This blog post will closely examine the KW V4 Clubsport (known also as KW Clubsport 3-way) and the ST XTA plus 3 coilover kit for the Toyota GR Yaris. The reason is that both products seem very similar with their 3-way adjustable dampers but differ significantly when having a closer look.
Before starting, we will clarify which coilover kit you need. On fairs, tuning events, and track days, many people ask themselves what kind of coilover kit is the best for their car.
Those who try to look through several forums for their car won’t be wiser afterward. Several automobile enthusiasts who meet up at such events often make their half-knowledge public, which won’t take you any further.
As soon as you read that coilover suspension kit “A” is better than coilover suspension kit “B,” you can continue browsing with a clear conscience. Unfortunately, there isn’t “the best” coilover kit. The individual demands differ for every coilover suspension kit, and the perfect one simply doesn’t exist, neither as a serial coilover suspension kit nor as a retrofitted coilover kit.
If you’re wondering why that is, surely only mass-produced cars would compete in motorsport. Furthermore, there would be neither GT3 nor GT4 race cars, and only production cars would be on the road in the World Rally Championship. We don’t even want to think about all the beautiful LeMans prototype sports cars or Formula 1 right now.
Similar to the difference between racecars and stock cars, coilover suspension kits also differ. Although all coilover suspension kits have the function of absorbing shocks, reducing emerging vibrations, supporting the chassis, and offering more stability to the vehicle.
Many also forget that coilover suspension kits are more than just a sport suspension for continuous lowering. Every customer aspires to do something different with it. There is no such thing as a universal coilover suspension kit.
While one automobile enthusiast looks for a coilover suspension kit for his modified car that commutes to work and home every day, the other enthusiast wants a coilover suspension kit for professional Rallye use. Some also look for a coilover suspension kit for track days which still enables daily drives.
Another target group is the one that looks for maximum lowering, camber, toe, stance, and perfect road holding combined with a parts certificate.
Others don’t care about anything: They couldn’t care less about parts certificates and the police and therefore trailer their cars from one tuning event to the next.
Others waive parts certificates entirely to drive their vehicle on the circuit solely and are only interested in real motorsports hardware.
A coilover kit is always a compromise
Reconciling all these demands and wishes to prevent having to make compromises is simply impossible, which is one of the reasons why we offer a total of 13 coilover kits and height-adjustable spring kits (parts certificate included) at our brand KW suspensions. This is not even having all the racing applications we offer additionally.
A glance at the ST XTA plus 3 and the KW V4 Clubsport coilover kit for the Toyota GR Yaris
Using an example of two products, we show you the difference between our coilover suspension kits. To make this a little more interesting, we compare the ST XTA plus 3 coilover kit and the KW V4 Clubsport (also known as KW Clubsport 3-way).
Both coilover kits fit the new Toyota GR Yaris, serve a different target group, and were engineered for other driving profiles. Although – at first sight – they offer the same features.
The ST XTA plus 3 and the KW V4 Clubsport come with a parts certificate and a continuous lowering of the GR Yaris from 25 to 45 millimeters. Additionally, both coilover suspension kits have Unibal top mounts and racing springs.
The most apparent differences are the stainless steel spring struts and damper housing of the KW V4 Clubsport, whereas the ST XTA plus 3 is made of aluminum. Moreover, the top mounts come in different colors.
As so often, the difference is in the details. Depending on the damper technology, the GR Yaris becomes an entirely different car. Sustainably. Although both coilover kits enable an individual adjustment of the highspeed and lowspeed compression and lowspeed rebound.
At the XTA plus 3 and the KW V4 Clubsport, the lowspeed rebound is adjustable within 16 clicks. By the way, every single click of our damper adjustment influences the respective area. Therefore, our products come with a manageable number of clicks compared to other applications.
Because of their different valve construction, both coilover kits function differently. In the ST XTA plus 3, the entire valve was designed to drive on normal, public roads with conventional wheels. Both compression parameters of the ST XTA plus 3 enable the setting of the piston rod’s slow and fast (high) deflection speeds with the help of 24 clicks.
