If you are upgrading your car to be a road racing machine, you can’t simply up the power. Most regular cars that receive a noticeable power bump also need other heavy-duty parts to deal with the power. Constant worry that your clutch will give up or that the car will not be able to turn as efficiently as needed is no way to enjoy your newfound horsepower.
The clutch thing we’ll leave for one of our future articles, but many of you will already be familiar with the most probable solution for the suspension issue – coilovers! Generally speaking, they are tough, enduring, efficient, they provide the necessary stiffness and response and many of them are fully adjustable, so you can tailor their operation to match your car’s needs. Perfect!
Except when they are not. Just like with any other product, you need to know what you’re buying and we’re here to help you save loads of time you’d spend researching. Here are the top picks for coilovers that you can use for road and racing.
There is no particular order, since different applications dictate different preferences. Read on and find out what’s the best option for your needs.
Fortune Auto 500 Series
If your car is not only used as a track day beast, but you also drive it in the streets, these are a great option. The 500 Series have had 3 generations before this one and the tweaks from each of them brought us these. One of the greatest benefits is their ability to react differently depending on your speed. So as you’re cruising gently with your kids, the car will not shake their teeth fillings out, but when you hit the pedal to the metal, it will also not wobble off the road and bend like a speedboat when you’re trying to change direction.
Moreover, rebound is 24-step adjustable, so you get a fair amount of ride-customization.
KW is a well-known company in the world of suspension parts and this offering gives loads of performance, reliability and adjustability. The Competition series is more turned to sports driving enthusiasts, as it pays more attention to adjustability options that help you customize the ride to shave off seconds on different tracks rather than delivering a comfortable ride for your kids.
They are two- or three-way adjustable, and compression is controlled by a blow-off valve that is configurable, while rebound is controlled by preloaded jets. Compression is also separately adjusted – for lower speeds the adjustment is on the piston rod, while higher speeds are controlled on a remote reservoir.
Add to this the well-deserved reputation that KW has and this coilover kit is one of the best options on the market, which is also reflected in the price.
Bonus: KW Variant 3
If you are up for very versatile adjustments, the Variant 3 is one of the best options on the market. The number of combinations made possible with dedicated height, compression and rebound adjustments is virtually endless. If you are willing to dedicate a lot of time to it, you will surely get the perfect setup. Oh, and also if you are willing to pay more than $2,000.
H&R Street Performance
Speaking of the top players in this niche, H&R is probably among the best. They were the first company in Europe to provide full-bodied coilovers almost 4 decades ago. They offer many different products, but here we opted for the Street Performance.
As their name suggests, they are geared more towards everyday drivers who want some zest at times, so they feature progressive rate springs, which offer the best mixture of performance, safety and comfort for any occasion.
Bonus: H&R Premium
Pretty similar to the abovementioned kit from the same manufacturer, but made of lighter aluminum. This reduces unsprung weight, so handling is further improved. They also cost a bit more.
Bonus 2: H&R RSS
The RSS have been extensively tested on the Nurburgring and they are aimed for race cars. A very cool feature is that adjusting damping also tunes compression and rebound to provide very good balance.
HKS Hipermax Max4GT
The complicated name stands for mono-tube coilovers designed for street use, but packed with loads of adjustability options. A custom piston and floating valve make regular street driving pretty comfortable, while damping has 30 different levels of settings. These coilovers may be designed for the street, but with such range of adjustments, they are more than good enough to provide serious support on a track day.
Bonus: HKS Hipermax Max4GT 40th anniversary
The added “anniversary” part means a few things. First of all, they are top notch. They have been extensively tested for numerous different applications under each of 30-way dampening levels and they are awesome. However, they are also Limited Edition, so not many people have tried them. A really cool option, if you can get your hands on one.
D2 Racing RS Series
These are mean. The RS Series offer mono-tube design and 36-way dampers adjustments. Moreover, their adjustments for height and preload are completely separated, so you can have the best of both worlds – keeping the strut travel at its max while allowing very precise suspension tuning. Yes, this means that they can be tuned to suit street use and provide cool comfort, but not many people buy RS Series for the comfort.
Bonus: D2 Racing R-SPEC
Can these be adjusted for street use? Nobody cares. The R-SPECs are designed for racing conditions and they provide fine tuning of various aspects, many of which are independent. For example, compression and rebound are completely independent. Moreover, heavy use will not cause any problems with oil temperatures. The R-SPECs also have remote reservoirs and matched valving.
Ksport GT Pro
The tube body in the GT Pro is 55mm, which is pretty large. Their inverted design is used to reduce temperatures inside and provide maximum travel of the shock. The GT Pros are also 36-way adjustable and the front ones also provide the possibility of adjusting camber.
BLOX Racing Drag Pro Series
They aren’t kidding when they say Drag Pro. These are designed for drag racing and they are perfect for that. They allow a wide range of drag-related adjustments. For example, you can adjust the ride height, and weights in corners. The latter allows you to compensate for the powerful forces that lift the front of the car at takeoff and make the rear squat. The better this compensation, the more efficient the start. Also, as the speed increases, the Drag Pro Series greatly improve stability. Products like these are one of the aspects that make the winning difference in drag races.
Yes, there are more options out there and yes, we have missed some pretty cool ones. However, whatever your suspension needs, you should be able to find something you like in this list. Mind you, not every model can go on any car, so make sure you ask before you buy.