The Guide to Lexus IS300 Coilovers. The Lexus IS300 was a substantial change in shape for the Japanese firm when it debuted in 2001. With Lexus’s previous concentration nearly entirely on the luxury category, the IS300 would go on to reveal that the company had some major performance ambitions under its sleeve.
The Lexus IS300, which is powered by the 2JZ-GE, is the 4th generation Toyota Supra’s second cousin. Despite not receiving the Supra’s beefy turbocharged 2JZ-GTE, the IS300’s 2JZ-GE, combined with Nobuaki Katayama’s engineering prowess, made it a serious competitor for the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes C-Class.
The first-generation Lexus IS300 has earned a cult appeal over the years. The IS300 has become an affordable and appealing Japanese sedan with plenty of aftermarket support due to its widespread popularity and low second-hand prices.
IS300 coilovers are probably the most popular Lexus upgrade. While the factory suspension is certainly comfortable, it falls short in terms of performance. Coilovers on your IS300 can improve cornering performance and provide a more appealing aesthetic appearance. This post will go over Lexus IS300 coilover suspension and some of the factors you should think about before purchasing a set.
The Advantages of Lexus IS300 Coilovers
Aside from the performance and lowering benefits, coilovers are one of the best upgrades over the old IS300 factory suspension. With these vehicles being nearly 20 years old, you will notice a significant improvement over the factory suspension if you have never replaced it previously. Furthermore, if you need to replace your factory suspension, coilovers are about the same price as all of the OEM components, making them an excellent choice.
Coilovers are the best solution to increase ride quality and handling for stance, daily driving, track days, suspension refreshes, and so on.
- Ride height can be adjusted to be up to 4″ lower than stock.
- Better cornering and handling control, with less body roll
- Ride quality that is more comfortable than stock suspension and lowering springs
- Adjustable dampening (with more expensive systems)
- The most suitable replacement for worn factory suspension
Considerations for Lexus IS300 Coilovers
Coilovers would be lot easier to install if they were a one-size-fits-all modification. Unfortunately, that is not the case. There are a few things to think about when looking for Lexus IS300 coilovers. Externally, IS300 coilovers appear to have a single purpose: to lower your car’s ride height. While ride height adjustment is unquestionably the most important reason people choose coilovers, other factors such as damping adjustment, camber control, ride quality, build quality, and spring rates all contribute to how your Lexus IS300 handles and looks.
The pricing and design of Lexus IS300 coilovers might differ significantly. The greatest IS300 coilovers typically include features like multi-way damping adjustment, a monotube design, and adjustable camber plates. Budget IS300 coilovers sometimes lack several of these functions, limiting your performance-driving options. However, there are budget options available that strike a good balance between build quality and affordability.
Damping can be adjusted.
One of the most popular and helpful adjustable settings found on most mid-high-end IS300 coilovers is damping control. The compression and rebound of the coil springs are controlled by shocks. In essence, they regulate how far the springs compress and how much “rebound” they have after compression. Damping that is stiffer will have less compression and rebound. Softer dampening allows for more compression and rebound, resulting in a smoother ride.
You may manage the level of stiffness provided by your Lexus IS300 coilovers thanks to adjustable damping. Adjustable damping has a couple of advantages. For example, if you install coilovers on your daily-driven IS300 and take it to track days on the weekends, you won’t want your coilovers to be in track mode all of the time. If your coilovers have adjustable damping, simply set them to a milder level for everyday use and stiffen them for track use.
Most IS300 coilover setups that do not include adjustable damping are factory calibrated to strike a balance between performance and comfort. They won’t be the most comfy, but neither will they be the stiffest. It is critical to examine your requirements and make a selection based on how you want to use your IS300. If you do a lot of performance driving and also drive your IS300 on a daily basis, adjustable damping is nearly a must. However, if you are only interested in the aesthetic benefits of a coilover setup and aren’t concerned with performance, a non-adjustable set should suffice.
Rates for the Spring
Spring rates are without a doubt one of the most critical aspects of any coilover package and should not be overlooked. While spring rates may appear complicated at first glance, the overall concept is quite simple. Coilover springs, like most types of suspension, are in charge of sustaining the weight of your Lexus IS300. As a result, coilover springs must be sturdy enough to resist the demands of your construction.