By allowing separate adjustments of highspeed and lowspeed compression, you can fine-tune the damping in a more nuanced way. Therefore, you can independently set the damper’s response to sudden, hard impacts (highspeed compression) and its support for the car body during normal driving conditions (lowspeed compression). As a result, you can achieve greater control and comfort while driving.
Adjusting the lowspeed rebound also influences the body roll when steering or nodding while braking or accelerating. Sure – the KW V4 Clubsport also enables that kind of adjustment. However, the compression valve construction is entirely different. Fine-tuning of the lowspeed compression setup happens at the purple adjustment wheel within 13 clicks. The highspeed compression is set with 14 clicks at the golden wheel.
But please keep in mind that compression force is not always compression force. Regarding our KW V4 Clubsport, the focus is on regular drives on the racetrack. If you’re looking for a coilover kit that enables you to drive on track days and offers fast lap times, the KW V4 coilover kit is a right choice.
For that same field of application, we developed the KW V4 Clubsport coilover kit (former name: KW Clubsport 3way). In contrast to the XTA plus 3, the Clubsport was made for extreme circumstances with its valves, piston rods, helper springs, and main springs.
Thanks to the parts certificate, you can drive to the track day with the same car. The pre-adjusted street setup is changed to the track setup within a few clicks. Let’s go!
Among other things, the Clubsport coilover kits come with a higher spring rate. It makes sense in a KW V4 Clubsport, but in an ST XTA plus 3, the spring rate isn’t as high. The higher the spring rate, the less the car tilts in curves.
Those who decide on a KW Clubsport coilover kit regularly drive on sport wheels on the most beautiful racetracks worldwide. Depending on the setup of the KW Clubsport, it also enables driving on public roads. But remember that the coilover kit is way more sporty and stiff than an ST XTA plus 3. And there lies the main difference between both coilover kits.
We have heard of money savers trying to bring their XTA plus 3 to the KW Clubsport level by using other springs. Unfortunately, the XTA plus 3 dampers have other things in mind. At ST Suspensions, we offer so-called additional spring kits optimized for the XTA plus 3 dampers.
It can become uncomfortable with a very high springrate, and then the wheels lose grip. Therefore, the driver needs to find the perfect balance. A quick disclaimer: A KW Clubsport coilover kit is made for close-to-production vehicles with no lightweight operations. If that is the case, you must decide on our Racing Suspensions.
In a coilover suspension kit, the springs and the dampers are one unit that is perfectly developed and made for each other. If the entire coilover suspension kit topic weren’t this complex, we wouldn’t be this obsessed with details.
After all, we are not satisfied with the blanket statements that every sporty car drives the same. Therefore you only need a universal damper, a universal coilover kit, and some parts to build a coilover kit. Well, that would be wonderful, and we wouldn’t have to make such a significant effort here in Fichtenberg at KW.
Every track day enthusiast knows the higher forces occurring on the circuit compared to normal streets. Anyone who has ever taken part in a driving safety training course or driven around a racetrack in a sporty production car will be horrified at how a “road car” performs compared to a car with track day hardware.
The difference between our KW V4 Clubsport and an ST XTA plus 3 coilover kit isn’t immense, but on the circuit, our XTA plus 3 reaches its limit far before the Clubsport and motorsport coilovers. Subjectively, our Clubsport coilovers convey more tranquility in the entire body structure due to their optimized construction for sport wheels on circuits.
For example, a GR Yaris on the Nordschleife can be driven “smoother” at the limit with a KW V4 Clubsport coilover suspension inside. The sporty AWD Toyota can be controlled much better. In contrast, even experienced track day drivers with a triple-adjustable road coilover suspension like the ST XTA plus 3 must invest much more in “pedal acrobatics” and steering at high speeds on the racetrack in conjunction with semi-slicks. The driving dynamic limit range sets in much earlier with the ST XTA plus 3 coilover suspension than a KW Clubsport coilover suspension.
When you’re more the type to drive on regular streets instead of racetracks and look for a KW Clubsport coilover kit alternative with Unibal top mounts will make the right choice with an ST XTA plus 3.
Photos: KW, TB Fotografie, Borre Zimmermann Videos Misha Charoudin, Robert Mitchell, Evoservice