BMW F30 Coilover Upgrade Guide

Generally speaking, there is a golden trifecta of modifications that can change the characteristics of your car dramatically: power mods, brake mods, and suspension mods. Of the three, suspension modifications are perhaps the most bang for your buck in terms of transforming money into enjoyment. This is true for most performance-oriented vehicles, F30 BMWs included.

While F30 BMWs are factory equipped with a solid foundation as far as suspension is concerned, it is generally agreed that most models could benefit from a slightly more rigid and planted setup. A discussion about suspension would be lacking without talking about coilovers, which are a very good option for livening up the handling characteristics of your F30. 

This guide is intended to help you navigate the world of aftermarket coilover suspension and give you a few well-informed suggestions about upgrading to coilover suspension at different budgets.

bmw f30 coilover upgrade examplePin

Are Coilovers a Good Option For Your F30 BMW?

The primary benefit of coilover suspension is adjustability. Compared to a traditional shock/spring setup, coilovers offer the advantages of adjustable ride height, dampening control, and even camber adjustment on most mid and high-price range options. 

All of that sounds fancy, but what does that mean for the handling of your BMW F30? While BMW does a good job of splitting performance and comfort down the middle with their factory suspension, coilover suspension allows for greater adjustability to suit your own individual preferences.

Here are a few of the reasons that someone might want coilovers for their F30 in favor of a stock suspension setup:

Aesthetic Purposes -

While this boils down to personal preference, some F30 owners like to close the gap between wheel and fender to give their car a lower and more aggressive stance.

Performance Benefits -

While F3X 3 and 4-Series handle well under normal street driving, under demanding circumstances, like on the track or on ‘spirited drives' on the backroads, stock F30 suspension leaves some performance to be desired. Lower ride height will allow better cornering due to a lower center of gravity and a stiffer ride. Coilovers also manage how a vehicle responds to imperfections on the road surface, allowing the vehicle to maintain a flat posture over bumps and curbs, giving the car more grip.

Versatility -

Due to the ability to raise and lower ride height at any time, F30 coilovers are a good option for those that live in areas with distinct seasons. Coilovers can be adjusted to a lower ride height in the warmer months for better performance and raised in the colder months to allow for additional clearance over snow.

With those advantages listed, there are a few cases where coilovers might not be the best choice for your F30. If aesthetics and versatility can be tossed aside and performance is the one and only concern, a standard spring/shock setup might be the way to go. While an upgraded spring/shock option might not provide the most customizability, the combo will still provide the same improved handling characteristics that coilovers do. This option would likely save you a bit of cash as well.

How Coilovers Work

All full-bodied coilovers replace the stock shock/spring assembly with a similar assembly of their own, adding a threaded shock body and stiffer springs. The threaded shock body allows for collars to move up and down on the body itself and are adjusted with provided wrenches. This is how ride height is adjusted. Ride stiffness is proportional to ride height, meaning that the ride of your F30 will stiffen the lower it is. 

While the general build of coilovers varies only slightly, higher-end F30 coilover options tend to have additional features that increase adjustability and change other performance aspects.

Common F30 Coilover Features

The core structure of coilover suspension is very similar regardless of which F30 coilover set you end up choosing.

Some coilovers provide damping adjustment at the top of the strut tower, allowing for easy changes to ride stiffness. This is a huge benefit to those who intend to track and daily drive their BMW F30, as this variety of coilovers can be quickly cranked up to max stiffness for an autocross event then softened for the drive home.

Many high-end coilovers also feature camber adjustment plates that allow for both positive and negative camber changes based on your needs. Most performance-oriented vehicles, including F30s, benefit from negative camber, as this decreases the area of contact between the tires and road, allowing for less friction and easier cornering.

Best F30 Coilover Upgrade Options

As with most vehicle upgrades, coilovers for the F30 platform are provided by a number of reputable manufacturers and can vary dramatically in build quality and price. 

