Other than your tires, the suspension you run is one of the most important elements that’ll affect your handling and lap time around the track. We also can’t deny its importance when it comes to how your ride looks. So while you can get low and improve your handling characteristics with a set of lowering springs, 99% of car guys will tell you coilovers are the way to go for the best performance, adjustability and ride comfort.
But before you go out and spend stacks on new suspension, it’s always wise to do your homework and make sure the parts you’re getting fit what you’re trying to do. If you’re building a car for stance that you’re never going to take on the track, you don’t need to necessarily spend $6,000—maybe you just need something comfortable that has a good range of lowering adjustability. On the other hand, if you plan on tracking your car regularly, you might want to invest in coilovers that will give you the best tuning ability to shave every second off the road course. So here’s our coilover guide—while we couldn’t include every manufacturer and coilover option out there, we’ve included the top lines here.
KW Competition (top)
There’s a reason Brittani is straddling this coilover and it’s not just because they’re pretty. These are KW’s newest coilovers and they’re built for the person who’s looking to shave as many seconds as possible in his or her new FR-S. Using a mono-tube design, these coils are three-way adjustable and offer the most adjustment range for the FR-S today. The rebound forces rely on preloaded jets utilizing specific needles and the main compression forces are managed by a versatile pre-configurable blow-off valve, not to mention the compression adjustments are separate—high speed is adjusted on the remote reservoir while low speed is on the piston rod. These babies are the best track options you can buy for the FR-S and are also available in a number of other applications as well! kwautomotive.com
Fortune Auto 500 Series (bottom)
If you’re looking for a good street coilover, check out these from Fortune. On their 4th generation design, these coils are designed to react differently at low and high speeds to give you the best control, response and comfort. The mono-tube dampers are also 24-step rebound adjustable. fortune-auto.com
For the Daily Driver
1. BLOX Racing Street Series
A full-bodied suspension at an affordable price, these BLOX Racing coilovers are perfect for the street. They also offer a Tuner Series street coilover that’s a tad more stiff.
2. H&R Street Performance
For almost 40 years, H&R has been in the game of coilovers; in fact they were the first company to introduce an aftermarket spring in Europe and also the originator of the full-bodied coilover suspension. It’s safe to say they know what they’re doing! Their Street Performance coilovers are all custom-valved and engineered using progressive rate springs for the best performance and control possible.
3. HKS Hipermax Max4GT
Designed in-house by HKS Japan, these mono-tube design street coilovers feature 30 levels of damping adjustment and a special piston and movable floating valve to help improve ride comfort for the street.
4. Ksport Kontrol Pro
These are Ksport’s entry-level coilovers for the everyday guy who wants to lower their car with 36 levels of dampening adjustment. They also have adjustable lowering mounts and a pillow ball design to eliminate noise. The mono-tube coils come with an 18-month warranty for added assurance.
On the tightest budget of all? Raceland’s are the way to go offering height adjustability, increased spring rates and damping stiffness over OEM to improve handling.
6. Raceland Ultimo
These thangs from Raceland are designed specifically for the ’02-07 Subaru Impreza and ’04 STI. The coilovers allow you to dial in your suspension with the included pillow ball mounts and camber plates. Ride height can be adjusted via hub mounts which won’t mess with spring preload like other coilovers.
Affordabilty is the key to Rokkor. If you’re looking for coilovers on the budget, Rokkor will have you covered along with a three-year warranty. Pictured here are the EM2 Honda Civic coilovers that offer 1-3" of lowering adjustability. The range is currently limited to Honda, Mazda, Scion, Subaru, BMW and VW/Audi.
8. ST Suspensions
Not everybody knows this but ST Suspensions is a brand under KW Automotive. Their coilovers have all the same safety (Germany TUV approved), quality and performance characteristics from KW without the steep price of high-end models. They feature preset dampening rates and are optimized to give you a comfortable and sporty ride.
Want to win a free set of ST Suspensions coilovers? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with a photo of your car, contact information and one reason why you need a new set of coilovers. Good luck!
9. Street Edge
You probably haven’t heard of them but they’re breaking into the scene offering budget coilovers that will give you a 15-25% stiffer ride than stock for a comfy ride. They’re also assembled in California and it’s hard to knock that!