Spring rates are expressed as pounds per inch. A spring rate of 500lbs/in means that it takes 500lbs of power to compress the spring 1 inch. As a result, the higher the spring rate, the stiffer the ride experience. There are a few advantages to stiffer spring rates over softer ones. On stance builds, extremely high spring rates are critical, as soft springs will cause your IS300 to bottom out. Stiffer springs also reduce body roll by keeping the car level during turns. This significantly enhances handling by allowing for better touch with the pavement at all four corners.
Softer springs, on the other hand, have their own set of advantages. The most significant advantage of softer springs is an increase in overall ride comfort. Because softer springs have more give, they can absorb bumps and road imperfections better than stiffer springs. Softer springs are often better for regularly driven IS300s because they won’t shatter your spine when you drive over potholes and rough asphalt. While softer springs are undeniably more comfortable, they also allow for more body roll, which is detrimental to handling performance.
Coilover Design: Twin Tube vs. Monotube
At this point, it should be clear that not all coilovers are created equal. Most IS300 coilover packages offer something unique, whether through differences in adjustability or standard spring rates. Coilovers might also differ in terms of their basic construction. In general, there are two types of coilovers available for the Lexus IS300. Twin-tube and monotube coilovers are examples of these.
While they both use a similar spring/shock design, the difference is in how that design is packaged. Twin-tube coilovers are the most commonly used since they are less expensive to produce. As a result, the majority of lower-end coilover choices use a twin-tube design. Twin-tube coilovers have two cylinders, one operating as a housing cylinder and the other as an internal cylinder containing the piston valve. As a result, no barrier exists between the oil and gas chambers.
Monotube IS300 coilovers, on the other hand, use a single tube for both the outer casing and the functional structure. An internal piston divides the oil and gas chambers in monotube coilovers. This design has a couple of advantages. More pressure can be used with a piston separating the chambers, making the ride firmer and more customizable. In addition, the monotube system has more exact damping properties, making it the more predictable option.
Optional IS300 Coilovers
As with any list, the term “best” is entirely subjective and depends on a variety of factors. Of course, someone searching for a coilover set for an IS300 track build has very different requirements than someone looking to construct a stance/show-oriented IS300. Fortunately, the IS300 has a plethora of aftermarket support and coilover options for every application.
We describe our top selections for the finest IS300 coilover kits based on pricing and performance in the table below. We’ll begin with the most affordable option then go to some more expensive and performance-oriented options. While quality does scale with price when it comes to IS300 coilover options, none of the options on this list are of poor quality. For most IS300 drivers looking for a modest dip and improved cornering performance, entry-level coilovers would suffice.
1) Lexus IS300 Raceland Coilovers
Tier: Low-cost, entry-level street/stance
Lowering: 1 to 3″
If you’ve been around the automobile scene for any length of time, Raceland has most likely come up in conversation at least a few times. While Raceland coilovers aren’t the best in terms of performance, they are without a doubt the best bang-for-buck Lexus IS300 coilover option. With most IS300 coilovers costing well over $1,000, seeing an entry-level pair for less than half the price is nice. Raceland IS300 coilovers are an excellent choice for replacing your worn-out stock IS300 suspension while also reaping the cosmetic and performance benefits of coilovers.
While some may be concerned about the low price point, Raceland is able to reduce the price of their products without sacrificing quality by eliminating middlemen distributors. Their direct-to-door ordering system keeps prices low by avoiding the price increases that are typically caused by distributor greed. However, the price constrains the number of features that can be included in the IS300 Raceland coilover set. As a result, the kit lacks adjustable damping and camber.
While the Raceland IS300 coilover kit lacks some of the higher-end options found in more expensive kits, the Raceland coilovers include everything you need to lower your IS300 on a budget. You’ll get the visual benefits of a coilover system while also reducing the center of gravity, resulting in superior cornering performance. The Raceland IS300 coilover kit is both comfortable and sporty thanks to progressive front and rear spring rates.