For that reason, this guide will outline the best F30 coilover options based on price range and performance to make finding the right setup for your needs easy.

Best Bugdet Option - Bilstein B14 PSS F30 Coilovers

Price: $1,044.00

Buy Here: FCPEuro.com

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Fits the Following Vehicles:

  • 2014-2016 BMW 228i
  • 2014-2016 BMW M235i
  • 2017-2018 BMW M240i
  • 2013-2018 BMW 320i
  • 2012-2016 BMW 328i
  • 2012-2015 BMW 335i
  • 2016-2018 BMW 340i
  • 2014-2016 BMW 428i - 2015-2016 428i GC
  • 2017-2019 BMW 430i / GC
  • 2014-2016 BMW 435i GC
  • 2017-2019 BMW 440i / GC

We’ll kick off the list with a budget F30 coilover option that will not sacrifice performance at a lower cost. Built by reputable suspension manufacturer Bilstein, the B14 PSS Coilover setup is widely touted in the F30 community as the best entry option if performance is a top priority.

The B14 setup will drop the front and rear anywhere from 30-50mm, a sizable margin that will make that unsightly fender gap disappear. The mono-tube shock design coupled with progressive rate coil springs is what you would expect from most F30 coilovers, with most users reporting that the ride is significantly stiffer than stock suspension.

Benefits of the Bilstein B14 F30 Coilover Set

As the Bilstein B14s are at the lower end of the price range, they do not come equipped with adjustable damping or camber plates, meaning that the only way to soften ride stiffness would be to order springs with a softer rate. 

While some might struggle with the rigid ride for daily driving duty, the performance increase is said to be instantly apparent. Even without the customizability found in higher range suspension products, Bilstein B14s are comparable in performance with products twice their price.

Best Mid-Range Option - KW V2 F30 Coilovers

Price: $2,249.00

Buy Here: TurnerMotorsport.com

bmw f30 coilover upgrade kw v2 coiloversPin

Fits The Following Vehicles:

  • 2014-2016 BMW M235i
  • 2016-2018 BMW M240i
  • 2012-2018 BMW 320i
  • 2013-2016 BMW 328i/d
  • 2015-2018 BMW 330i
  • 2012-2015 BMW 335i
  • 2016-2018 BMW 340i
  • 2014-2016 BMW 428i
  • 2013-2016 BMW 435i
  • 2016-2018 BMW 440i

As a solid mid-range F30 coilover option, we suggest the KW V2 Full-Body Coilover set. At nearly twice the price of our suggested budget coilover set, the KW V2’s add significant performance-altering features that justify the price.

Similar to the Bilstein B14 Coilover set mentioned above, the KW V2 set will allow for a 25-50mm drop in the front and a 30-55mm drop in the rear. This amount of ride height adjustability should be enough for any fitment needs, both aesthetically and in terms of performance.

Benefits of the KW V2 F30 Coilover Set

The primary difference between the KW V2 set and the less expensive Bilstein set is the ability to easily adjust damping, making the KW V2 set more versatile for both track and street driving. While the Bilstein set is brilliant for track driving, there is no easy way to alleviate the harshness of the springs for day-to-day cruising. 

The KW V2s, on the other hand, make softening or stiffening the ride as easy as turning a small dial at the top of the strut tower. No need for ordering springs with different resistance rates. This added amount of adjustability makes living with performance suspension infinitely more manageable.

In addition to greater versatility, there is a noticeable upgrade to build construction with the KW V2s, ensuring a long lifespan for the coilovers in any weather condition. With stainless steel construction of the strut/shock body and composite spring perches, corrosion will never be an issue.

In the case of the KW V2 F30 Coilover set, added cost does equal added value. The main downfall of the Bilstein B14 budget option was its ability to only function on track comfortably. With the KWs, there is no such compromise. They’ll be great on and off the track and will likely function better for longer due to their high-quality construction. 

