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Thread: KW Suspension in the Z8.....final thoughts?

  1. #1
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Z8DinanS2's Avatar
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    KW Suspension in the Z8.....final thoughts?

    I can't seem to find anyone who has actually installed the KW coilover suspension kit and shared their experience with the system and compared it to the Euro Alpina set up. Does anyone have such KW suspension experience to share? Thanks.

  2. #2
    I believe that Dieter installed it on his Nowack powered car in Germany, but don't remember ever hearing the results.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  3. #3
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Z8DinanS2's Avatar
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    Thanks Andrew. I'm surprised with nearly 6,000 of these produced and their system costing under $3k and given the poor oem setup more folks haven't tried them. How much do the components for the Euro Alpina set up cost? Any feedback on the Euro Alpina with a sway bar upgrade?

  4. #4
    I have full EU Alpina suspension with Dinan sways, set to full stiff, and they make a very good set up all round, but it is a GT set up, as opposed to an out and out supersport one. If ultimate sports on well maintained smooth roads (something we don't have in SoCal) is your desire the KW system could be good, if you have a suspension expert to set it up. The full Dinan set up is also very good, I drove Z8Doc's Z8 with it at an impromptu track day at Thunderhill, and was very impressed at how much it improved the handling over my set up on track.
    That said most of the back roads we get to drive on are in poor shape, making the EU Alpina set up the all round winner at maintaining traction, the stock Z8 has much firmer suspension which causes it to constantly loose traction and jolt-slither across the rough Tarmac.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  5. #5
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    Yes, the first thing I noticed when driving the Z8 is the suspension is stiff/bouncy as opposed to stiff controlled. Perhaps not enough dampening for the stiff springs in the OEM setup? I don't see the Z8 as an all out racer and as you correctly note the roads here in SoCal leave much to be desired. Would love to hear feedback on the KS system which looks similar to the PSS9 system Bilstein developed for the 993 Turbo I had a while back. What doe the shocks and springs run for the full EU Alpina system?

  6. #6
    I honestly don't remember the exact price as I had mine installed a bunch of years ago, but I'm pretty sure its more than the KW system set.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  7. #7
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    I will look into it this week and post my findings price-wise. I suspect the KW system is better. I also suspect the Z8 crowd is not into much modification and would be more inclined to favor an OEM set up. It's a amazing after all the work BMW did to produce this car they f'd up something as basic as the suspension.

  8. #8
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    Despite the suspension not being perfect, it out handled and braked the Ferrari f360 when they both launched.

  9. #9
    Did you read this thread?

    KW Coilover Suspension for the Z8
    Andrew Macpherson

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  10. #10
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    Don't get me wrong, I am not a fan of the 360 (I'll take a 355 or 458 over it any day) but having lived with both cars I can easily say the 360 on a canyon road or elsewhere is a faster car and more confidence inspiring. Aston Martin DB7 vs. BMW Z8, Ferrari 360 Spider Comparison Tests - Page 4 - Car and Driver

    Also, the Road and Track test, which did the "Sibling Rivalry" with the Z8 and the 360, had the 360 doing it all "better". E.g., 0-60 4.3 for the 360 and 4.5 for the Z8. Slalom 67.4 mph v. 62.3 mph for the Z8. Braking had had the Ferrari at 110 feet versus 122 for the Z8. On the track the Ferrari blew away the Z8: 2 minutes 7.65 seconds for the Ferrari versus 2 minutes 13.3 sec for the Z8 Sibling Rivalry - Ferrari 360 Modena vs. 550 Maranello - Road & Track

    - - - Updated - - -

    I did.....and the thread ends with a cliffhanger as far as I can tell......no conclusion or results of the conversion.

  11. #11
    Yes, I guess you're right, Dieter never did come back to us with the settings so I ended up selling my set as I'd spent way too much time messing with tunable suspension on all four of my track days cars! For the Z8 I wanted something I could just get in and go without all that messing around!
    Andrew Macpherson

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  12. #12
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    I still have my old schnitzer suspension for the z8 around somewhere.... The euro alpina is so much better for everything other than the track, and my z8 doesn't see much track time anymore. That's what Porsches are for!

