There are surely few finer ways to spend a day than exploring the roads of Snowdonia in a powerful, rear-wheel-drive car. If you’re evo reader Mark Reeves, driving his E92 M3 newly fitted with Öhlins Road & Track suspension, that enviable combination is about as good as it gets.
Subscribe to evo magazine
‘I love driving great roads,’ he says. ‘I’m very lucky to have Cumbria, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors all pretty close to where I live. The Castleton and Kirkbymoorside roads are particular favourites. Myself and a few of my mates head out there at weekends when we get the chance. We’re all evo readers, so it’s fun to experience some of the roads the magazine uses. They really are amazing to drive and a proper test of your car, particularly its chassis.
‘My M3 had EDC suspension. When I was on fast, demanding roads I’d always switch straight
from Comfort to Sport, as Normal didn’t offer a big enough change. The problem with that was that on roads with lots of lumps and bumps – like those in North Yorkshire – it had much better body control but was too stiff and seemed to be unsettled most of the time. It never felt quite how I wanted, when I wanted, if that makes sense.’
It does, as anyone who has experienced the same frustration with factory-fit switchable damping on their own car will agree. We’ve come to the evo Triangle in north Wales to see how upgrading to Öhlins Road & Track suspension offers a solution to that problem, and how with it you can achieve your ideal balance of handling sharpness and ride comfort with just a few fine adjustments.
The Road & Track kit fitted to Mark’s E92 M3 offers simple, combined compression and rebound adjustment front and rear, via Öhlins’ unique one-click adjuster. Mark starts with a baseline setup of ten clicks front and 20 rear – a middle setting that leaves him with options to go firmer or softer, depending on how the M3 feels. Once satisfied that he has a proper feel for the first setup, Mark returns to make some changes before heading out once more to see how it compares. Judging by the time Mark’s spending in his car between adjustments, it’s an addictive and rewarding process.
‘This is the first time I’ve driven the evo Triangle. The roads are brilliant!’ he says. ‘There’s a bit of everything, from fast open corners to tighter, twistier sections with some proper bumps and compressions. I instinctively reached for the EDC button as the car felt too comfortable to work on the fast stuff, but once I’d done a few miles I realised it could up its game when it needed to. I’d hoped it would, but I’m still surprised at how good it feels.
‘We went a bit firmer with the next setup – five clicks front and ten rear – which I preferred, as it sharpened things up without harming the ride. I then tried a more extreme setting, which felt amazing through a few of the fast, smooth corners, but didn’t work anywhere near as well overall. I reckon the second of the three setups we tried is perfect for me as it’ll deliver the goods when I’m driving for fun, but will be comfortable when I’m just driving. If this is a taste of how good it can be made to go and feel on track, I can’t wait to try it at Anglesey!’