Springs, Shocks, and Swaybars for my 1988 BMW 325 (e30)

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May 2009. Odometer 282200km. For the sake of track driving, I decided to put in a performance suspension, which included springs, shocks, and swaybars. Performance suspension keeps the car level so you can turn more aggressively without losing traction and without the feeling of "tipping over" for the driver. I picked Turner Motorsports' "NASA Pro Racing Spec E30 Suspension Kit" suspension package. (However, I ended up not installing the Front Subframe Reinforcement component that comes with the kit because my subframe mounting engine ears seemed to be in good shape, and the installation is costly.)

The Components

Project Total: $2028.31

The Result

The suspension is fantastic, but at the price, it's definitely a luxury upgrade. If you don't want to spend a lot on suspension, you can still take any e30 to a lapping day at the track on a stock suspension and have fun. Even just upgrading the shocks to Bilstien Sport Shocks would make a big difference over stock, and would be much cheaper (about USD$500 plus labour). That said, the full shocks/springs/swaybars upgrade really gives you a feeling of trust in your car at high speeds in corners, and makes the whole car feel more stable on hard corners. Though this upgrade is costly, it definitely feels like you're getting your money's worth. It gives you a drastic change in the car's handling. For street use, I think most people would find the NASA kit too aggressive. Little bumps in the road are jarring, and potholes really pack a punch, so you have to be careful what you drive over. The car is also lowered to the point that you might not clear some ramps/driveways/raised manholes/speed bumps. Don't do this upgrade unless you're willing to sacrifice some daily comfort for the improved track handling. For my taste, the car is still driveable on the street, but I would say it's at the limit of what I'm willing to accept. Long drives are a lot rougher on your spine. You wouldn't want to commute to work every day with a NASA-kit suspension. And *definitely* don't get the J-STOCK suspension if you intend to drive your e30 on the street. It's far too stiff for street use.


Here's the NASA-kit suspension unboxed:

Here's the result (notice the lowered ride height):