10. Tanabe Sustec Pro Z40
Tested on the track, these Tanabe coilovers have also been put through the hardest real world scenarios to give you the best performance possible. They feature a special tapered locknut that prevents it from becoming loose during harsh driving, while also constructed using a twin-tube design and KYB dampers that are 40-way dampening adjustable.
11. Tein Street Advance Damper
Very little introduction is needed for Tein. Designed and manufactured in Japan, they’re some of the best money can buy which can be said about their street kit.
12. TruHart Basic
These TruHart Basics are a good option for the Honda/Acura, Nissan, Scion or Subaru owner looking for a very adjustable drop while also getting decent handling for the street. TruHart also offers camber kits, control arms and bushings at stellar prices.
For the Weekend Warrior
13. D2 Racing RS Series
The D2 RS coils are 36-way dampening adjustable using a mono-tube design with separate height and preload adjustments. This will allow for more precise suspension tuning while still maintaining full strut travel at all times.
14. Eibach Multi-Pro-R2
These Eibachs can help tune corner weights for optimum handling balance. There’s also a huge range of damping adjustability so you can optimize your car for comfort or the track.
15. Godspeed Project Mono-RS
Offered for the Nissan 240SX, Honda Civic, Subaru, Lexus and Mazda, these Godspeed mono-tube coilovers are 32-way adjustable and feature built-in camber plates on some models. A good choice for the weekend track guy on a tighter budget.
16. H&R Premium
These are basically the same as H&R’s Street Performance coilovers but they’ll cost you a little extra coin. Not because they’re miles different but the struts use lighter aluminum to help reduce unsprung weight to further improve your handling.
17. HKS Hipermax MAX4GT 40th anniversary Limited-Edition
This is HKS’ ultimate coilover option for the street and track. The mono-tube coils are 30-way dampening adjustable and are tested tuned for each application. But these will only be offered in limited quantities so brownie points if you can get your hands on a set of these.
18. Ksport GT Pro
As opposed to standard coilovers, these Ksport GT Pros are the business using an oversized 55mm inverted mono-tube shock body for better performance. They’re made to help reduce internal temps with max shock travel. The 36-way adjustable coilovers also come with camber adjustability up front.
19. KW Clubsport
Designed for the guy who daily drives his car but also spend his weekend on the track with a set of track tires, the Clubsports are some of the most popular used suspension around. They allow you to adjust the suspension geometry with option top mounts, plus allow you to independently adjust rebound and compression to fine-tune all those kinks for the fastest lap time.
20. Tein Street Flex Damper
These are similar to Tein’s Street Advance Damper kit except more flexible with 16-way damping and exclusive upper mounts. It’s an easy out-of-the-box solution for anyone who drives his or her car on the street or track.
For the Track Junkie
21. BLOX Racing Drag Pro Series
Designed strictly for drag racing, these coilovers will help drag racers get setup properly to adjust the ride height and corner weights to help compensate for front-end lift and rear-end squatting. They’ll greatly improve 60 ft times and stability at top speeds.
22. D2 Racing R-SPEC
D2’s top-of-the-line bad boy uses race-spec spring rates with matched valving and remote reservoirs. To let you fine-tune your car on the track for the best lap times possible. You can adjust the shock’s compression and rebound independently while shock oil temperatures are maintained under the toughest conditions.
23. H&R RSS
These are H&R’s “boss” coilovers and have been designed and tested on the world-famous Nürburgring. They’ve been engineered for race cars and unlike H&R’s other suspension options, you can adjust the damping on these babies which will simultaneously fine-tune rebound and compression for the best balance.
24. Ksport Version RR
Built specifically for road racing, these Ksports use a similar mono-tube design as all their other coilovers but are reengineered with more aggressive spring rates and valving for maximum handling performance.
25. Tein Super Racing Damper
Proven in time attack racing, these Super Racing coilovers feature separate compression and rebound adjustment along with separate ride height and spring preload settings.
Who’s The Model? If you’ve attended any SoCal car show this year, chances are you’ve run into this half Vietnamese/ half Mexican hottie Brittani Paige. Don’t let her tattoos fool you; she’s one of the sweetest models we know. You’ll find another photo of her in Readers’ Rides but feel free to stalk her on her Instagram and Vine under the name @miss_brittani_paige.