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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 09-11-2009, 06:27 PM   #1
bobtoronto
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Standard BMW Suspension vs Stock 'Sports Suspension'

My Canadian 320i was ordered with the 'Sport Package' which includes 'sport suspension settings' (BMW's words), the sports seats and the three-spoke wheel.

My question is - what is the difference between the stock suspension and the 'sport suspension'? Different parts or different settings for the same stock parts?

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Old 09-11-2009, 06:55 PM   #2
omairkhanzada
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i want to know as well... and how long does it take you to hit a 100kph bob?
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Old 09-11-2009, 06:56 PM   #3
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I don't know specifics but it's about 10mm lower (I think) and slightly stiffer. Not much stiffer though.


EDIT: Probably more like 6-8mm lower.
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Old 09-11-2009, 07:40 PM   #4
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The difference between the sport and standard suspension is huge, lower springs and significantly stiffer dampers. In the US later model (02+) 330 sedans and all coupes came with sport suspension regardless of whether you ordered the sport package. So finding an E46 with the standard suspension can be difficult.
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Old 09-11-2009, 07:52 PM   #5
bobtoronto
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Mine is nice and stiff ...

errr, you know what I mean

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Old 09-11-2009, 08:04 PM   #6
dfjaws
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunbar View Post
The difference between the sport and standard suspension is huge, lower springs and significantly stiffer dampers. In the US later model (02+) 330 sedans and all coupes came with sport suspension regardless of whether you ordered the sport package. So finding an E46 with the standard suspension can be difficult.

Not to discredit you by any means but... are you sure that '02+ 330 sedans came with it standard? I don't think that's right, I could be wrong though.


Also, I wouldn't go as far to say that the difference is huge. OEM springs (sport or not) aren't very firm in the whole scheme of things as far as suspension goes. That's not to say you should be worried about upgrading to a stiffer spring though. With a quality damper, you can easily run a stiffer spring with just as good ride quality.
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Old 09-11-2009, 08:25 PM   #7
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I'm not sure when the switchover was but I know '03+ came 330i's came standard and I'm pretty sure it was some time during the 2002 model year that BMW no longer shipped 330i sedans with the standard suspension. Having driven both I can say the difference is immediately noticeable. The standard suspension rolls a lot more in corners but it soaks up road imperfections much better. IMO, most people who think they've driven the standard suspension probably just drove a car without the sport package.
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Old 09-11-2009, 08:30 PM   #8
bobtoronto
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I've driven a 2001 320i without the sport suspension and it is way softer ...

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Old 09-11-2009, 08:48 PM   #9
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There is a huge difference between non sport and sport.. The non-sport is a pig in the corners unless you can really hit the apexs perfectly whereas the sports package is flat constantly. I wouldn't buy a non-sport E46 ever again
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Old 09-11-2009, 08:51 PM   #10
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They also have different sway bars
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Old 09-11-2009, 08:52 PM   #11
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Sloppy vagina or sloppy vagina?
If you plan on modding it, it shouldn't make a big difference.
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Old 09-11-2009, 09:02 PM   #12
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IDK, maybe I'm just used to the coils. I never really cared for the sport suspension.
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Old 09-11-2009, 09:16 PM   #13
bobtoronto
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I'm pretty happy with the stock sports susp. for now.

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Old 09-11-2009, 09:19 PM   #14
SpeedDemon
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Stock sport suspension is good when it is brand new and for maybe like 15k miles but everything quickly goes down hill with even a tiny bit of wear.

It just starts out soft and wears too fast and becomes very floaty.
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Old 09-11-2009, 09:19 PM   #15
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Sport packages typically come with more aggressive tire packages as well which further improve handling. Shorter springs create a lower front ride height (not sure if rear is lowered, typically it is not on the sport packages), stiffer dampers, larger stabilizer bars make up the suspension upgrades of a sport. On the E38, they even installed a higher stall speed torque converter if you order the sport package so it can go beyond cosmetic and suspension. having both sport and non-sport BMW's, I will never buy any BMW without the sport package again.

The ride can be harsh with a sport if you drive on rough roads. I only start noticing it after long trips.
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Old 09-11-2009, 09:33 PM   #16
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Stock sport suspension is good when it is brand new and for maybe like 15k miles but everything quickly goes down hill with even a tiny bit of wear.
My OEM Sachs ZHP dampers felt fine with 80k miles. Even after replacing with new (non-ZHP) shocks I didn't notice much difference. There's no way OEM dampers start getting floaty after 15k miles.

Last edited by Dunbar; 09-11-2009 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 09-12-2009, 02:13 AM   #17
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i dont know what you guys are talking about... my 330i non sport 2001 is pretty firm... the only thing that i think might help alot are the stlye 68's with conti 3's and some sways but the way its working is fine for now
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Old 09-12-2009, 02:22 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by omairkhanzada View Post
i dont know what you guys are talking about... my 330i non sport 2001 is pretty firm... the only thing that i think might help alot are the stlye 68's with conti 3's and some sways but the way its working is fine for now
+1 my car feels fine, I think it's a great compromise between performance and comfort.
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Old 09-12-2009, 02:33 AM   #19
omairkhanzada
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i dont know why people even hate on the stock non sport suspension... cause regardless we all know people look at the suspension mod forum wayyy more then they look at any forum
and they look at it to UPGRADE wheels or suspension

and even such a simple thing as running a different type of tire affects handling so adversely that its insane.... sidewalls... p.s.i... this and that.... the only way one can really compare is when a car roles off of the line and drives them both

i do agree i would prefer if my car was a sport but not because of the handling attributes but because the sports are really good looking with different bumpers and all

that would be my major reason to buy a sport.... and probably around 80k miles the car will see bilstein sports with some lowering springs so it won't really matter after that point
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Old 09-12-2009, 03:57 AM   #20
SpeedDemon
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Quote:
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My OEM Sachs ZHP dampers felt fine with 80k miles. Even after replacing with new (non-ZHP) shocks I didn't notice much difference. There's no way OEM dampers start getting floaty after 15k miles.
Then you aren't very in touch with the handling of your car or drive like my grandma (probably minus the whole part of running into everything though )

Another possibility is that you have so much other stuff (bushings) in your suspension that is loose (i.e. FCABs, LCA BJs, RTABs, etc.) that you wouldn't even feel the benefits in freshened up dampers due to the bigger problems on your car.

My OEM suspension at 30k miles was completely shot in my opinion. I've driven in many brand-new ZHPs (less than 2k miles) and when mine had 30k miles on it, the car would float over bumps and crests in the freeway at high-speed. The dampers just lose their stiffness required to keep the car stable at speed very quickly
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