For performance automotive enthusiasts, lowering your car to improve the looks and handling is one of the first things most people do. The same holds true for 2016 Camaro owners, but until recently, there have been no lowering spring or suspension options available for the sixth iteration of Chevrolet’s Camaro.
Enter BMR Suspension. The Seffner, Florida suspension manufacturer has been hard at work developing performance parts to improve the newly redesigned Camaro.
Chris Vander Galien of Riverview, Florida is an avid automotive enthusiast and 2016 Camaro owner. He recently traded in his modded 2013 Camaro for the lighter, more refined sixth-gen as soon as it was available. Vander Galien picked up a highly optioned 2SS version, and like many, has been patiently waiting for performance parts to hit the market.
Over the past few weeks, BMR has released a slew of new parts for the 2016 Camaro chassis and rear suspension, listing more than 25 new part numbers for its products. The company also tells us it has between 10 and 20 more that should be available soon.
When Vander Galien offered us the opportunity to follow along as he started upgrading his Camaro, we jumped at the chance. The first thing he wanted was a lower, more aggressive stance, and BMR Suspension’s Street Performance lowering springs (PN SP041) fit the bill perfectly. This set of springs drops the front end 3/4 inch and the rearend one inch. This not only lowers the car, it levels it as well, giving it even and aggressive wheels gaps. The springs also have a higher spring rate, which reduces body roll in the turns.
The factory front springs have a 140 lb/in spring rate, while the BMR fronts check in at 175 lb/in. BMR’s rear springs are a dual-rate design and feature a 380 lb/in and 640 lb/in rate. The softer rate allows for the shorter spring to stay seated while the heavier rate is the working rate of the spring and supports the vehicle.
I love the way my car looks now. It turns a lot of heads! – Chris Vander Galien
The factory sway bars were also pulled in favor of a set of adjustable BMR units. While the stock pieces do a good job of controlling body roll, BMR designs its sway bars around the rates of the lowering springs. The adjustable sway bars (PN SB052) feature three positions, allowing you to use them for any form of performance driving. The adjustability on the front and rear sway bars also allows owners to change the positions and rates to balance the under and oversteer of the car. The bars are cold formed from 1.25-inch, 0.188-inch wall tubing.
The bars are cold formed from 1.25-inch, 0.188-inch wall tubing. This super-strong material adds a considerable amount of rigidity over the factory units. The bar’s stiffness is adjustable by selecting one of three mounting positions at the end of the lever arms (the furthest in being the most rigid, and the furthest out being the most compliant). The front bar features 596 in-lb, 702 in-lb, and 840 in-lb, providing 150, 177, and 212 percent increases in stiffness over the factory 397 in-lb sway bar rate. The rear bar features 300, 342, and 395 in-lb rates, providing a 178, 202, and 234 percent increase over the factory 169 in-lb sway bar rate.
“BMR designed its lowering spring and sway bars to work well together for the performance enthusiast who primarily drives his Camaro on the street,” explains Brett Rockey, product design manager at BMR Suspension. “These will also work well for the occasional trip to the road course or autocross, but are not intended to be a dedicated handling spring. The springs and sway bars will lower the car’s center of gravity and reduce body roll, improving handling.”
The BMR sway bars are also complemented by a set of adjustable sway bar end links. BMR’s link kit for the 2016 Camaro (PN ELK015) gives you both front and rear adjustable components. These offer huge improvements over the factory pieces. The front set is CNC-machined from 6061-T6 billet aluminum and feature ball-joint style tie rod ends to offer more articulation than rod ends, and are greasable for a long, quiet, trouble-free life. The rear links are built from heavy-wall DOM steel tubing with Chrome-moly tube adapters and feature greasable 95-durometer polyurethane bushings. This ensures long life and flawless operation, and they make less noise than rod ends.
The ball joints attach to the sway bar with 12 mm studs and attach to the end link tubes with ½-inch studs. This combination of components gives you a huge increase in strength over stock endlinks. Both the front and rear pieces are adjustable, allowing you to correct the sway bar geometry when the vehicle is lowered, or if you run adjustable sway bars. You can also add preload for race applications, but that’s overkill for most street performance enthusiasts.
With body roll addressed, the last piece of the puzzle was a rear cradle bushing upgrade. BMR Suspension has a few options, but Vander Galien was looking for something that would reduce cradle deflection without adding large amounts of NVH (noise, vibration and harshness). BMR’s Rear Cradle Lockout Kit (PN BK063) was the perfect solution. It includes six CNC-machined Delrin bushing inserts, four laser-cut stainless steel washers, eight aluminum bushing inserts, and two inner sleeve spacers. This kit fills the voids in the factory rubber bushings and captures the top and bottom of the bushing inner sleeves, limiting fore, aft, and vertical movement.
This dramatically improves driver feel, inspiring more confidence in the car. -Brett Rockey, Product Design Manager at BMR Suspension
“The Rear Cradle Lockout Kit is designed to reduce rear cradle bushing deflection without dramatically increases NVH,” adds Rockey. “The kit limits bushing deflection by filling the voids in the bushings. This dramatically improves driver feel, inspiring more confidence in the car.”
“Turns are sharper and the steering feels more responsive than it did before the upgrades,” explains Vander Galien. “The car is more rigid and there is a bit more noise in the cabin, but the improved handling and stability make it well worth it. The noise changes with the speed you drive, but it doesn’t get too loud. You can still hear the radio and Bluetooth phone calls, even on low volume. I love the way my car looks now. It turns a lot of heads!”
Combine all of these things and you have a much-improved 2016 Camaro that efficiently gets more power to the ground with less wheelhop and body roll. The driver has a confidence-inspiring feel that will allow you push the car harder on the street and track.