It’s no secret the Subaru WRX is an amazing car with deep roots in the rally car world. The car already delivers great performance and handling straight from the factory. However, the WRX platform is also very mod friendly. Among the best upgrades include a set of Subaru WRX coilovers. They have something to offer whether you’re looking for stance, lowering, handling, or simply replacing old suspension. In this guide, we discuss the best Impreza WRX coilovers, benefits, lowering, cost, and more.
*This guide applies to all year model Subaru WRX’s. However, exact fitment is different so not all parts we discuss fit all years and WRX models. That said, we’ll primarily focus on coilovers that have selections for all years.
Subaru WRX Coilovers Intro
Coilovers can be a lengthy topic depending on how technical you want to go. There’s twin-tube, mono-tube, damping adjustments, ride height, and a lot more to discuss. We’ll cover much of this in a few moments, but let’s knock out some of the basics first. What are WRX coilovers? How do they work and what’s the difference between coilovers and traditional shocks or struts? Where do coil springs tie into this topic?
These are all understandable questions. Suspension upgrades can be very confusing if it’s your first time around the block. There are lots of different parts, and sometimes names are thrown around interchangeably. Worry not, though. In this guide, we start with the basics about coilovers, move onto more in-depth topics, and then finally recommend some of the best Subaru Impreza coilovers.
What Are Coilovers?
To understand coilovers it’s best to start with shock absorbers – or shocks for short. Shocks are hydraulic pumps that rely on fluids and/or gas to dampen impacts. They’re what help deliver a smooth, comfortable ride over rough surfaces. When a shock absorber is mounted by itself it’s simply that – a shock absorber.
Next up are struts. A strut is a shock absorber with the addition of a coil spring collar. The coil spring is then mounted on the shock, and the spring coils over the shock. You may hear these referred to as coilovers, which isn’t totally incorrect. Again, it’s a spring coiling over the shock.
A true coilover is very similar to a strut, but adds in the ability to adjust ride height. This is accomplished via a threaded shock body. In turn, this allows the coil spring collar to move up or down. You can mount the spring at different heights to effectively change the vehicles ride height.
WRX Coil Springs
Coil springs are the final discussion to help wrap this all together. Again, coilovers integrate coil springs with the shocks. It’s likely fair to call coil springs the most important aspect of any suspension setup. Springs hold the entire weight of the WRX – not the shocks. Therefore, springs play a huge role in Subaru WRX handling.
The coil springs control body roll while cornering, braking, and accelerating. Additionally, they prevent the shocks from bottoming out on the bump stops. There’s a lot that goes into coil springs, and choosing the right springs for your goals. We circle back to this topic in a couple sections.
Benefits of Impreza WRX Coilovers Upgrades
Subaru WRX coilovers deliver tons of potential for various goals. Coilovers don’t have to be all about handing or performance. Benefits of WRX coilovers can include:
- Adjust ride height (lowering or stance)
- Adjustable damping
- Improve handling, braking, etc
- Improve ride quality & comfort
- Replace old, tired suspension
To be clear – you’re likely not going to reap all of these benefits from one single set of coilovers. As such, it’s important to understand your goals before purchasing WRX coilovers. If you’re looking for aggressive street or track coilovers you’ll probably sacrifice some comfort. However, those looking to replace old suspension with modest coilover setups may see better comfort.
Anyways, coilovers offer a lot of options. You can find anything from entry-level street performance, stance & lowering, or all-out track coilovers. So, how do you pick the right set of coilovers to meet your goals? Let’s jump in and discuss spring rates, damping, and ride height adjustments.
WRX Coil Spring Rates
Spring rates are really important when finding the right setup. A spring rate is often quoted in lbs/in. Let’s use a 500 lbs/in spring as an example. This means each 500 pounds of force will compress the spring 1″. Kg/mm is the measure for the metric system and you may see “K” for short. 1 kg/mm equals roughly 56 lbs/in. In our example, a 500 lbs/in spring would equate to roughly 9kg/mm or 9K.
What’s important to understand is that a higher number indicates a stiffer spring. Stiffer generally offers better handling at the cost of ride comfort. However, stiffer isn’t always better for handling and there is a such thing as too stiff. That’s especially true if you’re mostly driving your Subaru WRX on the streets. Less smooth roads can unsettle the chassis and hurt handling if the springs are too stiff.
Ultimately, there isn’t a perfect answer as to the best springs rates for WRX coilovers. It’s usually best to let the coilover manufacturer pair the right spring rates with their kit. However, some offer various spring rates options. In these cases, ask for guidance or use the general rules of thumb. Stiffer to an extent is good for handling while softer springs are ideal for comfort.
One final topic regarding spring rates. If you’re looking to slam/stance your Impreza WRX then you’ll likely need stiffer springs. Going too soft can cause the car to bottom out or the shocks to hit the bump stops making for a brutal ride.
Subaru WRX Coilovers – Damping Adjustments
Shock damping adjustability isn’t a feature of all WRX coilover kits. However, many kits will offer rebound and/or compression damping adjustments. Much like coil springs, stiffer damping is best for smooth roads and ultimate handling. However, it can hurt comfort and handling on bumpy surfaces.
Enter adjustable coilovers. You can easily switch from stiff to soft thereby making adjustable kits ideal for street comfort and track use. Unless you’re looking for an aggressive setup then adjustable damping may be overkill. Especially if you would simply set it once and never touch the damping again.
