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      09-02-2019, 08:57 AM   #1
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Bilstein B6 Damptronic shocks - Initial review

So, following much deliberation, I finally took the plunge a few weeks ago & bought a set of Bilstein B6 Damptronic shocks, to replace the stock units, which I've never been over enamoured with TBH.

I've had Eibach Pro springs fitted since just after I got the car, so didn't really see the point in going for the B16 Damptronics, especially as they're about £1K more expensive. For perspective, B6 Damptronics negotiated to £1400 delivered, whereas the B16 Damptronics would have been circa £2500.

I also wanted to retain EDC, so didn't want a passive setup with EDC delete.

They've been on the car now for 2 weeks, so thought I'd share my views.

In a nutshell, the cars drivability & handling has improved in epic proportions. I'm actually stunned at just how good it now is.

I have to say, I was initially in shock post-fitting, as the car looked like it was sitting back at stock height! I actually rung Bilstein technical about it. Over several days though, it began settling back down nicely. It's now to within height spec for the Eibachs, and I'm expecting it to drop to a comparable level as before, given a bit more time & (more importantly, Bilstein tell me) more miles! As since fitting I've only done about 450 or so. They can take a while apparently, due to the pressures involved within the dampers.
By comparison, the stock EDC dampers can be pushed down by hand quite easily. Not so the Bilstein's!

Anyway, moving on now my only little gripe's out of the way…

Comfort Mode: This is a slightly firmer ride than stock, but is actually very comfortable. Probably because there's simply no longer any "bounce" with the ride. It just remains more level as the shocks do their magic. It's also extremely flat when cornering, even when "pushing on" a little.
I appreciate ride quality's very subjective, but I'm staggered as to how good I think it now is.
Bilstein use their accelerometer sensors in these shocks, so they even compensate for hard acceleration & braking, helping to keep it level front to rear as well as laterally. The car's so compliant now it's surreal.
Having mentioned acceleration… With the stock setup, on most surfaces less than perfect, the T/C light would easily flicker on & off, unsettling the car, breaking the power delivery and, let's be honest, making the experience a bit of a let down. In fact, usually on any dry day, I'd end up using MDM as the norm, just to alleviate this issue.
The B6's have all but eliminated this issue. It has to be a particularly bad surface for this to happen, and even when it does, it's to nowhere near the same extent as before.

Sport: All the benefits of (the new) comfort, but a noticeably firmer ride. Incredibly stable at higher speeds, and a true joy to experience fast "A" & "B" roads, especially when pressing on excessively. The car seems to come alive in this mode. It's so hard to describe, it almost feels active, and soaks up nearly everything without drama. For fast, bumpy, smaller unclassified roads though, I'm finding it a little too firm. Don't get me wrong, it handles it very well, but comfort is just so good I'm tending to use that instead on these types of road.

Sport+: Not for me at present. It's ok on the motorway. It's an extremely hard ride to be honest, and too hard for most of our roads, you really do feel everything. If & when I have a track day, I believe it will be the ideal setting, but for road use I'm giving it a miss. Which isn't much of a loss really, as the other 2 modes are just so good. I'm confident this mode would come into its own on the track.

I'm not bothering to compare with stock Sport and Sport+, as, in my opinion, neither are much different to stock comfort, except for the level of hardness & bounce, if that makes sense.

My car has truly been transformed with these dampers. It's easily up there with BM3 as the best thing I've done. They actually compliment one another very well, as the ability for the car to deliver its power onto the road has been improved beyond belief & any expectation I had.

If you're still reading at this point, thank you. I know it's not been a short post.

If anyone's on the fence as regards doing this…. I hope I've helped. My only regret is that I didn't do this earlier!
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      09-02-2019, 11:48 AM   #2
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Nice write up Jon. Suspension upgrades have always been the best mods I've done to a car, the M4 most of all!
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      09-02-2019, 01:18 PM   #3
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Great that you are enjoying the B6s. I’ve had them for a few months and completely agree with your assessment. At low speed, around town, they are certainly stiffer than stock in Comfort, but still totally useable. As soon you get moving though they seem to flow over bumps with much more compliance than stock. Body control is so much better. Like you, I find Comfort is ideal most of the time but Sport was brilliant in North Wales.

