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      04-07-2017, 04:08 PM   #1
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Ohlins Road & Track Review - 340i

This really is the ultimate sleeper handling upgrade available for the 3 series, I chose to have my kit installed at the Ohlins-recommended ride heights which are visually indistinguishable from the factory M Sport suspension (my car has M Sport + Track Handling Package so I had the M Adaptive dampers, for reference) this means that nobody who climbs in is ready to have their neck snapped by the newfound agility but the difference between M Adaptive and a good set of coilovers with aggressive spring rates is truly night and day. Iím actually a very big fan of modern adaptive suspension systems, my last car was an E92 M3 ZCP and I never wanted to get rid of the EDC on that car. After supercharging that car and finding the acceleration squat annoying, I switched to Swift Spec-R springs with the stock EDC dampers and left it at that. I do, however, feel that the F30ís M Adaptive implementation is very weak. Comfort mode is exactly that and I actually really liked this setting as I drive about 15-20,000 miles a year and itís mostly on the freeway. Anyone whoís been to SoCal knows our roads and freeways are FAR from smooth so a suspension that is that good at smoothing out bumps can be very nice in a commuter. Whether the dampers were in Comfort or Sport, I always hated how soft the suspension was in this car. Itís one of the contributing factors to the poor steering feel, there is a noticeable delay between turning the wheel and the car actually rotating in a new direction because weight transfer feels slow and imprecise. There are plenty of other aspects of the F30ís design that contribute to this but Iíll leave that topic alone for now. Sport mode is a little bouncier and feels a little tighter but using firm dampening to compensate for soft springs doesnít work very well.

The Road & Track kit has been installed on my car for about a month now and have had the opportunity to try several different damper settings and to collect my thoughts on the way these feel and perform. This is a very interesting kit for the non-M F30s, its spring rates are very clearly biased towards handling and on-track performance and the results are truly amazing in that context. Body roll is simply eliminated and Iíve noticed a much higher level of grip. The Ohlins dampers have always been known for their ability to soak up bumps and make them virtually disappear, this is something thatís difficult to comprehend until you feel it for yourself because there are still times where Iíll come across some huge crater in the road surface during a high-G corner, when the suspension is fully loaded up, and have an instant of panic and consider slowing down. Iím usually glad I didnít bother lifting off because the car simply glides through the rough stuff like it was barely even there, truly impressive. Iíve noticed the rear end is much more willing to follow my commands than before, I credit not only the stiffer spring rate but the fact that the rear suspension is about a third stiffer than the front despite the F30ís 50:50 weight distribution. This counteracts the F30ís natural tendency to understeer beautifully and the result is a very, very neutral handling balance. I feel completely comfortable throwing the car into a corner at ridiculous speeds, much higher than what was possible with the factory setup and at speeds much higher than where the tires would have given up their grip on the road when paired with that softer stock system. I kept the exact same tires on my car, Continental ExtremeContact DWs, but it feels like grip levels have gone through the roof.

I brought up the high spring rates earlier because itís very important to understand this kit before you consider it for yourself, if you want drastically improved handling and composure out of your F30, this is the kit for you. If youíre looking to drop your ride down low and keep the smoothest ride possible, this is not the kit for you. You can set these a little lower than stock for a sporty stance but you can not get as low as you can with KWs or Bilsteins, this is designed for maintaining proper suspension geometry (without replacing arms, end links, etc.) over improving aesthetics. The appeal of this particular kit will be limited, in my opinion, by the fact that most people who are this particular about how their suspension feels would probably get an M3 and most people who upgrade the F30ís suspension are looking for the low-slung look. The relatively high rear spring rate (60NM front and 160NM rear, keep in mind that the F30 rear is not a true coil-over-damper configuration so the wheel rates are different from front to rear, you typically run twice the spring rate in the rear compared to the front since the rear spring is located further inboard on the rear control arm compared to the damper) can be slightly challenging to tame for street use. I found that with the rear damper adjusted towards the soft end of its adjustment range (10 clicks and higher), the rear was a little bouncy at times. In this configuration, the car was still extremely planted and stable when I pushed it hard but the rear end would pogo up and down a little when the road surface during normal driving. Firming up the rear damper solved this 100% and this kit is actually a lot more comfortable, in my opinion, with the dampers set relatively firmly.