  13. #13
    Z8Mania
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    I'm very happy with the Alpina + Dinan sways + Dinan caster plates + Alpina 20" wheels + MPSS tires setup. It gets me better grip, better compliance, a little better highway turn in, BUT, you can't change the basic fact that the Z8 is a GT car and to try to take it too far into the hard core sports car realm means you will reveal other shortcomings, most likely the really slow steering. So we try to give it a nudge to the sportier side and be happy with that. A 360 will dance circles around the Z8. And while the 360 is a special place to be, the Z8 is even more special and that's its trump card. A friend of mine likes to call the Z8 "the German Corvette"- that's not entirely true- but I think it gets the point across. Plus with the new Corvette being so good- I'll take that as a compliment!

  14. #14
    I think you're right Jerry, ultimately a midengined super car, be it a Ferrari, FGT or Audi will run away from the Z8, but the pace of the Z8 is already dancing on the 'go to jail' borderline, so for me personally getting something faster for the road is absolutely pointless. As we've all discovered doing our track days, no road car can touch a Star Mazda, Radical, or any other single seater. If I really want to have a blast, there's always the Radical school at Pahrump and Skippy Barber at Laguna. I'm going to Laguna again this autumn for a single seater 3 day school, it'll be my third time, but it's so much more fun playing with those cars than ours on the track! ;-) By the way, anyone else wanna come??
    Andrew Macpherson

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  15. #15
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    Are you doing an advanced course? Could be fun? You should do Sonoma! Much more advanced cars and my favorite track. You can stay with us...

  16. #16
    I have a friend from down here who wants to do the one we did the other year. I said I'd go with him, so most likely it'll be Laguna this time, but lets plan an advanced one at Infineon with you guys in the spring :-)
    Andrew Macpherson

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  17. #17
    Team Z8 ZMates's Avatar
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    something to think about if you want to upgrade the dampers:

    http://www.bmwz8.us/forum/showthread.php?t=2497

    KW gave me softer front springs (170Nm vs 200Nm) for the front than on their standard kit. The rears are 200Nm. The softer springs up front give a more comfortable ride and also help reduce the natural understeer of the Z8. The guy I had helping install/tune the suspension agreed with their choice of spring rates. Apparently the stiffer springs on their standard kit are because most people installing their kits are going for extreme lowering.

    Stating the obvious, but...keep in mind the link between optimal damping and unsprung weight. If you have reduced unsprung weight (I dropped something like 44kgs just with BBS wheels and Brembo brakes, as well as lighter dampers and springs), then the optimal level of high-speed damping also goes down. The biggest suspension benefit will be from reducing unsprung weight and high-speed damping in concert: smoother ride AND better road contact.
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  18. #18
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    Have you ever driven the Euro Alpina suspension to compare to your KW suspension? Thoughts if you have?
    Quote Originally Posted by ZMates View Post
    something to think about if you want to upgrade the dampers:

    http://www.bmwz8.us/forum/showthread.php?t=2497

    KW gave me softer front springs (170Nm vs 200Nm) for the front than on their standard kit. The rears are 200Nm. The softer springs up front give a more comfortable ride and also help reduce the natural understeer of the Z8. The guy I had helping install/tune the suspension agreed with their choice of spring rates. Apparently the stiffer springs on their standard kit are because most people installing their kits are going for extreme lowering.

    Stating the obvious, but...keep in mind the link between optimal damping and unsprung weight. If you have reduced unsprung weight (I dropped something like 44kgs just with BBS wheels and Brembo brakes, as well as lighter dampers and springs), then the optimal level of high-speed damping also goes down. The biggest suspension benefit will be from reducing unsprung weight and high-speed damping in concert: smoother ride AND better road contact.

  19. #19
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    i installed when I bought the car the Ac Schniter springs and shocks.
    little lower but perfect in between comfortable and sporty

  20. #20
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    Z8-NL, which brake kit are you running. Looks different from my 8 piston set up. Is that the later six piston version?

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