In our opinion, the F80 M3 and F82 M4 are among the best looking BMW’s of all time. However, if you’re researching lowering springs, you likely agree the M3 & M4 have too much wheel gap. A set of lowering springs is a great mod to drop the M3/M4 ride height and close the large factory wheel gaps. In this article, we discuss F80 M3 & F82 lowering springs vs coilovers, benefits of lowering springs, and some of the best options available.
F80 F82 Lowering Springs vs Coilovers
You know you want to lower your M3/M4, but should you opt for lowering springs or a set of coilovers? There isn’t an answer that fits all and much of it comes down to budget and what your other goals and plans are for your F80 or F82. Instead of saying one is the best option for all let’s talk about some guidelines to help decide what makes the most sense for you.
Generally, shocks are a good thing to replace every 6-8 years or 50,000-100,000 miles. Even if the suspension isn’t leaking it surely isn’t optimal for performance. Suspension degrades over time and simply doesn’t offer the same handling as newer parts. If you’re looking for optimal performance then F80 F82 coilovers are the way to go, especially on older or higher mileage examples.
The downside is that a quality set of coilovers will set you back about $1,500-4,000+. You can find budget-friendly options around $1,000, but they won’t offer the same quality, comfort, or handling as higher-end systems.
Enter lowering springs. If your goal is simply to lower your BMW on a budget and keep OEM-like ride quality then look no further. An expensive coilover upgrade might not make sense if your OEM suspension is still in good working order with lower mileage. Why spend $1,500+ when your primary goal is lowering the car? A set of F80 F82 lowering springs will only set you back about $200-400.
BMW M3 M4 Lowering Spring Benefits
Some benefits of lowering springs for the BMW F8x M3 & M4 include:
- Similar ride quality to OEM
Of course, the primary benefit of lowering springs is in the name – lowering the M3 or M4. This does help lower the center of gravity which can improve handling. You can also opt for stiffer springs that will create less body roll but sacrifice some comfort in the process.
If you’re main goal is simply lowering the F8x then it’s likely best to stick with spring rates similar to the OEM springs. We’ll talk about this further in the next section. Lastly, lowering springs are a cheap and effective way to lower the F80 M3 and F82 M4. A quality set of coilovers will set you back $1,500+ whereas a good set of lowering springs is about $200-400.
F80 F82 Spring Rates
Unfortunately, most lowering springs don’t state the spring rates. Most don’t even tell you whether they are linear or progressive springs. However, products that do list these specs can give you a good idea what you’re getting compared to stock. Specs for the OEM F8x springs are as follows:
- Linear springs
- Front spring rate: 185 lb/in
- Rear spring rate: 575 lb/in
The M3 and M4 use linear springs which means the springs maintain the same rate as it is compressed. Progressive springs have a rate that is constantly changing as the spring compresses and then decompresses; they often become much stiffer as the spring compresses further.
Spring rates on lowering springs are usually a little stiffer than the stock springs. This helps eliminate body roll and avoid any rubbing due to a lower ride height. Anyway, it’s best to find lowering springs that offer similar specs to the stock springs. This will ensure a smooth ride and compatible match to the factory shocks.
How Much Do Lowering Springs Lower?
BMW F80 and F82 lowering springs offer a drop around 0.5-1.5″ in the front and 0.3-1.0″ in the rear. Some kits also include spacers for the rear of the M3, which reduces the lowering. However, you do not have to use the rear spacers if you want the full drop. The Emmanuele M3/M4 lowering spring kit is a good example and we’ll talk more about that when they come up in the next sections.
Additionally, lowering springs state how much they should lower your BMW. Actual results can vary slightly, though. If the springs state a 1.3″ drop some may see exactly a 1.3″ drop while others may see results of 1.4″, for example.
Best F80 M3 & M4 F82 Lowering Springs
With the basic info out of the way, let’s move onto some of the best F80 M3 & M4 F82 lowering springs. Please note – this is far from an exhaustive list and plenty of great options exist. There’s a solid list of springs, height adjustable kits, and coilovers found on the F80 bimmerpost forum.
It can be overwhelming with too many options available. Plus, some options like the H&R springs haven’t received great reviews. As such, we’ve trimmed down the list to include just a few options that we believe offer the best balance of price, quality, performance, and lowering.
