Koni has been touring the country, touting their "Activate the Nation Tour," showcasing their ACTIVE product line to the masses. We had a chance to catch up with them at European parts distributor Pelican Parts in Harbor City, California, where they had a BMW 330i duo to test out. The Active product line has been available for European models for a while, but the 3 Series was recently added to that lineup.
With most of the live adjusting suspension market populated by electronically controlled products, the engineers at Koni chose to go mechanical. Using specific internal valving to direct the fluid within the shock body, the ACTIVE shocks totally transform the road-feel of the car. The suspension instantly adapts to every road condition, making for a car that handles as if it were engineered for pretty much every road surface. Rough roads felt smooth, potholes didn't give the impact that we'd expect from factory shocks, and whoops and dips hardly upset the car.
The ACTIVE equipped car was driven first, the significance of which became apparent after driving the stock vehicles. When driving the 3 Series with the ACTIVE shocks over the brutalized industrial roads of Wilmington and Harbor City, it managed to soak up the bumps very well. Making sure we wouldn't get pulled over for erratic driving and that we wouldn't crack a wheel getting too nutty over potholes, we tried to make that suspension's life pure hell. The BMW had zero issues handling the gnarly roads and didn't seem to care what we threw at it.
Then we jumped in the completely stock 3 Series and ran the same route. It became instantly apparent that in stock form, the car was not as composed; hard to believe when a BMW is already incredibly well engineered from the factory. The smallest bumps could be felt and bigger ones shook up the entire car (comparatively). Under load on high speed turns, the car felt sluggish with increase body roll and weight-transfer, causing the suspension to unload more aggressively upon exit.
Overall, Koni's ACTIVE line is nothing short of impressive. It's not often that such a simple upgrade transforms a vehicle this much and especially at this price point. Bang for your buck, the ACTIVE kit is going to be tough to beat. If your daily driver is due for a new set of shocks, Koni's ACTIVE products can help improve ride quality in a big way, stabilize your vehicle on rough roads, and even help get rid of a bit of road noise. If you're going to be spending more time on the track, Koni does recommend their adjustable SPORT line, but for the once-in-a-blue-moon track day, the ACTIVE shocks will suit you jut fine. If you want further information or to see if they have products designed for your vehicle, head over to Koni.com.