Enjoy!
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      09-02-2019, 01:49 PM   #4
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Hi good write up t5pilot !

As per the WhatsApp chat he matched the price - are these the same as the B16 damptronic kit just without the springs? i.e I could just buy a set of Eibach springs for £300 rather than pay the extra £1k and get the full kit ( i.e save £700 )?
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      09-02-2019, 04:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveChester View Post
Hi good write up t5pilot !

As per the WhatsApp chat he matched the price - are these the same as the B16 damptronic kit just without the springs? i.e I could just buy a set of Eibach springs for £300 rather than pay the extra £1k and get the full kit ( i.e save £700 )?
I don't think so Steve. The B16's are proper coilovers & are height adjustable too. They also adapt if you go damptronic version.
They would have been overkill for me. If you're a regular track goer, they maybe make a little more sense, but if you don't need adjustable ride height I really see little point.
Personal choice of course.
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      12-11-2019, 10:20 PM   #6
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i have to go back to stock heights, so am reluctantly removing my tractive suspension

i have purchased a set of bilstein b6's as there is no way i can go back to those crap oe sachs shocks after the revelation in dampening of the tractives - will pair them up with my oe zcp springs

good to hear the b6's give a superior ride over oe on the same kinds of roads we have in aus
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      12-27-2019, 04:25 PM   #7
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With these shocks can you use lets say a has kit with it or do you have to use oem springs?
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      12-28-2019, 07:53 AM   #8
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You can use OEM or aftermarket (including BMW HAS) with this kit. According to Bilstein, these dampers are compatible with standard springs or lower springs.
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      12-28-2019, 08:09 AM   #9
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I went B16 damptronic in the end. Miles better although share your concern that Sport+ is too firm for road use

Anyone know how you adjust the height of them - they come with a strange looking spanner... I think you can adjust the fronts in situ but the rears need to be pulled out to adjust ( that's what the fitter from DT said ).

And don't bother with the fitting instructions as they are worse than what IKEA dish out!!!
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      12-28-2019, 08:16 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveChester View Post
I went B16 damptronic in the end. Miles better although share your concern that Sport+ is too firm for road use

Anyone know how you adjust the height of them - they come with a strange looking spanner... I think you can adjust the fronts in situ but the rears need to be pulled out to adjust ( that's what the fitter from DT said ).

And don't bother with the fitting instructions as they are worse than what IKEA dish out!!!
I don't know about adjustment on the B16's Steve. I really did give long consideration to these also. They looked very faffy to adjust (without a proper ramp/lift). Add to that I'd have eternal doubts of not getting the height precise on each corner if I messed with them.
Having spent the money on them, I'd be tempted to spend a bit more & go have it set up at Centre Gravity to be honest...
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      01-23-2020, 06:21 PM   #11
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I just installed the bilstein b6 - had to remove my tractive suspension as I needed more height to clear new driveway I beached on

I matched them up with my oe zcp springs and the car is sitting a good 5mm higher than stock I rekon - its been a while since I've seen my car at oe height

The irony is I wanted more height, and ummm got it

I knee jerk bought the euro v1 eibach springs - if the shocks don't settle I'll give them a go, will prob end up back at oe height with the subtle v1 drop lol

Exact same things I noticed, shock impossible to push down by hand, and I too was told they'll settle. I did a solid hill run last night and can already feel them softening off in initial travel, though the height hasn't budged

Car has ps4s and 7.5mm spacers
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Last edited by domino_z; 02-04-2020 at 07:26 PM..
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      01-23-2020, 06:57 PM   #12
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The Bilstein setups are excellent. I've put 200k on B6/B8 dampers and they are fantastic
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      01-24-2020, 02:56 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by domino_z View Post
I just installed the bilstein b6 - had to remove my tractive suspension as I needed more height to clear new driveway I beached on

I matched them up with my oe zcp springs and the car is sitting a good 2mm higher than stock I rekon - its been a while since I've seen my car at oe height

