Coilovers or lowering springs. Which should you choose for a car you drive everyday?
Unless you live in an area with roads like a racetrack it is hard to recommend coilovers over lowering springs.
Coilover suspension was designed for the racetrack which means comfort and the ability to deal with bumps was very low on the list of priorities.
Generally speaking lowering springs will give better performance than coilovers 99% of the time on normal roads, especially if you have large wheels.
Lowering springs will be more comfortable than coilovers because the dampers are softer and because the springs are progressive.
Lowering springs will give more grip because the suspension is more compliant which means it is easier for the wheel to follow the contours of the road.
More grip = better braking = better acceleration = better cornering
Service life. If more force is being absorbed into the suspension ie the suspension is moving more, there is less load on your suspension bushes and wheels which means they should last longer.
Geometry. High quality lowering springs will set the ride height at the optimum. Maybe not the ride height that “looks” the best but the ride height which allows the suspension to work at its best, loaded/unloaded, cornering/not cornering, mid corner bumps/cruising down the highway. With coilovers you have to experiment to find the perfect ride height. If you want a team of engineers to spend hours finding the best ride height for your car, get lowering springs, the engineers will set your ride height and the cost is included in the price of the springs.
There is one thing coilovers can do better.
Quick direction changes. All the plus points I have mentioned above are possible because there is slight “give” in the suspension. 99.99% of the time this is not a problem but at high speed in quick direction changes, the slight give in the suspension allows the body to pick up momentum which can make the car less stable than with coilover suspension. But like I said, your probably not going to encounter these conditions very often.
So if we recommend lowering springs for a road car instead of coilovers, won’t the standard suspension be even better?
No, there is a limit to how much “give” you want in the suspension.
The fact is, if you are prepared to spend money on more expensive materials you can get lowering springs which offer 95% of the comfort of the car’s standard springs while massively increasing the stability of the car .
With lowering springs you are keeping the basic standard suspension philosophy, you are just spending more money on the materials which allow the performance the engineers always wanted.
With coilovers you are fundamentally changing the suspension to fit a different set of priorities ie performance on a racetrack not on the road.