Finally… Koni FSD’s Full Review & Unboxing – They redefine damping, completely

Even after just only an initial shakedown, fuck me…  what a difference

Okay, yes new dampers would have made a big difference anyway regardless of make or type. As I had a blown strut on the front and both rears were positively geriatric especially this is true

With these new Koni FSD dampers when and where you’d want for a firm and taught ride – the Koni FSD’s deliver and then some. I could not ask for more. Vs the stock m-sport the Koni’s feel about the same at 6 to 7/10 after that the Koni’s go all the way to 11/10ths the levels of mechanical grip has improved so much it’s staggering. Steering and braking are also much improved over the stock set up – but, let’s face it the original m-sport suspension was good, almost very good. It’s known for being  little crashy, and slightly harsh

Then you hit a pothole or rut in the road, with the Koni FSD‘s and you sail over like your riding on air?! I can’t explain this really, it’s just the sport set up you’ve always loved, yet as you’d normally brace yourself for that pot hole….. you just drive on. Yes, you noticed it, you just know it happened- yet your internal organs are not bruised….

After all the suspension works were finished I was determined to get the best possible wheel / chassis alignment set up – ‘fast road’ with all the factory understeer taken out. This kind of alignment can only really be achieved by a specialist outfit. Brunswick racing are just about the best at setting up BMW’s in the UK – and e46’s being what they’re known for setting up too. The same team who built and set up this year’s class winning e46 M3 at the 24hrs of Nurburgring also set up my e46 project car. So as much as the Koni’s with all the other supporting suspension refresh work was undertaken by me, it was Brunswick who tied it all together with utter precision (more on that to come with its own write up)

I now have everything done, the suspension has settled in, the alignment is true and everything is exactly as I wanted. So, time to get a second opinion. Let’s just call him, Steve – he’s worked for BMW for over a decade and knows the cars inside out. He’s always got the latest cars on rotation and is a real petrol head. He’s been a real support to this project too, so it’s only fair I ask him to review the car. He was genuinely impressed, Steve and I both took turns to drive and be the passenger. Steve was seriously impressed that the Koni FSD’s could be both ‘comfort’ and ‘sport+’ modes within a split second of each other – “it’s like the dampers have a mind of their own, constantly adjusting to the driving input and conditions” He also felt it was a great upgrade over the stock set up given the cost vs performance equation. Along with the strut brace, Koni’s and bespoke alignment- he agreed that on a tight and twisting road my old e46 would happily keep up with an M235i. On a final note, he lamented the steering – slightly misty eyed – “we’re getting there with electric steering, but I’ve got, to be honest, those old direct rack and pinion do feel fantastic”

My old e46 had an H&R Cup Kit – was a great set up, really great stance and fast road handling. Just about the compromise between sport and comfort I could handle. These new Koni’s matched with new BMW m-sport springs are far superior. More sporting yet smothered in refinement only the man behind me in the Mercedes enjoyed. On a fast and twisting A road that I know all too well, today in the Bimma with the new Koni’s I could happily go 10/15mph faster than I’d ever have. It’s night and day, really. Along with the Brembo sports discs and pads – hands down one of the best modification I’ve done to date

I had a brand new Audi estate behind me, they were making a point of being ‘up my Schnitzer…’ So, I just booted her along twisties. The new springs, Koni’s and Brembos all working at their best. The Audi did its best to keep up yet faded away, bless… Typical Audi wanker, my old Bimma way down on power, well up on grip and handling- proved that there are still some roads left where 60mph is the legal limit and for most above the limit of both the car and the driver. I love that I can average 60mph along this one stretch. It takes quite some doing too. More than that Audi could muster. It was a 3.0S so it could outgun my little 320i in almost every way – except where I believe it counts, in the twisties

So Koni, I just can’t thank you enough – the Koni’s have made such a wonderful improvement to my little e46 320i Touring

 

In standard shock absorbers, the main damping characteristic is defined by the oil flow going through the piston assembly

Combining this standard damping characteristic with the FSD feature, KONl added a special valve which is able to control a parallel oil flow next to the one going through the piston. This parallel oil flow is closed by the FSD feature, giving a rise in damping force almost linear to the time that the piston is moving in one direction

Put simply: the FSD feature is a hydraulic amplifier that delays the build up of pressure. One could say that an extra tuning option has been created in order to get the best possible combination of handling and comfort

Since it is an integrated part of the hydraulic valve system inside the damper, no additional cables, sensors or any other electronic devices are needed to operate an FSD damper

In comparison with costly systems which work on the basis of computer technology, complex electronics and sensors, FSD is the simplest and most economic way to significantly improve the ride and driving characteristics of every car

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