the cornering is beyond the limits of what I consider safe -- given slower traffic and assorted hazards like bicyclists. On a favorite stretch of twisty road near me (2 lanes in each direction), I can safely do over 70 while other cars are doing 30-45. I\'d love to be able to do 75 or 80, but I\'m frightening the other drivers as it is.

It\'s very easy to drive this car at 90% of its limits (both straight line and cornering) and still be moving at at a rate that seems to be showing off. But a softer ride around town WITH better handling at the limits . . . who can argue with that?<br><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-family:Charcoal'>10/01 Jet Black SMG coupe, New Jersey, exit 50B</span></p>

BillK
05-19-2003, 09:48 AM
That is MORE compliant; the laws of physics say it just can't happen. that less shock travel = less compliance, but I'll take your word on it. Certainly every lowered Audi TT I rode in had a stiffer ride than the stock version...

oddlycalm
05-19-2003, 10:56 AM
Most after market suspensions that lower the ride height are simply poorly engineered. There is NO reason that a marginally shorter travel has to mean an unpleasant ride. Modern progressive suspensions can easily be compliant for the initial travel and very firm for the last bit of travel.

You can really feel this a high speed dip. With the stock suspension, the car would just hit hard and then nearly bottom. With the ACS, the initial bound is much softer, but as the supension compresses you can feel it stiffen right up. There is no overshoot on rebound either as there is with the stock suspension. This makes a huge difference when corning fast on tight bumpy roads, as we have around here in the coast range.

Many people on this forum have the ACS and other suspension systems, and I have yet to read of anyone not making similar comments. I just think it sucks that you have to do this with a brand new M3.

oc

oc

ATLcab
05-19-2003, 12:43 PM

spookm3
05-20-2003, 05:58 AM
A stock suspension has a few more requirements to add to the ride/handling compromise. It has to be able to withstand the full GVWR of the car (passengers, luggage, fluids, etc.), has to maintain decent ground clearance, and has to require minimal maintenance over the lifespan of the vehicle.

To me, ALL things considered, both the handling and ride of the M3 are remarkable.
<br>spook
Los Angeles, CA
<img src="http://members.roadfly.com/spookm3/LAGUNA.jpg ">


Roadfly Home | Car Reviews | Forum Archives Index