These Ohlins dampers are very easy to dial in to your preference but the rear adjuster is annoying to access. Front adjuster knobs are right at the bottom of the front struts and can be easily reached by turning the front wheels fully left, then fully right. The rear adjuster is also at the bottom but itís hard to reach between all the rear suspension arms and can be very difficult to move as you get towards the firm end of the adjustment range. I have very weak fingers so I really need to get a good grip on them to get them going, easiest method for me is to take the rear wheels off so I can get my whole hand around the adjuster wheel. You can also lie down behind the car and reach in from behind but this will be easier if you have smaller hands. Adjustment is done through a single knob, this adjusts both compression and rebound although it has a stronger impact on rebound than compression. As I said above, I feel that 6 clicks back from full hard is perfect for me. Click the adjuster firmer if you notice multiple bounces AFTER a big bump and softer if you feel like the car jumps up over an initial impact (an overly firm shock absorber will prevent the suspension from properly absorbing the initial impact) and thatís it.

I like my cars to feel very tight and planted and I absolutely hate uncontrolled body movements, my goldilocks setting so far is 6 clicks front and rear from full hard, it really feels great at all speeds and in all situations with the dampers set this way and Iím at a point where I canít stop throwing my keys to my friends so they can go see how my car feels. I really canít thank the guys at Ohlins enough for designing this kit and for helping me fall back in love with the steering and handling feel of my 340i, it really is something special.

Full disclosure: I work for HG Performance which is a dealer for Ohlins, I bought this kit myself after noticing there were surprisingly few people using it on the non-M F30 platform and hardly any reviews. I wanted to try them and share my findings, for better or worse, with the community. Iíll try to remain as un-biased as possible but I felt it would be dishonest of me to hide this.
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      04-07-2017, 04:34 PM   #2
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Interesting review; Build quality looks superb looking at their product pictures it looks like something i would want on my car - went for KW DDC though because i have EDC and wanted to keep it.
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      04-08-2017, 11:51 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remonster View Post
This really is the ultimate sleeper handling upgrade available for the 3 series, I chose to have my kit installed at the Ohlins-recommended ride heights which are visually indistinguishable from the factory M Sport suspension (my car has M Sport + Track Handling Package so I had the M Adaptive dampers, for reference) this means that nobody who climbs in is ready to have their neck snapped by the newfound agility but the difference between M Adaptive and a good set of coilovers with aggressive spring rates is truly night and day. Iím actually a very big fan of modern adaptive suspension systems, my last car was an E92 M3 ZCP and I never wanted to get rid of the EDC on that car. After supercharging that car and finding the acceleration squat annoying, I switched to Swift Spec-R springs with the stock EDC dampers and left it at that. I do, however, feel that the F30ís M Adaptive implementation is very weak. Comfort mode is exactly that and I actually really liked this setting as I drive about 15-20,000 miles a year and itís mostly on the freeway. Anyone whoís been to SoCal knows our roads and freeways are FAR from smooth so a suspension that is that good at smoothing out bumps can be very nice in a commuter. Whether the dampers were in Comfort or Sport, I always hated how soft the suspension was in this car. Itís one of the contributing factors to the poor steering feel, there is a noticeable delay between turning the wheel and the car actually rotating in a new direction because weight transfer feels slow and imprecise. There are plenty of other aspects of the F30ís design that contribute to this but Iíll leave that topic alone for now. Sport mode is a little bouncier and feels a little tighter but using firm dampening to compensate for soft springs doesnít work very well.

The Road & Track kit has been installed on my car for about a month now and have had the opportunity to try several different damper settings and to collect my thoughts on the way these feel and perform. This is a very interesting kit for the non-M F30s, its spring rates are very clearly biased towards handling and on-track performance and the results are truly amazing in that context. Body roll is simply eliminated and Iíve noticed a much higher level of grip. The Ohlins dampers have always been known for their ability to soak up bumps and make them virtually disappear, this is something thatís difficult to comprehend until you feel it for yourself because there are still times where Iíll come across some huge crater in the road surface during a high-G corner, when the suspension is fully loaded up, and have an instant of panic and consider slowing down. Iím usually glad I didnít bother lifting off because the car simply glides through the rough stuff like it was barely even there, truly impressive. Iíve noticed the rear end is much more willing to follow my commands than before, I credit not only the stiffer spring rate but the fact that the rear suspension is about a third stiffer than the front despite the F30ís 50:50 weight distribution. This counteracts the F30ís natural tendency to understeer beautifully and the result is a very, very neutral handling balance. I feel completely comfortable throwing the car into a corner at ridiculous speeds, much higher than what was possible with the factory setup and at speeds much higher than where the tires would have given up their grip on the road when paired with that softer stock system. I kept the exact same tires on my car, Continental ExtremeContact DWs, but it feels like grip levels have gone through the roof.

