Back in the early 00s, most Japanese sedans were utilitarian, boring and not very sporty. They were designed to be affordable, safe, reliable people movers for families with children. Sure, there were some Japanese sporty variants such as the Honda Civic Si and Subaru WRX. However, none of those could compete with the 3-series BMW and C-class Mercedes Benz. Enter the Lexus IS300. This car was introduced to the US market in 2001 to compete against the Germans who had always dominated the entry level luxury sedan segment. The IS300 had some pretty unique features at the time at an attempt to stand out against its competitors. Most notably were the now infamous “Altezza” tail lights. OEMs and aftermarket companies are still producing light housings based on this design almost 20 years later. A couple of other interesting features were the gauge cluster, modeled after a chronograph watch, and a shift knob that was a solid piece of polished metal. Powered by the same engine as the non-turbo MKIV Supra and Lexus SC300 and sporting a RWD drivetrain, the IS300 quickly became a popular choice in the import and drift scene. This has spawned plenty of aftermarket options for the IS300. Many enthusiasts first turn to updating the suspension. There are no shortage of IS300 coilover options. Redline360 is an authorized dealer of several brands and can set you up with something that will fit your budget and needs.
In this article, we will review a few of our more popular coilovers for the first-gen IS. The first group of coilovers we will cover are more street oriented. These all feature a twin-tube design damper. These ride just a little bit softer for a comfortable daily ride while still being able to adjust ride height for that perfect stance.
TEIN Street Basis Z – This is TEIN’s entry level coilover. You get the quality you expect from a well-respected brand like TEIN but for a reasonable price. While the dampers are non-adjustable, you are still able to adjust ride height to get the stance you want. These can go as low as -3.5” from stock in the front and -3.7” in the rear. This kit re-uses your OEM rubber upper mounts for better ride compliance.
TEIN Street Advance Z – This kit is for people that want the same value that the Street Basis Z provides but want an adjustable damper as well. The rest of the features are identical. They come with the same spring rates and same range of ride height adjustment. They also re-use your stock upper mounts. Being able to adjust the firmness of our dampers gives the Street Advance Z an extra dimension of flexibility.
TruHart StreetPlus – This twin tube shock is an amazing value. TruHart is able to offer all the features at this price point by making the damping non-adjustable. However, the ride height and pre-load are independently adjustable. This allows you to go pretty low while still being able to have full shock travel. These have aluminum pillow ball upper mounts and steel lower mounts for strength.
Function & Form Type 2 – These are a more aggressive twin tube design coilover with a lot of adjustability. Each damper has 32 levels of adjustment. The ride height and pre-load are adjustable. You can slam these and get the same amount of shock travel. Unlike the TEIN offerings above, these come with aluminum uppers with pillow ball mounts.
The following coilover sets all kick it up a notch with monotube design shocks. The monotube design allows for more consistent shock performance in spirited driving and track situations. Consistency is key when you are at speed. You don’t want any surprises when going through a corner at high speeds.
Godspeed Mono SS – Just because this is an entry level monotube coilover does not mean it’s not still packed with features. These use a rubber bushing in the upper and lower mounts for a more compliant ride. The powdercoated dampers have 16 levels of adjustment and are filled with race quality shock oil. Ride height and pre-load adjustments are independent of each other. These come with a 12kg/mm front and 10kg/mm rear spring.
Megan Racing EZ II – These coilovers are great choice for someone who wants a comfortable daily drive but still wants a high performance monotube damper. They feature 15 levels of adjustment and have aluminum upper mounts with rubber bushings. These also come with a softer spring coming in at 10kg/mm front and 6kg/mm rear for a smooth ride.
Ksport Kontrol Pro – These are a very nice option for a street car that will occasionally see track duty. This monotube damper has 36 levels of adjustment so you can fine tune the firmness of your ride. These also have independent ride height and pre-load adjustment, so you get maximum shock travel when lowering. The coilovers are treated with zinc electroplating to combat corrosion. These come with 12kg/mm front and 7.2kg/mm rear spring rates.
BC Racing BR Series – BC has gained a large following by producing quality suspension components for years at a very good price. These monotubes have 30 levels of adjustment which simultaneously adjust rebound and compression. The ride height and pre-load adjustments allow you to go extremely low while still maintaining full shock travel. When the shocks reach the end of their life, you have the option of sending them directly to BC Racing for a rebuild. Rebuilding a shock is much cheaper than having to buy a whole new setup. They come standard with 12kg/mm front and 10kg/mm rear springs. Custom spring rates and Swift spring upgrades are available. Please contact us if you need custom spring rates.
Any of the options listed above without a doubt will improve the stance and handling of your Lexus IS300. Adjustable dampers have a lot of flexibility for different situations, even ones that don’t immediately come to mind. Imagine if you wanted to add an all-out killer stereo system in your trunk that added 300lbs of weight. You could offset that by stiffening your rear shocks up a couple notches and maybe raising the ride height a bit. On the wilder end, what if you decide to swap a V8 or the legendary MKIV Supra TT engine in and need to offset the extra weight over the front of the car? Adjustable coilovers for your IS300 is the answer. Redline360 is here for any of your IS300 suspension needs. If there is a particular brand or model of coilover that you’re interested in but don’t see it listed, leave a comment down below or please contact us and we will be glad to help.