There are many ways to upgrade your vehicle's suspension. You can simply replace the existing shocks (or struts) and springs to lower your vehicle. Sway bars (sometimes called anti-roll bars) can also improve handling and reduce body roll. However, many enthusiasts feel that the pinnacle of complete suspension upgrades is to install a set of coil-overs.
What is a coil-over? While many think that a coil-over is simply a shock and spring put together, there's more to it than that. A typical coil-over set-up, such as the H&R Street-Performance Coil-Over (pictured above), is specifically tuned and designed for each vehicle application. It features a threaded body so the spring perch can be adjusted up or down to change the vehicle's ride height. This kit uses progressive rate springs that assure an acceptable ride on the street while dramatically improving handling, reducing body roll and brake dive. For more information take a look at "A Look at Lowering."
For all their benefits, one would think they would be much more common. However, two main stumbling blocks come between most enthusiasts and coil-overs. The first is price. Coil-overs are more expensive than simply replacing the springs on a vehicle. The second hesitation many have is a concern about ride stiffness.
I personally used an H&R coil-over kit on my E36 BMW M3 for the last seven years I owned the car. The increase in handling and cosmetic appearance was quite dramatic. Myself and others who drove the car found that the ride wasn't as stiff as expected from a coil-over kit. In fact, the ride was comparable to a standard performance shock and lowering spring set-up.
Shop by vehicle to see which suspension options work best for your vehicle.