I brought up the high spring rates earlier because itís very important to understand this kit before you consider it for yourself, if you want drastically improved handling and composure out of your F30, this is the kit for you. If youíre looking to drop your ride down low and keep the smoothest ride possible, this is not the kit for you. You can set these a little lower than stock for a sporty stance but you can not get as low as you can with KWs or Bilsteins, this is designed for maintaining proper suspension geometry (without replacing arms, end links, etc.) over improving aesthetics. The appeal of this particular kit will be limited, in my opinion, by the fact that most people who are this particular about how their suspension feels would probably get an M3 and most people who upgrade the F30ís suspension are looking for the low-slung look. The relatively high rear spring rate (60NM front and 160NM rear, keep in mind that the F30 rear is not a true coil-over-damper configuration so the wheel rates are different from front to rear, you typically run twice the spring rate in the rear compared to the front since the rear spring is located further inboard on the rear control arm compared to the damper) can be slightly challenging to tame for street use. I found that with the rear damper adjusted towards the soft end of its adjustment range (10 clicks and higher), the rear was a little bouncy at times. In this configuration, the car was still extremely planted and stable when I pushed it hard but the rear end would pogo up and down a little when the road surface during normal driving. Firming up the rear damper solved this 100% and this kit is actually a lot more comfortable, in my opinion, with the dampers set relatively firmly.

These Ohlins dampers are very easy to dial in to your preference but the rear adjuster is annoying to access. Front adjuster knobs are right at the bottom of the front struts and can be easily reached by turning the front wheels fully left, then fully right. The rear adjuster is also at the bottom but itís hard to reach between all the rear suspension arms and can be very difficult to move as you get towards the firm end of the adjustment range. I have very weak fingers so I really need to get a good grip on them to get them going, easiest method for me is to take the rear wheels off so I can get my whole hand around the adjuster wheel. You can also lie down behind the car and reach in from behind but this will be easier if you have smaller hands. Adjustment is done through a single knob, this adjusts both compression and rebound although it has a stronger impact on rebound than compression. As I said above, I feel that 6 clicks back from full hard is perfect for me. Click the adjuster firmer if you notice multiple bounces AFTER a big bump and softer if you feel like the car jumps up over an initial impact (an overly firm shock absorber will prevent the suspension from properly absorbing the initial impact) and thatís it.

I like my cars to feel very tight and planted and I absolutely hate uncontrolled body movements, my goldilocks setting so far is 6 clicks front and rear from full hard, it really feels great at all speeds and in all situations with the dampers set this way and Iím at a point where I canít stop throwing my keys to my friends so they can go see how my car feels. I really canít thank the guys at Ohlins enough for designing this kit and for helping me fall back in love with the steering and handling feel of my 340i, it really is something special.

Full disclosure: I work for HG Performance which is a dealer for Ohlins, I bought this kit myself after noticing there were surprisingly few people using it on the non-M F30 platform and hardly any reviews. I wanted to try them and share my findings, for better or worse, with the community. Iíll try to remain as un-biased as possible but I felt it would be dishonest of me to hide this.
Great review! This really has sealed the deal as to what suspension I'll be replacing my so-so 328i M sport non-adaptive set up with. I'm one of the few people who is fine with the ride height of the OEM M Sport and, if anything, would only want it a tiny bit lower. The Ohlins sounds perfect for my goals.
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      04-09-2017, 07:44 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cammy5 View Post
Great review! This really has sealed the deal as to what suspension I'll be replacing my so-so 328i M sport non-adaptive set up with. I'm one of the few people who is fine with the ride height of the OEM M Sport and, if anything, would only want it a tiny bit lower. The Ohlins sounds perfect for my goals.
+1.

The only options that make sense for a RWD F30 are:

1. BMW M Performance Suspension Kit
2. Ohlins Road and Track.

Both lower the 704 Sport Suspension by about 10mm. Ohlins will certainly outperform the BMW kit.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you go with Ohlins, you'll still need to replace a bunch of top hats, nuts and bolts which would otherwise have come with the BMW kit.

See: http://f30.bimmerpost.com/forums/sho...3&postcount=34
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      04-09-2017, 06:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polo08816 View Post
+1.

The only options that make sense for a RWD F30 are:

1. BMW M Performance Suspension Kit
2. Ohlins Road and Track.

Both lower the 704 Sport Suspension by about 10mm. Ohlins will certainly outperform the BMW kit.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you go with Ohlins, you'll still need to replace a bunch of top hats, nuts and bolts which would otherwise have come with the BMW kit.

