Does lowering your car to the extremes have any benefits besides style? Not really.
Cover Photo Credit: StanceWorks, for some achingly beautiful stanced car builds that may just convince you to take the plunge.
We have absolutely nothing against stancing your car. Honestly, it's your personal vehicle and what you do with it is entirely your choice. But make no mistake - there is absolutely no performance benefit to doing it no matter how many times you try to convince yourself. Let's walk through all the reasons.
Suspension systems are designed to work with very specific geometry - that is to say, specific lengths and angles that make the wheels behave in a certain way as you accelerate, brake, and turn. When you lower a car, you change the way this geometry works - and especially at extremes, you can make it so the wheels start doing extremely bizarre things under load.
Camber curves, toe gain, bump steer - if you aren't familiar with any of these terms, don't pretend to understand how a car behaves dynamically. What you should know is that lowering your car, changing your wheel offsets, or adjusting your camber in any extreme fashion throws all of these out of the window and may have your car losing or gaining grip at either end in strange and unpredictable ways.
Suspension is designed to have stroke to take up shocks and undulations in the road - that's a hard fact. Having more stroke is better for bump absorption because it usually gives the suspension more time and space to reduce the impact of a shock load - which is also why rally cars are usually heavily modified to get as much suspension stroke as possible.
When you slam and stance your car, you end up having to run incredibly short suspension strut bodies to get the car low to the ground. This means that you also compromise the stroke that your strut has, and that means it just doesn't have enough room to work. It also means you may end up slamming into bump stops and destabilizing the car even more when you're attacking a corner.
Unless you don't mind absolutely wrecking your undercarriage and ripping those pretty bumpers and side skirts off, you'll need to run a fairly stiff spring setup with your suspension to limit how much body movement there is under load. As we've said many times, a stiff suspension setup may feel more reactive to inputs but it is ultimately less forgiving.
The common theory with setting up a racecar is to run a setup as soft as a driver can possibly bear, rather than one as stiff as a driver can handle. The softer the suspension, the more lean and roll a car has which allows a driver to correct a car's behaviour - to a point. Why wouldn't you want that on the road?
In the case of lowered cars with very extreme amounts of camber, you also tend to lose the use of much of your tyre. We've explained this before in a previous article where too much camber is a very real problem, and in the case of stanced cars you have already stacked the deck against you in so many ways.
Running ridiculous amounts of camber may be obviously stupid from a handling standpoint, but even running an amount of camber to get the wheels to "tuck" into the fenders can be plain counterproductive.
But at the end of the day, if you want your car to look a particular way - by all means you should set out to achieve your goals. Just don't expect your car to behave like a race-car, or even as well as your car behaved when it was stock standard. Bumps and potholes won't be the only things you have to worry about when you're out on the road.