After consulting people who had upgraded their cars with stiffer Anti Roll Bars I decided to upgrade the ARBs on my 1.6 147 Lusso with the ones off the 147 GTA. Initially I wasn't really sure what the end result would be but I can now categorically say that it is the best upgrade I have done so far.
After picking my car up from Wyn Lear this morning I headed out of Keighley on the old road over the Pennines and over to Hebden Bridge, this is a long and twisting up hill B road with some good twisty bits to check out the extra stiffness the new ARBs would imbue the car with.
As soon as I got in the car I could feel the difference, the loading on the steering was much heavier through the first quarter turn and felt a little bit dull at first, but as I turned onto the streets and nipped through traffic and round mini roundabouts it became immediately apparent that my cars handling had been transformed.
Gone was the nose in wallow nature and rear end lift with fast cornering, and after less than half a mile I was starting to grin from ear to ear.
Heading out onto the faster traffic free country roads I felt a little scared by how different the car felt. Before when cornering the body would roll and the VDC would compensate a lot so I could get away with bad driving. Now with no roll you can really feel the slip both at the front and the rear and control the rotation of the car using just the throttle all the way through the corner.
I suppose the cold (3 degrees C) and damp roads helped a little there as well, but I could perceive that I was cornering faster in the damp than I was before, a good 10mph up on the standard suspension on most corners.
Out on the tops there are some fairly bouncy undulating straights that in the dry would be a little scary on the standard setup, I'd normally back off approaching 60 as the car lurched from hump to dip but with the GTA ARBs I felt a lot more at ease, the body more controlled and I believe the car would easily hit 80 on these types of roads without any fuss.
There has also been a positive affect on hard braking, on the standard set up I found that under hard braking the front end dived to the left quite a lot, with the GTA ARBs there was much less dive and braking seemed to be evenly distributed across the wheels keeping the car moving in the intended direction rather than off towards the kerb.
I was beginning to trust entirely in the new set up and the extra feel at the rear where you can feel it slip rather than wait for it to just let lose really lights the handling up. In short I can't wait to get back in the car again.
I haven't got the costs yet as Wyn had originally quoted for a different rear ARB because on the cars with Xenons the self levelling is a function of the rear suspension so the Rear ARB is slightly different on those cars.
So, I've had fitted the following I expect the total inclusive fitting to come in below £400
1 Front GTA ARB
1 Rear GTA ARB (None self levelling suspension)
2 Drop links for front ARB
I wish I'd done it ages ago it's a far better upgrade than a loud exhaust or air filter.