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      08-26-2019, 07:31 PM   #1
M3hf80
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ZCP suspension vs Civic M4 suspension upgrade

Hi All,

I have been reading these forums a lot and it's no question that ZCP is the better car and a "must have" for some.

How much better is the suspension compared to non zcp M4? What can you do to the base M4 to make it equivalent or better? Does throwing on KW V3 make a non zcp car better?

Obviously the car can be tuned so the power is non a must have.

All in all from what I'm reading if your planning to mod the car then ZCP is a waste of money, but what can you do to the suspension to make it equivalent or better?

Thanks.
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      08-26-2019, 08:30 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3hf80 View Post
Hi All,

I have been reading these forums a lot and it's no question that ZCP is the better car and a "must have" for some.

How much better is the suspension compared to non zcp M4? What can you do to the base M4 to make it equivalent or better? Does throwing on KW V3 make a non zcp car better?

Obviously the car can be tuned so the power is non a must have.

All in all from what I'm reading if your planning to mod the car then ZCP is a waste of money, but what can you do to the suspension to make it equivalent or better?

Thanks.
Forum member racer20 retrofitted a full Oem CS suspension to his car, and coded in the appropriate software, to approximate closely a CS

That would make it better than a zcp (especially if you switch to the cup2 fires the CS was designed for)

Just my $0.02 but Iím fairly sure zcp package doesnít come with front camber plates so even if you just out front camber plates on a base car, youíre better off (at track days) than zcp because your front tires will last longer
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      08-26-2019, 11:08 PM   #3
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I have a 2016 M4 w/o ZCP. My wife has an identically equipped 2018 M3 ZCP. I also have Ground Control Camber Plates and Dinan Coil Overs (their name, really just HAS). Hers is completely stock.

ZCP is superior to a non-ZCP. The exhaust alone is worth the upgrade, but the suspension is also more sorted out. It may ride slightly firmer than a non-ZCP, but it's also more compliant at the same time. The seats have higher side bolsters and do a better job of holding you in place. The ZCP was announced the same month I ordered my car and I had a chance to change my order but didn't because I didn't like the wheels or the seats at the time, but had also never sat in the seats or seen the wheels in person. I also have the M Performance Exhaust (MPE) but really wish I just had the ZCP with the ZCP exhaust.

If you're not going to track the car, upgrading the suspension is a waste of money. The stock ZCP will have a higher resale value than a suspension-modded base car.

We both track our cars and have run in the advanced group for years. She turns identical track times and top speed at the track, although we both run track tires/wheels and track brakes. Nothing more fun than chasing your wife around the track or having her chase you in virtually identical cars!

Probably not what you wanted to hear, but some people waste a ton of money on suspension mods for the street, which they'll never take full advantage of.

P.S. However, I agree with nicknaz that with camber plates your track tires will last longer will, but unfortunately, your street tires won't.
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      08-27-2019, 07:50 AM   #4
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I have a 2016 that I ordered a few weeks before ZCP came out. I have MPHAS on my car and the software updates that come with it. I have tracked both ZCP and mine on track and I like mine better. It is a little more sorted and just a little lower giving me a little more traction in corners. None of these changes are dramatic just something you can notice on a track if you are pushing. That being said for street driving you will rarely if ever notice a difference unless you are driving hard.

Bottom line very easy to make a std M like a ZCP, hardest part would be the seats if you really wanted those
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      08-27-2019, 08:04 AM   #5
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I think youíre fine with the standard car honestly. I specifically ordered my 2020 M4 without ZCP because I didnít think it was worth the 4-5K for all the equipment it had (hate the black trim everywhere, Iíve seen the 666 wheels in person and didnít like them, I want adjustable lumbar support, etc).

I have driven both a standard M4 and ZCP M4 back to back for reference. I think youíre better off coding the car to ZCP or even CS from Alex@Alpine, which is what I plan to do!
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      08-27-2019, 10:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lexor1704 View Post
I have a 2016 that I ordered a few weeks before ZCP came out. I have MPHAS on my car and the software updates that come with it. I have tracked both ZCP and mine on track and I like mine better. It is a little more sorted and just a little lower giving me a little more traction in corners. None of these changes are dramatic just something you can notice on a track if you are pushing. That being said for street driving you will rarely if ever notice a difference unless you are driving hard.

Bottom line very easy to make a std M like a ZCP, hardest part would be the seats if you really wanted those
Thanks for the insight! If that's the case I plan on doing the same. Where did you get the software updates on the car?
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      08-27-2019, 12:03 PM   #7
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I retrofitted the CS suspension on my base car along with the MPHAS. The ride and handling are both improved from stock.

The ZCP has a stiffer front bar, 20" front wheels, and a different EDC cal. Compared to the CS, I think the degradation in ride quality wouldn't be worth the handling improvement.

If you really want to have an OEM+ set up, the CS is better and cheaper, since you don't need the front bar and if you have an M3, you can probably reuse your stock springs as well.

That said, it's not necessarily cheap or easy given all the additional coding and the expense of swapping the rear bar. Plus you'll still have the stock ride height unless you use aftermarket springs or install the HAS as well.