See: http://f30.bimmerpost.com/forums/sho...3&postcount=34
I have a little experience with the M Performance kit but it's been a long time since I've driven a car with it installed. From memory, I think it was a little smoother than Ohlins for daily use and a little softer in the corners. It did not have the Ohlins' exceptional ability to absorb sharp bumps and impacts, though, which is what makes this kit truly special in my opinion: it can be firm & compliant at the same time in a way that is tough to match wih any other passive setup.

Your last point will depend on the age and condition of your car, mine is a year old with about 20k miles on the clock so I re-used everything BUT you did remind me of something important: if your car has M Adaptive / EDC, you will need to buy one OEM BMW front left sway bar end link. The non-adaptive cars use the same end links on both sides and the front right one on the M Adaptive cars is facing the wrong way to mount onto the Ohlins front right strut body. You buy the stock FL end link and install it on the front right.
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      07-21-2017, 12:35 AM   #6
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Many sold and installed but very few reviews. So true.

Most of our customers aren't forum members. They just know Ohlins is top notch!
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      08-08-2017, 10:27 PM   #7
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Question, am planning to upgrade my xDrive suspension when returning from abroad next March. Was debating KW or Dinan springs, are you recommending Ohlins with Adaptive M or you replaced everything?
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      08-08-2017, 10:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musashi View Post
Question, am planning to upgrade my xDrive suspension when returning from abroad next March. Was debating KW or Dinan springs, are you recommending Ohlins with Adaptive M or you replaced everything?
I don't think Ohlins is available for xDrive vehicles.
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      08-09-2017, 02:35 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polo08816 View Post
I don't think Ohlins is available for xDrive vehicles.
The last I spoke to Jake at Ohlins I believe he said they were looking for a car to confirm fitment, it may be worth giving them a call to find out if you're interested.

Quick update, after switching to a softer rear spring rate (actually the rear spring from their E92 M3 kit which happened to fit my goals exactly) of 120N/mm (vs the original F30 kit's 160N/mm) and adjusting damping to match (I'm currently at 10F and 13R clicks back from full stiff for the street) and I'm extremely, extremely happy. The ride is so smooth and even insane bumps and odd shapes in the road do absolutely nothing to unsettle the car. I truly don't miss the M Adaptive / EDC system at all.
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      01-19-2018, 01:46 PM   #10
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I've been eyeing the Ohlins for a while now. Still debating whether I should go LSD first but that's a discussion for another day. Any idea how the ride and handling of the Ohlin's feel when comparing to the Bilstein B16 (my second choice)? Is the MP suspension adjustable? I love love my F30 but the body roll kills me. I want that feeling I had in my E36 M3. I'm also planning on 4-5 track days a year.
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      01-23-2018, 06:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaredG_F30 View Post
I've been eyeing the Ohlins for a while now. Still debating whether I should go LSD first but that's a discussion for another day. Any idea how the ride and handling of the Ohlin's feel when comparing to the Bilstein B16 (my second choice)? Is the MP suspension adjustable? I love love my F30 but the body roll kills me. I want that feeling I had in my E36 M3. I'm also planning on 4-5 track days a year.
Let me know if you're ever down in San Diego, you can come see how my car feels. I actually happen to be coming up to Los Angeles this weekend but my car is at the dealer for misfires and I don't think it will be back in my hands before this weekend.

I'm really, really loving the Ohlins on my car with those softer rear spring rates.
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      02-01-2018, 04:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polo08816 View Post
I don't think Ohlins is available for xDrive vehicles.
Thank you, I never noticed your reply during my deployment. Am still on track for a suspension job this march. Ideally:

1- Adaptive M plus Dinan Springs, bushings, sway bars or
2- Anything else that makes sense for an xDrive.

Ohlins seems a very remote proposition, I cannot locate a single distributor within 500 miles.
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      02-01-2018, 05:05 PM   #13
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How much is the kit?
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      02-01-2018, 10:37 PM   #14
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Can OEM suspension height be maintained with Ohlins R&T? My vehicle is 2017 F36.
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      02-02-2018, 12:06 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfm56d7b View Post
Can OEM suspension height be maintained with Ohlins R&T? My vehicle is 2017 F36.
Yes, you can stay right near OEM ride height although that may depend on which OEM suspension you start with. My car is an M Sport w/ Track Handling Package and I was able to set it right back to stock height. I eventually lowered about 1/4" from that factory height just because it looks cool.
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