Can You Retrofit an Active Suspension System in an Older Model BMW 5 Series?

For many BMW owners, the thrill of the drive comes not just from the car’s high-speed capabilities but also from the smooth and comfortable ride it offers. One of the key technologies that contribute to this smooth ride is the active suspension system. This article aims to explore whether it is possible to retrofit an active suspension system in an older BMW 5 Series and, if so, how it can be done.

Understanding the Active Suspension System

Before we delve into the specifics of retrofitting, it would be beneficial to understand what an active suspension system is and how it enhances the driving experience. In a BMW, the active suspension system, also known as Adaptive M Suspension, adjusts the dampers continuously based on driving conditions and inputs from the driver. It reacts to changes in road surface and steering, improving handling and cornering.

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This system includes components such as front and rear control arms, struts, shocks, and springs. In the latest BMW models, this adaptive system works in tandem with an active roll stabilization mechanism to control body roll. The Adaptive M Suspension system offers the perfect balance between sportiness and comfort, providing you with a unique and engaging driving experience.

Retrofitting Active Suspension on Older BMW 5 Series

Is it possible to retrofit an active suspension system on an older BMW 5 Series? Yes, it is, but it’s not a straightforward task. You need specialized knowledge and tools, not to mention the right parts.

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Bear in mind that retrofitting a newer technology into an older car is a complex task. However, if you have a deep love for your older BMW 5 Series and wish to experience the latest technology, this could be a worthwhile project.

To retrofit the system, you will need the steering components, front and rear suspension parts, driveshafts, and the adaptive control unit from a newer BMW model that has the Adaptive M Suspension system. These parts can be sourced from third-party suppliers or directly from BMW.

As you might expect, this is quite an elaborate and time-consuming process. But once completed, you will essentially have transformed your older BMW 5 Series into a car that rides and drives like a newer model.

Costs and Considerations

Before jumping into this project, you should consider the costs involved. The financial aspect of this retrofit can be substantial. To get a more accurate quote, you can speak with a certified BMW rep or visit automotive forums like iTrader where users often share their experiences and costs associated with similar projects.

Apart from the costs, you should also consider the potential problems that may arise. Retrofitting an active suspension system on an older model may lead to compatibility issues. For instance, the newer suspension components might not fit perfectly into the older model’s chassis. Such issues can lead to additional costs and more time consumed in the retrofit process.

Hiring Professional Help

Given the complexity of the retrofit, it might be wise to hire professional help. Specialist garages and workshops that have experience with BMW cars will be able to carry out the retrofit process more efficiently and effectively.

Before you decide on a location to carry out your retrofit, do some research. Look for reviews and posts on online forums, consult with other BMW owners, and get multiple quotes. This will help you find a reputable and trustworthy specialist who can deliver a high-quality retrofit.

Remember, retrofitting an active suspension system in an older model BMW 5 Series is no small task. It requires a significant investment of time, money, and effort. But for BMW enthusiasts who crave the perfect balance between sportiness and comfort, this could be a project well worth pursuing. So, plan carefully, consider the costs and potential hurdles, and enjoy the ride!

Choosing the Right Parts for Retrofitting

When considering the retrofit of an active suspension system in an older BMW 5 Series, it’s crucial to choose the right parts. The key components of the system include front and rear control arms, struts, shocks, springs and the adaptive control unit. These components can be sourced from third-party suppliers, or you can get them directly from BMW.

However, it’s not just about getting the parts; it’s also about ensuring that they are the right fit for your vehicle. Given the significant differences between the newer and older models of the BMW 5 Series, this can be a tricky process. For instance, the newer shock absorbers and steering wheel components might not fit perfectly into the older model’s chassis, leading to compatibility issues.

You must also consider the driveshafts. These components transfer the torque from the car’s transmission to the drive wheels. In the BMW 5 Series, the driveshaft is a crucial part of the adaptive drive system, and getting the appropriate one is a critical aspect of the retrofit process.

One way to get around these potential issues is to consult with a specialist or visit online forums, such as iTrader, where you can find detailed posts by other BMW owners who have undertaken similar projects. Remember, when choosing the parts for your retrofit, it’s not just about the cost, but also the compatibility and functionality.

Balancing Performance and Fuel Consumption

While an active suspension system can significantly enhance the driving experience, it’s important to note that it can also impact the car’s fuel consumption. The system is designed to constantly adjust to driving conditions, and this requires energy. In most cases, the energy is drawn from the car’s engine, which can lead to higher fuel consumption.

However, BMW has made strides in reducing this impact. In the latest models, the company has incorporated energy recuperation technology that reuses the energy generated during braking to power the suspension system. If you’re retrofitting an older model with the active suspension system, however, this feature may not be available.

Therefore, while you will likely appreciate the enhanced sport suspension and handling, it’s important to weigh this against the potential increase in fuel consumption. Consider your driving habits, typical driving conditions and, of course, your budget for fuel.

Conclusion: Is Retrofitting Worth the Effort?

Ultimately, the decision to retrofit an active suspension system in an older BMW 5 Series is a personal one. It’s a project that requires a significant investment of time, money and effort, and it’s not without its challenges.

However, the benefits can be substantial. With an active suspension system, your BMW 5 Series can offer even better handling, cornering and overall driving experience. You will definitely appreciate the balance between sportiness and comfort that the system offers.

Before you dive into the project, do your research. Consult with professionals, check out posts on forums like iTrader, get multiple quotes and, most importantly, ensure that you have a clear understanding of what the retrofit process entails.

With proper planning, the right parts and expert help, retrofitting an active suspension system into your older BMW 5 Series can breathe new life into your beloved car. At the end of the day, the thrill of experiencing the smooth, responsive ride that defines the BMW driving experience might be well worth the effort.