I chose the Dinan Performance springs for my BMW F30 chassis 328i because they were the most performance oriented of all aftermarket springs available today and I wanted to bring back the playfulness that was lost with the F30 generation.
What makes these springs the best for that goal? First, Dinan Performance springs are designed with a linear design rather than the usual progressive. In the real-world, a progressive rate spring will help the dampers to absorb road imperfections and keep the ride quality comfortable. The trade-off is steering and road feedback – something the F30 so desperately needs. So progressive springs are out the window.
Secondly, the Dinan Performance springs are 33% stiffer than the factory springs and, according to Dinan, pair nicely with the factory M Sport dampers as well as vehicles with the optional electronic dampening, better known in the BMW community as the Dynamic Handling Package. They even have custom shock software tailored specifically for their springs.
Lastly, the Dinan Performance Springs offer a mild drop, not even an inch. While that doesn’t do a whole lot in the looks department, it ensures that suspension geometry doesn’t get out of whack and that the suspension retains most of it’s available travel. Perfect for a daily driven.
Dinan Performance Springs Highlights
- 30% increase in spring stiffness
- Lowers the car 3/4″ front and rear
- Designed with factory dampers in mind
- Available software for Dynamic Handling equipped vehicles
- Warranty friendly
Oh, I didn’t mention the springs were installed one day before a road trip and track event? Well, that was how it went down. I did not have time to get a fresh alignment but that didn’t stop me from heading north to Philadelphia before stopping at New Jersey Motorsports Park. It was time for Track Night in America – an SCCA hosted track day that begins in the afternoon rather than ass crack of dawn.
Just eyeballing it, there wasn’t much additional camber gained with these springs. And trust me when I say that there is no need for adjustable camber arms. The drop is so mild, chances are everything with exception of toe will be in spec.
With the springs installed I was on my way and it took just one drive around the block to feel the difference with the Dinan Performance springs installed. I won’t argue that ride quality wasn’t compromised. It certainly was. Road imperfections to which I were previously oblivious were now clearly in mind. But that’s not to say the ride quality was terrible. It wasn’t. On freshly paved roads and those that have been worn smooth, the ride quality is great. In fact, the wife didn’t mention a word about ride quality the entire trip.
As for street performance, nose dive under braking has been nearly eliminated. I didn’t realize how much dive the factory springs had until I first stepped on the brake pedal with the Dinan Performance springs installed. And while my 328i doesn’t have the largest torque figure, I did notice that the car no longer squatted much under heavy acceleration. Body roll is minimized a bit but it is still there. You’ll need to set of larger sway bars to get rid of that.
My biggest complaint, street-wise, is to no fault of Dinan. The factory BMW rear shocks are garbage. If I’m on the highway and drive over a bump or break in the road the rear of the car feels like a sponge. It’s like jumping on a worn out couch. All compression, no rebound. In fact, I’m pretty sure that with a proper set of aftermarket shocks installed, the ride quality will both be greatly improved.
Driving on track is typically an entirely different experience from the street. You’re pushing your car harder and the tires, bushings and suspension components are all working overtime to keep things under control. New Jersey Motorsports Park offered that contrast first hand. I’m not going to go out and claim that the Dinan Performance springs transformed the car in to a road racing animal, but I will say that my 328i didn’t exhibit any understeer on the high speed corners or feel the least bit unstable or twitchy. In fact, there were only a few corners where any push was detected. Brake dive was not an issue. Body roll was there but in no way did it distract from my focused driving. I’ll let the on track video below do the talking.[brid video=”24268″ player=”4063″ title=”BMW F30 328i at NJMP Porsche Cayman Spin Out”]
The Dinan Performance springs improve handling at the expense of ride comfort. For a driving enthusiast, what is lost in ride comfort is mostly made up for by eliminating brake dive and enhancing road feedback. The drop is both tasteful and mild so there won’t any loss of daily drivability or need to drive over speed bumps at an angle – at least I haven’t.
While ride comfort wasn’t unbearable, I certainly wouldn’t want it any more harsh and there are times when I cursed the rear suspension setup. This is the reason I rated these springs at a 7. I think a set of quality dampers would greatly improve the ride comfort – something from Bilstein or Koni, perhaps.
If the car is equipped with the Dynamic Handling Package, I would give the Dinan Performance springs a try and pair it with Dinan’s custom shock software. I’m banking that both handling and ride comfort would be great.