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KW Variant 2 Coilovers for S5

26582 Views 91 Replies 27 Participants Last post by  wwhan

S5 - KW Coilovers – Variant 2 Initial Review

A few of you will be aware Doubledoom and I had the KW variant 2 coilovers fitted to our S5s by the guys at APS today, the first to have them fitted in the UK apparently. After a 140 mile trip back home here are my initial thoughts:

Although I had the car lowered 25mm with the H&R springs about a month ago, this was always a temporary measure until the KWs were available for the S5. The H&Rs gave the car that much sought after lowered look and even better handling characteristics but there was always the compromise of a harsh ride when compared to stock. For me this was tolerable but as soon as something came available that could offer the same look but with the ride comfort of the stock set up I would have it. Enter the KWs.

First the look. The ride height is adjustable on the V2s and I opted for a 25mm drop at the front and 20mm at the rear to try and give a dropped front appearance and more aggressive look. The initial set up doesn’t look too different from the 25mm drop all round I had with the H&Rs but over time the springs will bed in and any fine adjustments will be more meaningful, so for the next couple of months this is the ride height I’ll keep. Adjustment of ride height just requires the wheels off to enable access. The rebound was left in the default comfort set up. Adjusting this is a little more involved and requires the units to be detached at the top.

An initial test drive around the industrial estate near to APS took me over a few minor pot holes and bumps and these were despatched without any jolts or thuds in the car at all. The H&Rs definitely reminded you they were a stiffer set up when travelling over such surfaces. The real test, however would be the drive home.

A variety of road conditions were encountered including the following: a series of regular thick lines painted across the road on an approach to roundabouts, cats eyes between lanes, railway crossing, minor pot holes and sleeping policemen. Without exception, the drive over all these surfaces at normal driving speeds was smooth and uncompromised and the default comfort setting of the rebound certainly lived up to its description and all my expectations (and hopes).

Although the trip home was blighted with torrential rain from time to time, the handling characteristics of the car were just as good as with the H&Rs ie the car felt as if it was painted to the road. Cornering at speed offered little detectable body roll.

In summary, the KWs offer exactly what I had hoped for. The aggressive lowered look which can be adjusted to suit relatively easily and the comfort of the stock suspension set up. Don’t get me wrong, the H&Rs are a very cost effective means of getting the desired lowering and the compromise to ride comfort isn’t too bad. However the KWs do give the comfort factor back, albeit at a price.

I’m sure Doubledoom will add his own review when he gets chance. Comparing notes following our respective test drives I’m sure he too will have similarly favourable comments.

I’ll give things a few hundred miles to bed in and then update the review. Hopefully we’ll have some better weather between now and then!

Finally, thanks to Ed and the guys at APS for providing first class service once again.

A few images from the day posted below. It wasn't the weather for outside photos so will post some of the car i) If it ever stops raining in the UK and ii) I've got the car clean (again!).

Suspension part Coil spring Shock absorber Suspension Yellow
Suspension part Auto part Coil spring Suspension Shock absorber

Suspension part Suspension Auto part Yellow Coil spring
Auto part Suspension Suspension part Engine

Auto part Suspension part Suspension Coil spring Vehicle
Land vehicle Alloy wheel Vehicle Tire Wheel

Suspension part Shock absorber Suspension Auto part Tool
Coil spring Suspension part Suspension Auto part Coil
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The H&Rs were fine on smooth roads but the minute you went rural you felt it.
I guess any hopes of selling on my used H&Rs are now well and truly gone :D

I wouldn't say that, Manor. A5 owners wanting to install the 25mm H&R Sport springs will be pleasantly surprised with how comfortable the ride is compared to stock. I have them on my car with 20" wheels and the ride over bumpy roads is amazingly comfortable.

To put it into perspective, I recently rode in ccompton's S5 with the same H&R 25mm springs and immediately noticed how much harsher his ride was over bumps compared to my car. So, I think anyone with an A5 who wants to install the H&R 25mm springs will be pleased. Now the 35mm springs are a different story. I've read a few posts where those are quite harsh, even on an A5.

Ess, great write-up about the coilovers! I might consider these down the road if I feel the need to replace my shocks.
Manor50, Ess5ive, Mattyboom, doubledoom, Ianhp1, and Spinner... did all of you guys just leave the rebound dampening set to the default setting on your Variant 2 coilovers? If so, I'm wondering if the V1s would be just as comfortable as the V2s? :confused:

The product description for the Variant 1 states:
"F 0.9-2.1/ R 0.9-2.1 Variant 1 sportive - harmonic with KW factory pre-set up dampening. The ideal systems for customers wishing to rely on the experience of our engineers yet determine their own degree of lowering. In extensive driving tests our engineers have set the dampers for the best balance between sporty driving, comfort and safety."

So, do you guys think perhaps the engineers setup the "default" rebound dampening on the V2s the same as what it would be for the "fixed" dampening on the V1s?

Would be very interested to hear your thoughts as I'm trying to decide between V1 and V2 for my S5. If none of you have done any adjustments to your dampening and are satisfied with the ride quality, then the V1 may be worth me considering. I could save about $400 by going with the V1 instead of V2.
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Adjustment is not a simple thing on this car, however, as the strut must be removed from the vehicle to access the adjuster... although perhaps not a bad thing to stop me 'playing' constantly with the adjustment!
Just to clarify... when you say "adjustment" requires removal of the strut, you're referring only to the dampers, correct? Changing ride height would not be that involved I assume?
Thanks for all the input, guys. I also decided to call KW this afternoon. The guy I spoke to said the V1 would be just as comfortable as the V2. He said the V2 at its most comfortable setting for the dampening would be the same as the V1's dampening. So, that was the additional confirmation I wanted to hear. I'm going to go with the V1.
Did you consider the H&R?
Yep, sure did. But, based upon on all the positive things I've read and heard about the KWs, I decided to go with those.
How many labor hours to install coilovers?

Hey guys,

For those of you who installed coilovers, how many labor hours were you charged for? Since I'm going to check with a few different shops for installation estimates, I'd like to know ahead of time if the hours estimates they provide me is reasonable or way out of line. Thanks.
What I can tell you is that it took approx 1.5-2hrs, including 4-wheel alignment, so that should give you a rough guide.
Same as Ess5ive.
I got quotes from 10 different shops and NONE of them quoted me less than 6 hours. The question is, are we talking labor hours or clock hours. The cheapest quote I got was $600 for the install.
Wow, I'm very surprised to hear that it took literally only 2 hours to install the entire set of coilovers and do an alignment! :eek: Like sizzle mentioned, I've heard estimates closer to 6 hours.

Ess and doubledoom, just to clarify... so from the time they started working on your car to the time you were able to drive off in it, the time was really only 2 hours? Or did they perhaps just only charge you for 2 hours of labor (as part of a special "deal") when in reality it may have taken longer to do the actual work?
Hey guys,

Another question for you about the KWs...

So, if I want 25mm front / 20mm rear compared to stock ride height, what does the installer use as a point of reference on the KWs to adjust them to those exact ride heights? I just want to understand this better so that I can explain it to the installer clearly. Thanks.
Can anyone confirm this issue with fault light? THanks
C99, that post doesn't confirm the question being asked about whether the fault light that supposedly pops up can be disabled.
TX, I noticed on your signature that you have KW coilover installed. Did you get the fault light warning on suspension?
No. I don't have the Drive Select option on my car.
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