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Bilstein B14 Review - Mk5 R32


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#1
DDA_R32

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I thought to write up my experience since installing Bilstein B14 coilovers, to try and help people who are having the same dilemma of wondering whether to take the plunge and splash out on these coilovers...
Like many of you, I looked online and found off the cuff comments about how they are amazing and how they turn the car into an F1 car blah blah blah... So I bit the bullet, bought them and installed them and this is what I think (Please bear in mind this is based on a MK5 R32):

Install is like any other shock/ coilovers, I was wondering whether to opt for shorter adjustable front drop links, with the fear of preload on the ARB and the ARB hitting the front wishbones... I decided to keep with my standard drop links and can report that the ARB does NOT hit the front wishbones. This is a question I have seen asked but never really answered in forums, so hopefully that will please some people searching for answers!
My top mounts were creaking prior to install of the coilovers, so I changed these out for fresh mounts during install of the coilies (no brainer!).

Ride/ performance:

As to be expected with coilovers, the ride does get harsher... I live in the country with very poor roads which does make you feel like something is about to explode when you go out for the first time with the B14s... I must say though, they are one of the more comfortable coilovers I have tried as they are firm but do have a bit more give than cheaper alternatives.
The handling of the R32 was good on standard shocks and springs, especially with the haldex AWD system, but on days the handling would feel very light with not much feel... It would go round a corner and stick, but you wouldn't feel very confident in doing so due to the lightness and unnecessary 'overturning' of the wheel, almost like the the steering wheel turns a lot further than the wheels and car are able to.
Since installing the B14's this has all changed... It really is a sense of 'why haven't I done this since day dot?' You really do not understand how much these transform the car from a decent handling car to a really great all rounder until you install B14s... The feel through the steering wheel fills you with so much confident to fly into any corner and you know it will make it out the other side with how planted it now feels... The change in direction is phenominal about how quickly the car reacts when the steering wheel is turned, whether that be low or high speeds.
They do not go very low for the 'cruisers', but they do go low enough to tighten the wheel arch gap, leaving a mean stance on 18s that makes it look just right... These are out and out performance coilovers, not going ultra low for the 'showers' but for the serious drivers who enjoy track days and driving in general.

I have no rubbing on the arches but I have not got mine all the way down...

I hope this helps a lot of people out who are in the same boat that I was and hopefully will help your decision a lot easier if you are considering B14s!

#2
VelovetAndy

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A very helpful review . Thank you. One day , when all this Covid 19 is under control, wouldn’t it be great to organise an ‘R32 only’ track day where we could compare lots of different suspensions that we are all running in the safety of a single marque track day. It would not be cheap, as I think we would need at least 20 people each willing to pay around £150-£200 for the day, but that would give quite a lot of track time . Anyway, I can dream .


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#3
DDA_R32

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VelovetAndy this is something that needs to be followed up on once COVID blows over for sure!!




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