1) Masata F80 F82 Lowering Springs Upgrade
Lowering: 0.8″ Front, 0.4″ Rear
Buy Here: Masata M3/M4 Lowering Springs
The Masata F80 F82 lowering springs are a newer option and have only been available for a few months. However, Masata makes great products and these lowering springs have already received plenty of positive reviews. At $190 they’re very well priced. Masata in based in the UK, so shipping to the US will add some cost but they’re still some of the best-priced, quality lowering springs around.
On a base M3 or M4 they offer lowering of 20mm in the front and 10mm in the rear (0.8″ and 0.4″, respectively). The drop is modest compared to some other lowering spring kits. If you’re looking for a bigger drop then look elsewhere. However, the drop on the Masata springs is a great balance for daily driving, ride quality, and handling.
2) BMW M3 & M4 Emmanuele Springs
Lowering: 1.3″ Front, 0.3″ Rear (F80 w/ spacers) or 0.9″ Rear (F82)
Buy Here: F80 M3 Emmanuele Springs
Unlike most kits, Emmanuele Design shares the specs for their springs. The lowering springs use a linear rate just like the OEM springs. They’re a little stiffer at 194 lb/in in the front and 645 lb/in in the rear. Ultimately, these springs are well matched to the OEM shocks and will deliver similar ride quality.
The M3 kit drops the front 1.3″ and includes rear spacers, which limits the drop to 0.3″ in the rear. However, if you opt to not use the spacers then you should see lowering closer to about 0.7-0.8″. On the other hand, the F82 lowering springs offer a drop of 1.3″ in the front and 0.9″ in the rear.
It’s among the more aggressive drops for lowering springs, and they do make the F8x M3 and M4 look excellent. However, if you’re concerned about going too low for daily driving then you might consider the modest drops like the Masata springs above.
3) KW Height Adjustable Lowering Spring Kit
Lowering: 0.4-1.2″ Front, 0.0-1.0″ Rear
Buy Here: BMW M3 KW Height Adjustable Kit
This is a bit of a different direction than the two previous options, and for just under $1,100 it’s not cheap. However, the downside to lowering springs is that they aren’t height adjustable. F80 & F82 lowering springs drop your car a specific amount, and that’s what your stuck with.
The KW height adjustable spring kit solves that issue. It’s compatible with the factory shocks as well as the stock Electronic Damping Control (EDC). The kit includes KW lowering springs along with adjustable spring seats. It’s able to lower the F8x M3/M4 anywhere from 0.4-1.2″ in the front and 0.0-1.0″ in the rear.
It’s certainly a tough price to swallow considering coilovers aren’t much pricier. However, again, a quality set of coilovers will set you back $1,500 and that’s still the low-end. KW V3, Ohlins, TC Kline, and other top of the line coilovers are closer to the $3,000-$4,000 mark.
If you’re the type to set it and forget it then this KW HAS kit likely isn’t a good option for the price. However, if you value the height adjustable nature then it just might be worth the price. KW is one of the best suspension brands around and this is a great option if you’re not fully sold on coilovers, but want a quality lowering kit that allows for adjustable ride height.
BMW F80 F82 Lowering Springs Summary
The BMW F80 M3 and F82 M4 are excellent looking cars from the factory. However, if you’re looking into lowering springs then you likely agree the factory wheel gap is a bit of an eye sore. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to close the ugly wheel gap.
Coilovers and lowering springs are the two main options to lower the BMW M3 and M4. A set of coilovers can offer excellent handling, replace old shocks, and offer height adjustment (along with shock adjustments). They’re the ultimate option if you’re looking for top-tier handling and performance. However, quality F80 or F82 coilovers can set you back $1,500+ and closer to $3,000+ for true top of the line options.
Enter F80 F82 lowering springs. If you’re looking to lower your BMW on a budget then look no further. Masata and Emmanuele Design offer some great lowering spring kits for a fraction of coilover prices. There are also a number of height adjustable spring kits that offer the height adjustability similar to coilovers, but function with the OEM shocks and EDC. Regardless of the route you choose, lowering your M3 or M4 is sure to turn heads.