A couple of weeks ago we had Justin B’s 2013 F30 BMW 328i in the shop for a suspension install. We over at ModBargains are big proponents of SoloWerks coilovers so we’re always excited when a customer is willing to give a lesser known manufacturer a try. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the brand (probably most of you) SoloWerks is a U.S. based manufacturer located in Fresno, California. Their focus has been clear since their founding in 2011: passion for the automobile. This passion lead them to create their S1 line of coilovers for the enthusiast who wants a good entry level coilover without worrying about branding.
Justin’s coilover install was straightforward and bolted up quickly and easily without any issues. The ride height was then set by our technicians and rolled out for a few photos. The car was looking much cleaner with the factory wheel gap eliminated and had a much better stance even with factory sized aftermarket wheels. If Justin wants to upgrade to some larger and wider wheels in the future it is sure to look very aggressive.
After snapping a few pictures we took it around the block so we could experience the ride quality and balance firsthand. We are happy to report that these coilovers ride smoothly and have well balance dampening. Normally on entry level coilovers you get very high spring rates and some sort of adjustable dampening that doesn’t really work that well. Manufacturers do this because they know people associate stiff adjustable coilovers with “racecar”. SoloWerks takes a different approach and puts their time and effort into developing a coilover that has a softer spring properly mated to the damper.
These coilovers are perfectly tuned for the environment they’re intended for, which is normal streets. Stiff suspension works great on the track where everything is smooth and even for the most part, but out in the world there are dips, potholes, bumps, and a myriad of other road conditions that are not ideal to encounter with super stiff coilovers. Even if you don’t care much about comfort you are better off on normal roads with a softer suspension because it will adapt to road irregularities instead of skipping over them causing you to lose traction.
The two drawbacks to running a softer suspension are reduced responsiveness and increased body roll. One of the main things people like about stiff suspension is the snappy steering feel it produces. This is mainly down to driving style and if it is your preference then you’re better off with a stiffer coilover kit. Minimal body roll is generally the other reason people like stiff coils. No one likes the feeling of body lean, although it has minimal effect on street performance. The best way to counteract this effect is to install thicker sway bars on the vehicle which will reduce body roll so you still get flatter cornering without the bumps and jolts of high spring rates.
Overall we were very impressed with the SoloWerks taking a new approach to entry level coilovers. They ride like a perfectly paired set of lowering springs with aftermarket shocks, but with the added benefit of height adjustability. They’re also priced even better than replacement performance shocks alone. Getting springs at the same time would set you back about $300-$400 more in total vs the SoloWerks. If you’re considering going that route we highly recommend that you consider the SoloWerks as a good alternative.
One thing to keep in mind though that these coilovers use a zinc gold plated galvanized steel shock body which, while very good quality, does not have the same corrosion resistance as stainless steel. If you’re going to be driving in a snowy environment where the roads are salted then you’re probably better off splurging for a higher end kit that utilizes stainless steel.
Thanks again to Justin for letting us show off his F30 a bit and giving us the opportunity to get a feel for the F30 SoloWerks S1 coilovers kit. If you’re interested in the SoloWerks or would like to know what options are available for your car our Mod Experts are very knowledgeable and can help you pick out the perfect kit for your vehicle. You can reach us at (714)-582-3330 or by email at [email protected].