2) Coilovers Lexus IS300 BC Racing
Tier: Mid-range, spring rates that may be customized, 30-way damping, and factory camber plates
If you’re ready to pay a little extra for a set of IS300 coilovers, BC Racing is possibly the greatest mid-range coilover manufacturer for a variety of vehicles, including the Lexus IS300. Where Raceland lacks in customization, BC provides an almost limitless number of personalized alternatives. IS300 BC coilovers are dialed in from the manufacturer after comprehensive factory testing.
If you go with an aftermarket kit, you’ll get a well-rounded pair of Lexus IS300 coilovers that balance comfort and performance. If you have specific suspension aspirations or needs from your coilovers, BC Racing offers a variety of various front and rear spring rates and spring types to suit your build’s requirements.
The performance of the IS300 BC coilover kit is largely down to the design of the coilovers itself. The BCs, unlike the IS300 Raceland coilovers mentioned above, have a monotube design. This enables for more precise damping forces, giving you more control on the track. The IS300 BC coilovers are also one of the most adjustable IS300 coilovers on the market, with 30-way adjustable damping. It also makes them a more versatile option because you aren’t limited to a specific stiffness. To further customize the ride, the BC IS300 coilovers have factory-installed camber plates, allowing for optimum fitment and track performance from the start.
It’s simple to understand why BC Racing has such a great reputation in the aftermarket world. While they are slightly more expensive than the Raceland IS300 coilover set, you are getting a significant improvement in quality and adjustability.
3) Coilovers HKS Hipermax S
Tier: Mid/High-end, Track-focused, Advanced dampening technology
Front: 1-2.6″ Rear: 1-3.7″ Lowering: 1-2.6″
HKS is a well-known brand, particularly in the JDM scene. HKS is a firm that knows what they’re doing as one of the main parts manufacturers that has been offering quality JDM aftermarket parts since 1973. Prior to the HKS Hipermax S coilover series, the HKS HipermaxIV lineup was a popular with JDM owners looking for a robust coilover system that combined comfort and performance. HKS unveiled the Hipermax S series in 2021, which replaced the HipermaxIV while also offering new coilover technology.
The Hipermax S’s noteworthy characteristics include a monotube design, a sophisticated dual pre-load valve system, and inverted shock absorbers. Under high piston speeds, the dual pre-load valve system suppresses unnecessary damping force, increasing high-speed stability and comfort. Another unique feature of the HKS IS300 Hipermax S kit is the use of an inverted shock absorber. The inverted design not only disperses lateral forces across a broader region, but it also minimizes unsprung weight. Both result in improved handling predictability.
All of the above qualities combine to make the IS300 HKS Hipermax S kit one of the greatest IS300 coilover alternatives available today. Despite being a track suspension kit, HKS worked hard to make the Hipermax S kit as versatile as possible. If you want an IS300 coilover kit that offers the best of both worlds in terms of comfort and performance, the HKS Hipermax S kit is a solid option.
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Summary of Lexus IS300 Coilovers
The Lexus IS300 is one of the most popular vehicles ever produced by the Japanese manufacturer. The Lexus IS300 has the perfect underpinnings for a superb track toy or weekend warrior, powered by the legendary 2JZ-GE in a tiny and chuckable chassis. While the foundation is undeniably sound, the IS300’s luxury pedigree stifles its performance in a few notable ways. Most notably, the original IS300 suspension is plainly geared toward comfort rather than performance. A nice pair of IS300 coilovers can remedy the problem for a reasonable price.
IS300 coilovers have the ability to completely change your Lexus IS300. Lowering the ride height lowers the center of gravity of your IS300, enhancing its overall handling characteristics. That is especially noticeable if your Lexus’s tired 20+-year-old factory suspension has never been replaced. IS300 coilovers provide aesthetic benefits in addition to performance benefits. IS300 coilovers, with a 1-3′′ drop, having the potential to minimize your wheel gap for a sportier appearance.
There is a coilover set for you whether you want to cut a few seconds off your lap time or win best in show at a Lexus meet. While there is a wide range of IS300 coilovers available, it is critical that you consider your specific requirements. Spring rates, damping adjustment, and camber adjustment all play a role in how your IS300 handles and looks in the end.