Hmmm -- the 225/45WR-17 Avon Tech M550 A/S XLs on my wife's 325i with sport
package cost $99 apiece from Tire Rack, and are far superior to what came on the
car, particularly in the wet. That seemed pretty darned cheap to me!
It's significant, but the base car handles very well. Rather than worry
about the additional cost of the higher performance tires, I'd be more
concerned about ride quality. If you live in an area where the roads are
riddled with pot holes, frost heaves and nasty expansion joints the firmer
suspension may drive you nuts.
R / John
True enough. I have a zhp and live in the mid-west. Our small town's streets
are good by mid-west standards, but the ride is near-brutal on some
portions. I think the handling benefit is worth it, but that's coming out of
a '92 Corvette with autocross suspension.A "normal" driver might not be any
In article <BLOCKSPAMfishfry-CEC8A5.18532619052006
more, so one of the first things I did was to replace the suspension -
Bilstein PSS9 coil-over kit, Eibach front and rear sway bars, Racing
Dynamics front stress bar. I had the Bilstein kit installed
professionally and had it lowered to the max (although later had to
raise it back up a little over 1/2" due to jacking and ground clearance
considerations), with stiffness set to 6 on a scale of 1-9, where 1=too
soft :-) and 9=track use.
The above upgrades made/make a huge difference but obviously I do have
to take care with road hazards such as pot-holes (to be avoided at all
costs, especially since I live in New England, where we breed the
suckers), and even speed-bumps which must be approached slowly and
cautiously, if at all.
The car handles fantasic. I took it to an advanced driving class run by
my local BMW CCA chapter. One of the exercises on the skid pan was to
try to drift the car all the way around a circle, with the DSC fully
disengaged, of course; I couldn't get the back-end to break away for
more than a fraction of a second, so one of the instructors (who had
just shown us how to do this using not only an M5 but also his BIG dooly
pickup truck - a truly skilful demonstration) pumped my tires up to
50psi (about 15psi above normal) and took the wheel himself. He was a
bit more successful than I, but even so couldn't keep the back-end out
there for more than a couple of seconds before it regained traction,
despite multiple attempts.
In general it feels like I am on rails - I can change lanes at high
speed with two 'twitches' of the steering wheel....rock solid.
No question in my mind that I did the right thing, even though I have
cleary put my warranty at risk :-(
I'll probably change the original Michelin Pilot tires for the Pilot 2s
this summer - I'm expecting that to make the handling feel just a tad
I bought a 330xi and added the M series wheels, so it looks a lot like the M
sports pack, but is not as harsh.
I find the handling to be excellent and would NOT want to drive the car with
Bilstein... harsher is not necessarily better.
My last one was modded with Bilstein and stress bars... on the track it is
useful, on the road it is completely pointless. I also had a 540 that was
the ultimate in comfort and excellent handling... BMW knows what they are
doing for general driving conditions... if that is you, then BMW suspension
is great.... if you want more response and better handling (on good roads or
track) then the sports pack is good. But don't think you need it... the
regular is miles ahead of anything else out there on the market.
I agree if you buy anything american, you NEED to modify heavily ... this is
not the case with bimmers.
response the setup I have gives me, and others (very few) that I have
allowed to drive it and who are also BMW enthusiasts, seem to agree.
The guy who did the Bilstein install (the owner of 3D Autoworks, BMW
racer, member of IAIBMWSP, and who only works on BMWs -
www.3Dautoworks.com ) liked the way it handled so much when he'd
finished with it that he was going to do the same to his wife's E46.
Anyway, like I said, it's a preference. If I had to commute in the car
every day I might end up finding it a bit harsh, but I don't - I drive
the BMW for fun and the way I like to drive, it fits me like a glove.
For general use (grocery shopping, getting garden supplies at Home
Depot, taking the dog to the lake to swim, etc.), my old Explorer does
They are a great outfit - truly nice people as well as very professional
and trustworthy. I almost don't mind writing the checks! ;-)
I'm thinking of having them do a brake job on the car -
stainless/braided lines plus replacement Bembro all round. I have to
find a way of masking this 'investment' from the wife first though.
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