Car Mechanics (UK)

Koni Spe­cial Ac­tive Sus­pen­sion

Test-driv­ing Koni’s new dampers.

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Adap­tive damp­ing was first de­vel­oped by Lo­tus for its GP rac­ers more than 35 years ago and it grad­u­ally fil­tered through to pro­duc­tion cars, al­beit on per­for­mance and sport­ing mod­els. Now you can fit it on any ve­hi­cle for about £550 thanks to a new shock ab­sorber design by Koni.

This Dutch sus­pen­sion spe­cial­ist is a big name in mo­tor­sport, where it’s a ma­jor player in his­toric rac­ing. It also man­u­fac­tures dampers for all types of pri­vate and com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing buses, trucks, trail­ers and rail­way rolling stock.

Its new Spe­cial Ac­tive Sus­pen­sion dif­fers from OE adap­tive damp­ing in that it’s de­void of elec­tron­ics, in­stead re­ly­ing on spe­cial valv­ing to achieve what the com­pany says is 80% ef­fec­tive­ness on fac­tory-fits. It can also be fit­ted by DIY me­chan­ics.

Ve­hi­cle damp­ing has al­ways been a compromise be­tween com­fort and road-hold­ing abil­ity, but mod­ern cars fo­cus on the lat­ter at the ex­pense of the for­mer, a sit­u­a­tion not helped by ul­tralow pro­file tyres which look bril­liant but re­duce sus­pen­sion travel. This re­sults in a jig­gly ride, es­pe­cially in ur­ban driv­ing. Koni says cars fit­ted with sports sus­pen­sion suf­fer the most, along with ve­hi­cles run­ning on run-flat tyres, such as BMWS and MI­NIS.

Spe­cial Ac­tive Sus­pen­sion dampers fea­ture Koni’s Fre­quency Se­lec­tive Damp­ing tech­nol­ogy which, it’s claimed, con­trols large body mo­tions and cor­ner­ing forces, while smooth­ing ex­pan­sion joints and rough roads. It’s wrong to think of it as a ‘soft op­tion’ sim­ply to im­prove com­fort, be­cause the new shock ab­sorbers also act as per­for­mance dampers.

To launch the new Spe­cial Ac­tive Sus­pen­sion, Koni and its UK sup­plier, Per­for­mance Parts RFT, ran an Ac­tive Ex­pe­ri­ence Tour, invit­ing jour­nal­ists to ex­pe­ri­ence the dif­fer­ence the new dampers can make in back-to-back com­par­isons with cars fit­ted with a stan­dard OE set-up. The ve­hi­cles used were a Mercedes-benz X-class pick-up, Audi A4 Sport­sline and Ford Mus­tang 5.0 V8. Driv­ers were asked to com­ment on the dif­fer­ence in han­dling and ride over a va­ri­ety of lo­cal road con­di­tions. In the 10-mile test drives, it was dif­fi­cult to give an ex­ten­sive ap­praisal, but over­all the ve­hi­cles equipped with Spe­cial Ac­tive Sus­pen­sion did feel no­tably more refined, re­mov­ing some of the low speed rough­ness. If our drive of the X-class was any­thing to go by, we can see pick-ups, 4x4s and SUVS also ben­e­fit­ing, par­tic­u­larly when un­laden.

Spe­cial Ac­tive Sus­pen­sion is aimed at three-year-old ve­hi­cles or older, par­tic­u­larly if their OE shocks need re­plac­ing. In­ter­est­ingly, these dampers are not supplied as a kit of four, but can be bought in axle sets to spread the cost. A very full ap­pli­ca­tion list cov­ers the vast ma­jor­ity of makes and mod­els.

Con­tact Per­for­mance Parts RFT 57E Mytch­ett Road, Mytch­ett, Cam­ber­ley, Sur­rey GU16 6ES. Tel 01252-494016 or email tleigh@rft­group.co.uk. www.ko­niuk.co.uk

 ??  ?? Se­lec­tion of test ve­hi­cles, in stan­dard and con­verted trim.
Se­lec­tion of test ve­hi­cles, in stan­dard and con­verted trim.
 ??  ?? Koni is the num­ber one sup­plier of F1 dampers.
Koni is the num­ber one sup­plier of F1 dampers.
 ??  ??  The Fiat Abarth 500 is equipped with Koni dampers as stan­dard.
 The Fiat Abarth 500 is equipped with Koni dampers as stan­dard.
 ??  ?? Per­for­mance Parts RFT’S David Rus­sell with the new Spe­cial Ac­tive Sus­pen­sion damper.
Per­for­mance Parts RFT’S David Rus­sell with the new Spe­cial Ac­tive Sus­pen­sion damper.
 ??  ?? Ford Mus­tang V8 on one of the test routes.
Ford Mus­tang V8 on one of the test routes.

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