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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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Hi Blade, KV2s are approx £1400. I'll be having mine fitted on 25th, along with Ianhp1. Wanna join us? ;)
KW KV2s - what a relief!

Chaps, had the KV2s fitted yesterday and can only echo the comments posted by Manor, DD and Matty.

I had two gripes with the previous (H&R -25mm springs, standard shocks). the first was the low-speed ride, which was uncomfortable to say the least. Every road imperfection was transmitted through to the cabin, not as acceptable feedback but in a harsh manner. Certain familiar roads with poor surfaces were anticipated with dread and then traversed with discomfort. We wanted a more 'sporting' feel but this was perhaps taking it too far....

My second concern was more serious - on fast A-roads/motorways, encountering a depression or series of bumps at speed would seriously unsettle the car. Not only would the car settle too far on the first depression, but the springs were still in dialogue with the dampers about how to handle it ('What did you do that for? I wasn't ready, you bastard!') at the point at which the next challenge came up, which neither were then prepared for. In my estimation, a car with the stock setup would typically be about 25% quicker on a hard cross-country charge due to the lack of confidence causing a reduction in pace. Not dangerous, per se, but things were clearly not as they should be Down Below.

However..... The KV2s have banished all of these issues. Sure, the ride is still firm, but the type of 'firm' that we accept and embrace as part of what we were trying to achieve in tie-ing our cars down more effectively. The 'crashing' has gone, with the result in fact, that the perceived quality of the car has risen again as all the sharp shocks are no longer being transmitted into the cabin and challenging the trim-panel fit...!

And at speed on the open road, the difference is astounding. I've made the same journey to/from the office pretty much every day for the past six years, the last 5 months in the S, hence I'm familiar with most inches of the road serfaces (and how the previous setup dealt, or failed to deal with them). Driving into the office this morning was a revelation - instinctively I felt that I was able to maintain a higher average, particularly on a fast 3 mile section of A-road which is less than perfectly surfaced. You're conscious of the suspension immediately addressing the different elements of the surface and being prepared to respond to the next. There's no more 'floating' as the springs send the car skyward whilst the shocks have a bit of a breather and decide what they're going to do next, and the sudden, jarring depressions that on occasion, caused momentary winding or my head to touch the roof (I'm serious!) have been banished.

In short - it's a fantastic transformation.

But the acid test is this. I've developed two means to measure the effectiveness (or otherwise) of my car's suspension set-up - these are the 'BeerGut-ometer' and the 'Moob-ometer'. These work thus: hitting a bump at speed, the car would compress into the dip and my gut and my Moobs would fly uncomfortably upward. I'd mentally register the amount of movement, before the car floated upwards and said gut and Moobs would reverse direction (variance again noted). It's uncomfortable but has proved a useful method/metric.

Today, I can promise faithfully, hand on heart (or left Moob, in fact) that there was almost imperceptible gut travel and, I'm pretty sure, absolutely zero Moob agitation. At this rate, I'll be able to start leaving the training bra at home.

Go KW!
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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
And I'm not telling you which head! What day are you having them done? I think you'll be very impressed!
Doh! Sorry mate, I guess so.....

But then again, not everyone's experience with the springs was as 'extreme' as mine (must be something to do with the Hampshire roads). And for a third of the cost of the KWs, you get the lowered stance, and reduced body roll, so it's not all bad.

Hows that? Balance redressed?
Coilovers - update 1 week on.

Still delighted with the set-up and finally feel that I've regained control over the car. The coilovers are so much more confidence-inspiring, effectively 'shrinking' the car and making it far more 'chuckable'.

Just as Nathan at APS said, the car has indeed settled on its new suspension with the effect that the rear certainly won't need winding down as I'd originally intended (it's settled at approx. the same ride-height as with the H & R springs) with the front arches nestling just above the tyre. Could perhaps go down 5mm or so at the front to balance the look but as I've only done about 500 miles or so since the KWs were fitted, there could yet be more settling - I hope only at the front hereon in.....!

Happy all round!
You showboater you!

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!
Incidentally, Ess/Spinner what drop did you go for 25F 20R?
Hi Andy, initially went with the APS 'default' setting (guess it was 20 f/r?) and drove around on stilts for a week or so whilst the car settled (and boy, it did - rears were perfect after a week). Went back to APS last week to have the exhaust adjusted (and for verification that the APS map hadn't been removed at a recent service - oh and to meet up with Ian again - guess I was missing him) and had the front cranked down by another 5mm or so, so yes, essentially I'm running -25mm front and -20 rear.

Was just looking back at it as I came into the office this morning and have to say, if it was female, I'd be straight up one of its exhast pipes..... It looks the dog's.....!
Hi TX, the answer in my case at least is 'yes' - default rebound settings were left intact (and which I'm very pleased with). To be honest, I could probably have got away with the V1s in terms of the likely amount of damper adjutsment I'm likely to be performing - I was more interested in the potential for height adjustment.

Chaps, what's your view? Ian, you probably have a diagram or two up your sleeve? ;)

For those of you who installed coilovers, how many labor hours were you charged for? .
Hi TX, APS 'did me a deal' on fitting so can't quote an exact price. 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.
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