As great as the Subaru BRZ handles from the factory, a set of coilovers to give the sports car a lower stance and to enhance its handling capabilities was a top priority.
Suspension upgrades for the BRZ and FR-S are plentiful to say the least, whether it be lowering springs or full coilovers. From the get-go, we wanted the car would to benefit from a set of coilovers rather than just lowering springs. While there are multiple offerings on the market when it comes to coilovers, there are few companies that live up to the quality and standard you expect when spending hard-earned cash.
SEE ALSO: Project BRZ: Why I Bought the Subaru BRZ
For our project BRZ, we opted for a set of KW Variant 3 coilovers from KW Suspensions. One of the best-known suspension manufacturers in the world, all of KW Suspensions’ coilovers go through stringent German TUV safety and quality testing standards.
But what sold us on the KW’s is its reputation of maintaining an as close-to-stock ride quality as possible. One of the biggest downfalls to installing a set of coilovers to any vehicle is the compromise in ride quality. While you’ll always have to sacrifice something for better performance, the better the ride quality is worth considering.
The KW Variant 3 coilovers allowed us to lower our BRZ anywhere from 0.79 to almost two inches in the front and the rear. These coilovers are double adjustable, allowing us to control the rebound and compression damping making them versatile enough on the street, and more than competitive enough on the track.
KW specifically designed and engineered each product for that particular vehicle’s proper range of motion, weight loads, and lowering heights. The result is superb handling and minimal sacrifice to the ride quality.
Having experienced a variety of different manufacturers’ coilovers across several different vehicles, I was thoroughly surprised by how excellent the ride felt.The BRZ doesn’t have the most comfortable ride to begin with, but that’s to be expected. If you were to jump into a factory BRZ after riding in a BRZ sporting a set of KW Variant 3 coilovers, might not even notice the marginally rougher ride.
It’s also worth noting that all KW coilovers ship with a “basic setting” for your particular vehicle. Adjusting that is also a breeze and doesn’t require taking the wheels off the vehicle.
Our only complaint with the KW coilovers was the lack of being able to adjust the camber on the vehicle. That meant a trip to Wheel Warehouse in Anaheim, Calif. was in order to get the BRZ back to recommended specifications. It’s a good idea to do that after any suspension modifications.
Once the vehicle was on their alignment rack, Wheel Warehouse’s technicians readjusted the vehicle’s camber, caster, and toe to within the factory specified range. Surprisingly, the BRZ’s figures didn’t change significantly with the install of the KW coilovers. Regardless, we left with the peace of mind that our tires won’t be shredded every couple of months, knowing the BRZ was properly aligned.
While the vehicle was getting a lowered stance courtesy of KW, we decided it was time to give the BRZ a way to separate itself from the crowd without going overboard. While there are plenty of body kits already available for the 86 twins, we opted for something more subdued in the Chargespeed Bottom Line carbon fiber kit. As a daily driver, slapping on a widebody kit such as the popular Rocket Bunny that was showcased on several FR-S vehicles at the 2012 SEMA Show isn’t practical. The Chargespeed carbon kit gives the BRZ a transformed look without being obnoxious. The kit included a carbon fiber front lip, side skirts, and side spoilers for the rear bumper.
The fitment was perfect, making installation simple. One thing to note is that the addition of a lip kit, or any body kit for that matter, will give your vehicle an even lower stance than before. Those that don’t have any prior experience driving lowered vehicles with kits should take caution that scraping over speed bumps and getting out of pesky driveways could be troublesome. It’s worth keeping in mind that your driving habits and styles have to change with a lowered vehicle.
In addition, we ordered an STI gurney flap from Japan, one of the many accessories Subaru offers for the BRZ. While some would sit there and argue that the gurney flap does offer aerodynamic functionality, we’re absolutely fine with the idea that it just adds a subtle touch to the rear of the BRZ at a low cost. Finally, a set of clear corners from Japan were also imported to get rid of the factory amber side indicators.
While our Subaru BRZ project is off to a great start, there’s still plenty to tackle. A custom set of Work Wheels are on order and being shipped from Japan, and those will be paired up with a set of Falken FK-453 tires. In our next story, we’ll address the power of the Subaru BRZ and how to give it a little more performance without breaking the bank account and sacrificing reliability.
GALLERY: Subaru BRZ KW V2 Coilovers and Chargespeed Body Kit
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