OLLIE’S VW UP! GTI
Ollie’s Up GTi already caught the KW virus, but has now got a new variant, if the form of a set of fully adjustable Variant 3 coilovers
If you were to ask me which single modification I would make to any car, my answer would always be coilovers. A good chassis setup is a characteristic I highly value, and I’ve had a history of owning small, nimble and sub-150bhp cars, as I believe the best parties are in the bends! Not only that, but lowering your car and minimising that arch gap makes any car look 10 times better in my opinion.
Back in 2018 it was my very own UP GTi that was the first ever to feature a set of KW coilovers. KW began by releasing the street-focused Variant 1 coilover with factory damping settings and ride height adjustment only. Now, almost three-years later, as more and more tuners have been busy developing upgrades for these boxy little belters, KW revealed their upgraded Variant 3 coilovers, which feature height and damping adjustment. And that’s what I will be replacing my existing V1 coilovers with.
Is damping adjustment really worth it? To me, yes, but that’s entirely my own personal preference. I’ve always favoured a firmer ride that reduces body roll where I feel more connected to the feedback I’m receiving through the chassis. Without a doubt, I’m a lover of spirited Sunday B-road drives and
I also have the intentions of getting the car back on track in the future. Therefore, with a simple twist of the compression and rebound adjusters, I can tailor my suspension setup between road and track. Happy days!
To fit the new setup, I find myself back at the trusted Midlands-based VAG-specialists Dubunit, a business run by Matt Roberts who has a wealth of experience for all things VAG. Without a doubt, this job was a walk in the park for Matt. It’s a simple case of removing the necessary nuts and bolts and replacing the original unit with the new KW’s. We set the front and rear ride height to where we wanted it to be and jobs a good’un. However, it’s always recommended getting a professional on the job if you have little knowledge of the process.
Once you fit a set of coilovers, it’s extremely important you get your alignment done. But before doing so, it’s highly recommended that you run any new coilover for as long as you can prior to alignment, this will allow the brand new coilovers time to settle to prevent any alterations after the alignment. In my case we’re needing a full geometry setup dialing-in to get the right height, front camber and tracking. Geometry requires the skill and equipment of a specialist in track/tuner cars, and it isn’t a role which all garages can take on, so I enlisted the help of MG Auto Motorsport in Derbyshire to do the job five-days after installation.
It’s been three weeks since the alignment, so how do they feel? Superb! But that’s no surprise. Having both rebound and compression set on the middle setting has significantly improved the chassis’ ability at higher speeds, and the car now takes the bigger bumps far better than it did before. More importantly, it feels and looks like a little low-riding race car. To conclude this review, if you’re looking to treat your pride and joy with some new coilovers then consider your car’s purpose. For daily duties a height adjustable setup like the V1 will significantly improve your car’s performance and appearance. But, if you have the extra budget, then a fully adjustable setup like the V3 will offer another level of wow-factor! If you’re ever in need of extra advice, the guru’s at KW are always more than happy to help!