So I figured that after a few months of ownership and some very kind friends who allow me to drive their cars on occasion, I can add some commentary to this thread.
First of all, what I purchased and why.
With just over 70,000 miles on my M it was becoming abundantly clear that my OEM suspension was shot. dead. dunzo. It had suffered through some rough years of ownership (I suspect) with the first owner which included an unaddressed torn subframe and completely shot RTABs. I needed something that not only looked good (because let's face it, while we all like to have our fun behind the wheel, it doesn't hurt having a car that looks
good too) but also performed well on my M as a daily driver.
I toyed with the idea of purchasing a TCK S/A set up for a while. One very good friend of mine has TCK S/As on his VFE Stg 2+ M3 and they feel absolutely phenomenal. In fact, when I drove the car I thought I was dead set on them. However, not to take ANYTHING away from TCK and what they have provided to the M community at large, their coilover kits are geared more towards those who need the coilovers to perform on the track as well as on the street. As much as I'd love to say that I will get my car on the track sometime soon, in reality it's more of a wet dream. I don't think this is something I do until I have something else as a DD. That being said, I knew I could still get a decent performance increase and an equal level of comfort for a few hundred bucks less if I purchased a set of KWv2s. Which is exactly what I did.
I ordered through the guys at Vivd Racing and I assure you that you will not find a more competitive price on these coilovers anywhere else - I highly recommend them. Thanks to the proper facilities and knowledge base that is the Obioban residence, the install was a breeze. I did RE RSMs with the KWs as well.
Unlike the TCKs (if ordered through a vendor like DER Motorsports), the KWs do not come present in terms of height or adjustability. Height was a bit uneven at first (had it corrected when the car was aligned and corner balanced) but still rode pretty well. For the first few days I did nothing but toy with the rebound. If memory serves me correct there are 16 'clicks' from soft-hard which allows for a pretty wide range of adjustments with ease. I ran them almost full stiff for a few weeks and realized that by doing that I was pretty much negating any and all comfort the coil overs could offer me. Very bouncy on the highway and to be honest not very comfortable at all.
After some conversation with fellow enthusiast, I decided to soften the settings quite a bit and run a shade more on the soft side than on the stiff side. Surprisingly, I don't feel like I lost much in terms of performance but gained miles in terms of comfort. I can say I'm very happy with the settings as they are today.
As I mentioned I also had the car aligned and corner balanced (if you are in the tri-state area I very strongly recommend Bavarian Specialties for work you may need done on your car). As expected, my alignment was WAY off (suspension install will usually do that) but my weight distribution was nearly perfect. I can tell you that the car feels as planted to the road today as I've ever known it to be.
Along with my friend who has the S/As another good friend of mine recently purchased a set of D/As. I was pretty anxious to drive his car as that was the most recent upgrade he made along with some SUPER light 18s and fresh rubber. It wasn't a very long drive but the impressions left on me were indelible. We found a couple of very long sweeping on/off ramps where I had the chance to push the car a bit and boy oh boy was it impressive. The KWs preform flawlessly for everyday driving and a daily spirited jaunt if you'd like. However, the turn in with the DAs as well as the mid-corner feel is very, very, VERY different. It almost completely redefined 'composed' for me.
I attribute this to two reasons:
a) the TCKs run aftermarket camber plates which, even on their most modest setting, offer more camber than I am currently dialed into. I think this provides for a more immediate and 'crisp' turn in.
b) Many people say that unsprung weight is not noticeable on a daily, street driven car - I beg to differ. The Linea Corse Le mans that I run on my car in 19" diameters range anywhere from 24-26lbs. The wheels on the car with D/As were 17lbs front and 19lbs rear. That's almost 40lbs difference in unsprung weight alone. The car literally feels completely different.
Some food for thought
+I knew what I wanted and needed from a coil over system before I purchased. I knew I didn't want to slam the car (although if I wanted to, the KWs would certainly accommodate). Order of importance: 1)daily driveability, 2) performance, 3) looks, 4) price. I suggest prioritizing your requirements pre-purchase as well.
+I knew I wanted to spend less than $2,000 for the system itself (in its entirety)
+I knew that because I daily drive the car I needed strong materials which could withstand cold, wet winters
+I knew that as much as I'd like to dream about it, my car is (at least for the immediate future) a daily driven street car that will not be on the track.
Taking all of these factors into consideration I am very happy with my decision to purchase KWv2s.
-In no way, shape, or form am I saying that KWs are better than TCKs or vice versa. They are both outstanding set ups which will provide for more smiles per mile than the OEM set up - guaranteed.
-As mentioned in some other threads, there is a noticeable 'pfft' noise from the struts over expansion joints or bumps at slow speeds. After having everything inspected by a reputable shop, it seems that this noise is just a byproduct of the design. I've spoken with some other members who have been running these coils overs for years and they say the same thing.
-I know that I did not mention other reputable suspension sets ups such as Ground Control, AST, and HKS (as this set up has received glowing review after glowing review). I only feel it appropriate to comment on that which I have direct, hands on experience.
-To further address my earlier comment about camber plates, I have heard through the grape vine that using aftermarket camber plates with the KWs will void the warranty provided by the manufacturer. I do not know this to be fact, but if this is something you're considering with your KW set up, I suggest contacting them directly or speaking with your vendor before purchasing.
Sorry for the novel.
Will update with pictures soon.
KW's just delivered:
Rears in (notice quality materials)
settled with OEMs:
Settled with LC Le Mans:
further details of the review added 6 months later:
Originally Posted by Vox Populi
Since I have wheel time in both cars with KW (mine) and some kind friends who let me driver theirs on occasion with varying S/A, D/A set ups..I can say this with absolute certainty and 100% conviction:
The TCK's do not feel ANY worse than the KW's in terms of 'daily comfort' or whatever the phrase of the day is. In fact, I would not argue if someone told me that they actually feel better than the KWs in terms of comfort.
not to mention the ability to adjust spring rate if you want.
End of the day, here's what my opinion is:
I have zero complaints about my KWs. In fact, I love them (not to mention some of the prices that you can get from forum sponsors are down right crazy)...
...however...if I were to buy my suspension all over again, I would purchase a TCK set up.