If you do spring for the KW V2s, make sure to pay close attention to the set that you are ordering, as there are different packages depending on if your F30 is equipped with electronic damper control. The EDC feature is included with M Adaptive Suspension, so check your F30’s factory build before ordering.

Best High-End Option - Ohlins Road and Track F30 Coilovers

Price: $2,999.00

Buy Here: Ohlins.com

f30 coilover upgrade ohlins coiloverPin

Fits the Following Vehicles:

  • 2014-2016 BMW 228i
  • 2014-2016 BMW M235i
  • 2017-2018 BMW M240i
  • 2013-2018 BMW 320i
  • 2012-2016 BMW 328i
  • 2012-2015 BMW 335i
  • 2016-2018 BMW 340i
  • 2014-2016 BMW 428i - 2015-2016 428i GC
  • 2017-2019 BMW 430i / GC
  • 2014-2016 BMW 435i GC
  • 2017-2019 BMW 440i / GC

Ohlins is a suspension manufacturer that cannot be overlooked in a conversation about high-end coilovers. With a racing pedigree spanning over 40 years, Ohlins has an outstanding reputation as one of the best suspension manufacturers out there.

Approaching the $3k price range might be hard to justify for some, but Ohlins provides the peak performance F30 coilover set on our list with their Road and Track package. While the Ohlins provide many of the same features of the KV V2s above, the Road and Track kit unquestionably does it better.

Benefits of the Ohlin Road and Track F30 Coilover Set

Unlike the previous sets, the Ohlin Road and Track Coilovers only drop the front by 15mm and the rear by 20mm; the aim being function over form. Due to that fact, these coilovers aren't the best option if a cosmetic change is what you’re after. The difference will be noticeable, but your F30 won't be slammed.

The primary selling point of the F30 Road and Track kit is the inclusion of Ohlin’s unique Dual Flow Valve technology that allows for a single-switch change between a customized track and road setup. Instead of fiddling with damping adjustments on all four corners of your F30 when heading to the track, one clockwise turn of the primary damper will put the entire suspension setup in customizable track mode and one counterclockwise turn will put the system back into comfort mode.

In track mode, low and high-speed compression is at its most active, and rebound stiffness is set to its most rigid setting, with the opposite being the case for comfort mode. All with the twist of a single knob.

The Ohlin F30 Road and Track kit is the ultimate no-compromise option for those looking to have fun on the track without doing damage to their spine driving there. The advanced and specially developed DFV technology makes the switch between performance and comfort driving modes as easy as possible while also providing some of the best quality on the market.

BMW F30 Coilover Upgrade Summary

With suspension being such an integral part of a vehicle’s performance, coilovers are a great modification to start with if you are interested in transforming your F30 BMW from a capable driving machine into the ultimate driving machine.

With so many options to choose from, this guide was intended to whittle down the vast aftermarket suspension world into a manageable one depending on your price range and needs. 

Any of the options on this list are guaranteed to make a significant increase in your F30’s handling characteristics for more fun both on the road and on track. Safe driving!

If you are interested in learning more about suspension options for other BMWs, you can read our other guides about E46 coilovers and E90/E92 suspension upgrades.

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  1. Comment author image

    Heath Strayhan

    says:

    As a dealer, I have clients asking me about suspension mods constantly. With limited knowledge of aftermarket options, I’m always looking for well researched information to be able to pass to our network of enthusiasts. I wish I could laminate this article and put it on my desk. Thanks for doing the work and providing a real world solution with the year model applications. Makes my job easier!

    1. Comment author image

      Austin Parsons

      says:

      Heath,

      Thank you very much for your kind words and input. We strive to provide accurate and helpful information to enthusiasts and beginners alike. It is always a pleasure to hear that our guides are reaching the right audience and having a positive impact on our readers. If you have any questions or guides that you might find useful, please don’t hesitate to reach out!