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KW Variant 2 Coilovers for S5

26586 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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1 - 8 of 92 Posts
Thanks Manor...

Great to see you guys again over at APS... After DD returned the favour of a 'demo-ride' with the KW V2s, I'm already convinced and have booked in with Ess5 on July 25th for the same. Still interested in your next report though! :)

... funny, those lines leading up to roundabouts were really annoying with the H&R springs, so I'm glad the KWs seem to address the harshness of the H&Rs. :cool:

Was good to meet Mad too for the first time... he's now got the sexiest car in the North East!

PS. Manor your car looked great today, and really bloody clean compared to mine! ...put me to shame!
Thanks Ess, not sure if I can make the 25th, we have a family bash on the 26th and a houseload of people..................but I'll see if I can sort something ;)
Crap excuse! ...I've got a rally driving day on the 26th, a gig to play in the evening and a house full of guests too!!! C'mon, the more the merrier... at this rate I'll have to talk to Ess all day! ;)
LOL Ess!! Excellent write-up. Loved the gut and moob-ometer!

It must have been serious if even your head hits the roof... that's a long way to travel!!! ;)

Right... can't wait for next week now. :D
Ess... Friday Mate! :D
Hey Manor, just read your write-up in Audi Driver. Your prose is captivating and don't worry too much about the picture.

Seriously tho', great write-up. One question though - aren't the magazine staff supposed to write the articles? Seems whenever they run a few pages on an APS activities, the punters end up providing all the copy! Hope you were happy with your fee!
Great article... many pages and pictures too... Must have been a slow-news month! ;)

It was good to see a familiar face, car and registration. Nicely written too. I notice too that they couldn't even be bothered to photograph the car and printed your pictures! I can see I'm in the wrong business - I have to actually do my own work!

Another great victory for the A5OC!!!
To answer TXs Question:

TX - Yes, at the moment I have the coilovers at the 'default' setting, and I'm very happy with them... although I still have to let them settle and have the final ride-height dialled-in. Once this is done, I will run the car for a few months and see if I have any handling 'niggles' and discuss these with APS and may adjust the dampers accordingly. 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!

...I'm sure the V1s will be excellent, and if they had been available, I would have been tempted, however for me the idea that if I was unhappy with the ride/handling I could adjust it, meant the V2s were the ideal choice... Additionally, if I upgrade the sway-bars, adjustment may be necessary to optimise the handling.

...No Diagrams this time, although I have a simple formula to apply:

SPM = S5 + KW

Where: SPM is equal to 'Smiles per Mile' !

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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?
Correct, ride-height can be accessed from underneath with a lift, or by removing the wheel if you only have a jack.
Done this mod before on several other cars and it shouldn't take more than 30-40 minutes a corner with the right tools, provided you know the procedure even if you only have a jack and axle stands. First time, add 2x30 minutes for the first front and rear as you work out how it all assembles and the dissassembly/assembly sequence. ergo, I'd say 3 hours DIY

However, caution when DIY fitting new suspension, you MUST go and get it aligned at a professional garage with 4 wheel-alignment kit IMMEDIATELY... and if lowering, the camber will need adjusting.
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