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Old 11-24-2012, 08:22 AM
cblandin cblandin is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2007
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Mein Auto: Traded M5 for Volt!?!?
I would suggest finding a non-sport equipped car and doing a test drive. It will likely have smaller rims, correspondingly larger (taller sidewall) tires, the different shocks/struts and springs - in other words, it will probably be a good representation of the "best case scenario" with regard to ride quality. Two examples:

We purchased a Volvo XC60 R-Design for my wife back in March and quickly realized it was just too rough riding for us (20" rims, lower profile tires, and firmer springs/shocks were all part of the RD package on that car). We got a loaner with the base suspension (17" rims, softer shocks and springs) one day for comparison and while still not perfectly smooth it did give us an idea of what it could be "best case" from Volvo. After driving the car for a couple more months and really paying attention to the source of the rougher ride I decided (on that car) that the rear suspension was inordinately harsh. I then swapped out only the rear springs and shocks for the base suspension units which made a significant improvement. Enough so that I haven't really considered doing the fronts or swapping to smaller rims. The car does not have RFTs, but does have a comparatively heavy Pirelli tire. When they wear out, I'll be going with a set of the Continentals which weight about 4 lbs less a tire (in hopes of an incremental improvement).

Prior to the Volvo, I had swapped rims on her NON-SPORT 530i from 16" to 17" with a correspondingly lower sidewall height. This worsened the ride quality, but not that much (which I was happy about). My guess is that gong to a smaller rim size might not generate as much of an improvement as you would like.

In short, I'd check out the non-sport packaged cars and consider non-sport springs/struts first. You will have more wheel well gap, but there is no free lunch.
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