In essence, if you’re looking for a good blend between all-out performance and street comfort you’ll want adjustable WRX coilovers. Otherwise, stick with non-adjustable and leave it to the manufacturer to set the coilovers to a good blend of comfort and performance.
WRX Ride Height Adjustments
This is a relatively quick topic since it’s pretty straight-forward. Height adjustment is what makes a true coilover a coilover. Most coilover kits will allow for about 1-2.5″ of lowering. WRX coilovers intended for stance and lowering may allow drops of 3-4″.
This extreme lowering isn’t usually ideal for aggressive street or track use. As such, you’ll notice most performance coilovers will not offer much more than about 1-2″ of lowering capability.
Best Subaru WRX Coilover Kits
Now that we’re past that info hopefully you have a good idea of what you’re looking for in Subaru Impreza WRX coilover kits. Through the rest of the article we discuss some of the best WRX coilovers. Please note – this is far from an exhaustive list. Dozens of great coilovers exist, and there isn’t always a perfect answer as to which is better.
As such, we’re simply focusing on a few of our favorite WRX coilovers for various goals and budgets. We believe these kits offer a good balance of price, quality, and performance.
1) Raceland WRX Coilovers Upgrade
Tier: Entry Level Street & Stance
Price: $519 – 719
Buy Here: Raceland Subaru WRX Coilovers
It’s no secret Raceland is a bit of a controversial company in the industry. How do they offer these kits at such a great price? There’s a lot that goes into that, and we don’t have time to cover it all. Instead, let’s just cut right to the chase. No, Raceland WRX coilovers aren’t going to provide the best handling or comfort around. However, they do exactly what they’re meant to do.
These coilovers are high-quality, entry-level coilovers at a great price. Tons of customers are incredibly happy with Raceland’s products and customer service. It’s about all you can ask for at this price and they deliver.
Most WRX models receive options for both the Classic and Ultimo coilovers. The Classics offer about 1-3″ of lowering while Ultimos add an extra 1″ on top of that. Some Impreza WRX models also get the option for Raceland Primo coilovers with adjustable damping. The 2002 to 2007 WRX even gets a mono-tube coilovers choice.
Anyways, that’s about all we have to say about Raceland. They’re certainly not the best performing coilovers on the market. However, the quality is amazing for the price and the coilovers do exactly what they’re meant to do. If you’re looking for stance, lowering, or replacing old suspension then look no further.
2) Subaru Impreza BC Racing Coilover Kits
Tier: Mid-Level Street to Aggressive Street/Track
Price: $1,085 – 3,000+
Lowering: 1-3″+ (Extreme Low kits available)
BC Racing is a popular coilover choice for many different cars. The starting price around $1,085 is about as good as it gets for such a complete kit with so much customization available. The most popular BC Racing coilovers are the BR-series as they’re the cheapest option. BC offers much more aggressive kits if you’re looking for even more capability.
That’s not the say the standard WRX BR-series coilovers aren’t already awesome. It’s a mono-tube shock design with 30-clicks of compression & rebound adjustment. All great stuff for performance and handling. The kits even include front camber plates, and optional rear plates where applicable. Awesome stuff at this price point.
Top that all of with an option to upgrade to swift springs for an additional $320. They’re often regarded as some of the best coil springs around. BC Racing also gives WRX coilovers kits the various options for front and rear spring rates. This is a kit that you can truly dial into your exact goals. Overall, great company and product.
3) WRX KW Coilovers
Tier: Aggressive Street & Track
Price: $1,799 – 4,259
Lowering: About 0.5-2.3″
Another huge name in the suspension and coilovers industry is KW. If you’re at all familiar with coilovers you’ve likely heard or seen KW before. They’re really good at what they do, and yes – you are paying a premium for that. With a starting price of $1,799 you get the KW V1’s, which do not offer any damping adjustment.
It’s expensive for Subaru WRX coilovers that you cannot adjust damping. Don’t worry, though. The settings are highly tested and delivered from the factory with a great balance of comfort and performance. Again, these guys know what they’re doing so the non-adjustable factor shouldn’t be a huge deal.
Those set on adjustable KW WRX coilovers will be looking at the KW V3 or Clubsport options for $2,959 and $4,259, respectively. It’s expensive and that’s going to scare most people away immediately. However, if you want the ultimate performance without compromise then these kits are the real deal.
Subaru WRX Coilovers Summary
Subaru WRX models are awesome factory cars, but leave tons of room for aftermarket mods. Coilovers are a favorite among many owners for good reason. Whether you’re looking for stance, lowering, modest street, or all-out track handling coilovers have something to offer.
Spring rates and adjustability are two important factors to consider. These can play a large role in what WRX coilovers are best for you. In general, stiff setups with monotube shocks are ideal for handling. Don’t go too stiff, though. On the other hand, softer setups and twin tube designs are good for comfort and moderate street use.
Raceland, BC Racing, and KW coilovers are a few of our favorites for the Subaru WRX. Check out Raceland if you mostly want stance or an inexpensive replacement for old, worn suspension. They’re hard to beat for the price. Those leaning towards handling and adjustability should check out BC Racing and KW. They each have options from mild to wild.
What’s your experience with WRX coilovers? Are you considering any?
Leave a comment and let us know!