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Roadfly Magazine
Issue 12
Table of Contents

Past Issues Index
Roadfly Magazine
Porsche Carrera GT3
Issue Twelve
May 25, 2004
Porsche 911 GT3
2004 New York Auto Show Coverage
BMW Promotes Chris Bangle
First Drive: 2004 Bentley Continental GT
Digital Camera Comparison & Review
ZF Sachs Nivomat Suspension
Preview: 2005 Porsche 911
Coming Next Issue
Beat Gas Prices
BBQ Guide
Dells Auto Museum
iPod FM Tuners

A Shocking Improvement:
ZF Sachs Nivomat System Shines Under Load
By Steve Litscher
Editor in Chief

(Tuesday, April 27, 2004 9:10 PM EST)

Cars lined up at Nivomat Driving Event

ZF Sachs Nivomat Shock System

Chrysler Crossfire without Nivomat

Nivomat Ride Level Comparison

Go to
ZF Sachs Photo Gallery
Chances are you've attempted to stuff a few heavy items into the car at one time or another. Heavy might include bags of fertilizer, products for a home improvement project or your Aunt Gertrude from Des Moines.

The sluggish, top heavy feeling from a heavy load can lead to more than an unpleasant feeling. As your vehicle accepts more weight (especially rear-biased weight), the chassis can become unbalanced, which in turn can lead to any number of performance issues. Headlight misalignment can lead to complications at night, braking systems can become overwhelmed, vehicle control can become greatly impaired and general stability can suffer.

Traditional suspension systems aren't designed to accommodate significant increases in load, especially when biased to one portion of the chassis. Thankfully, ZF Sachs has developed an uber high-tech shock absorber that it calls "Nivomat," which offers the only self-leveling suspension system that doesn't require external energy.

Nivomat is lightweight, maintenance free, easy to install, retrofitable and economical, which is why many OEMs are beginning to show interest in the system. GM and Daimler-Chrysler have embraced the Nivomat system and include it as an option on many of their vehicles. We were lucky enough to experience the benefits firsthand at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

ZF Sachs hosted a ride-and-drive event and provided select journalists with a slew of paired vehicles to compare. By "paired" we mean to say that two identical vehicles were supplied - one with Nivomat, one without. This allowed us to realize the benefits of the Nivomat system on a direct, one-to-one comparison.

Just to make things interesting, ZF Sachs also outfitted every vehicle with more than 1,000-lbs of ballast. And if that wasn't enough, they set-up a rigorous test track, complete with simulated railroad crossings, emergency lane changes, "whoop-de-doos" (our term), and braking zones.

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