Assuming you buy new:

$2800 for ZCP dampers
$250 for rear bar <— 12hr install!
$1600 for MPHAS
$100-200 in nuts/bolts

Plus coding, sensor zeroing/calibration, alignment, and any labor you don't do yourself.

A quality coilover that has higher spring rates than stock would likely handle better, but at what ride penalty? The absorption of larger impacts may be improved, but the pitch and heave body motion over uneven roads can't match the m-adaptive systems performance.

Whether you perceive coilovers to be more or less comfortable than stock largely depends on the roads you drive on and what "comfort" means to you (impact quality or body motion smoothness).
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      08-27-2019, 01:08 PM   #8
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Civic w/ EDC here. I recently had Bilstein B16 Damptronics installed on my car. Initially I thought it was too stiff, but the dampers are breaking in nicely and although it is still a tad stiff on the smaller stuff, at this point I would say I prefer this kit to the stock suspension.

My car will remain a street car, but I disagree that I wasted money on it. I was actually halfway through the paperwork on trading the car in for a STI (!!!!) because of how boaty the shocks felt, but deal fell through due to the transaction getting sketchy once it hit the finance guy (as usually does). In the end I'm glad the deal fell through, because it appears that the Bilsteins have fixed what I was unhappy with all along. Whereas the stock suspension had way too many oscillations on the bigger bumps, now my car feels like a M3.

So I ended up paying ~$3600 for the kit + install, and now want to keep the car for at least 2 more years until warranty expires. The PSS10 version is even cheaper, as is KW V3, but I'm sure they're great kits that will do the same for you. I may never use the full potential of the Bilstein suspension, but at least I'm enjoying my M3 again instead of moving on to the next thing. Car is just about perfect now for what I'm looking out of it.

For the price of entry of V3s, if you like your car enough, it would be a shame not to at least try it to see if it works for you too.
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      08-27-2019, 01:32 PM   #9
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IMO, ZCP w/o MPHAS < Civic w/MPHAS. Save the money, install the MPHAS. Pay to code the CS damper settings. Sure, you still won't have the beefier ZCP swaybars but 9.995/10, you won't notice those.
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      08-27-2019, 02:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Racer20 View Post
I retrofitted the CS suspension on my base car along with the MPHAS. The ride and handling are both improved from stock.

The ZCP has a stiffer front bar, 20" front wheels, and a different EDC cal. Compared to the CS, I think the degradation in ride quality wouldn't be worth the handling improvement.

If you really want to have an OEM+ set up, the CS is better and cheaper, since you don't need the front bar and if you have an M3, you can probably reuse your stock springs as well.

That said, it's not necessarily cheap or easy given all the additional coding and the expense of swapping the rear bar. Plus you'll still have the stock ride height unless you use aftermarket springs or install the HAS as well.

Assuming you buy new:

$2800 for ZCP dampers
$250 for rear bar <ó 12hr install!
$1600 for MPHAS
$100-200 in nuts/bolts

Plus coding, sensor zeroing/calibration, alignment, and any labor you don't do yourself.

A quality coilover that has higher spring rates than stock would likely handle better, but at what ride penalty? The absorption of larger impacts may be improved, but the pitch and heave body motion over uneven roads can't match the m-adaptive systems performance.

Whether you perceive coilovers to be more or less comfortable than stock largely depends on the roads you drive on and what "comfort" means to you (impact quality or body motion smoothness).
Thanks for suggestion but how does stock suspension + Camber kit + MP HAS with coding compare to ZCP?

I plan on getting the Camber kit because my car pulls to the right and it's a factory issue which seems like camber kits the only solution and MP Has to lower the car and coding to smooth things out.
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      08-27-2019, 02:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jockey View Post
IMO, ZCP w/o MPHAS < Civic w/MPHAS. Save the money, install the MPHAS. Pay to code the CS damper settings. Sure, you still won't have the beefier ZCP swaybars but 9.995/10, you won't notice those.
Got it! That was the original plan haha I just wanted to see how it stacks against the ZCP. I plan on getting 666m wheels as well lol
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      08-27-2019, 09:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3hf80 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jockey View Post
IMO, ZCP w/o MPHAS < Civic w/MPHAS. Save the money, install the MPHAS. Pay to code the CS damper settings. Sure, you still won't have the beefier ZCP swaybars but 9.995/10, you won't notice those.
Got it! That was the original plan haha I just wanted to see how it stacks against the ZCP. I plan on getting 666m wheels as well lol
Mixing and matching the various OEM components will not yield a properly balanced car. I'm not going to rehash what I've said before, search my old posts for that. But the CS, ZCP, and civic all achieve their individual characteristics via different usage of roll stiffness, vertical stiffness, and damping.

Mixing and matching parts and codings will result in one end of the car or the other being over/under sprung or over/under damped.

MP HAS + camber plates will improve the handling assuming you have the tires to take advantage (no, you don't need camber plates for the track if you're running PSS's). Tough to say if it's better than a ZCP or not, but in reality, why is that relevant? That's a good place to start if you want to maintain the factory adaptive functionality.
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