The irony is I wanted more height, and ummm got it

I knee jerk bought the euro v1 eibach springs - if the shocks don't settle I'll give them a go, will prob end up back at oe height with the subtle v1 drop lol

Exact same things I noticed, shock impossible to push down by hand, and I too was told they'll settle. I did a solid hill run last night and can already feel them softening off in initial travel, though the height hasn't budged

Car has ps4s and 7.5mm spacers
They definitely do settle in terms of height. It just takes a while.
Im so happy with my car now for sure.
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      01-24-2020, 04:39 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by domino_z View Post
I just installed the bilstein b6 - had to remove my tractive suspension as I needed more height to clear new driveway I beached on

I matched them up with my oe zcp springs and the car is sitting a good 2mm higher than stock I rekon - its been a while since I've seen my car at oe height

The irony is I wanted more height, and ummm got it

I knee jerk bought the euro v1 eibach springs - if the shocks don't settle I'll give them a go, will prob end up back at oe height with the subtle v1 drop lol

Exact same things I noticed, shock impossible to push down by hand, and I too was told they'll settle. I did a solid hill run last night and can already feel them softening off in initial travel, though the height hasn't budged

Car has ps4s and 7.5mm spacers
How do they compare to the tractives on Aus broken tarmac? Still too early to tell?
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      01-25-2020, 01:40 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfurse View Post
How do they compare to the tractives on Aus broken tarmac? Still too early to tell?
B6 is firmer in initial travel in comfort, and slightly softer in sport

The change bw comfort and sport isn't that big of a gap with the b6, so you can even run them in sport if you want

On our typical bumpy b and c roads it's about as firm as oe sachs but much more composed and far less crash, it's even less prone to crash than the tractives were in comfort, and I think that's the extra ~20mm of travel at work

The trick to the tractives is running them in sport, that's where the dampener magic is, comfort really is just for street driving, they were right on limit of being too soft in comfort on a bumpy country road

No question the tractives were more comfortable, the b6 feel like an oe sachs dampener with more travel and better dampening towards end of stroke

Did a couple hundred km today, they are starting to feel better, and that initial firmness in travel is softening off still, but just like the tractives, you're still at the mercy of a mcpherson strut front end and 30 series tyre

I think with 19s and 35 series sidewall you'd be perfectly happy with the b6 - meatier tyre would prob fill the guards in more too
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      01-26-2020, 01:17 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by domino_z View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by mfurse View Post
How do they compare to the tractives on Aus broken tarmac? Still too early to tell?
B6 is firmer in initial travel in comfort, and slightly softer in sport

The change bw comfort and sport isn't that big of a gap with the b6, so you can even run them in sport if you want

On our typical bumpy b and c roads it's about as firm as oe sachs but much more composed and far less crash, it's even less prone to crash than the tractives were in comfort, and I think that's the extra ~20mm of travel at work

The trick to the tractives is running them in sport, that's where the dampener magic is, comfort really is just for street driving, they were right on limit of being too soft in comfort on a bumpy country road

No question the tractives were more comfortable, the b6 feel like an oe sachs dampener with more travel and better dampening towards end of stroke

Did a couple hundred km today, they are starting to feel better, and that initial firmness in travel is softening off still, but just like the tractives, you're still at the mercy of a mcpherson strut front end and 30 series tyre

I think with 19s and 35 series sidewall you'd be perfectly happy with the b6 - meatier tyre would prob fill the guards in more too
Thanks for sharing. As long as they're an improvement over stock when pushing on and not really any worse than stock for around town they seem like a relatively good, low cost upgrade.

The OE dampers do struggle somewhat when pushing on. BMW did a software update back along and it seemed to make a decent difference to their behaviour but they still feel like they haven't got the rebound under control, comfort actually suffers a bit because of it. I had 2 adults in the car last week and went over a speed jump at like 10 kph and it was like the back of the car couldn't recover in one damping stride and it bounced 2 or 3 times to regain control.
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      01-27-2020, 01:53 AM   #17
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The fact bmw continue to use these crappy sachs shocks is just as baffling as them continuing to use mcpherson struts - which in the 21st century only really belong on small econo cars to save cost and space
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      01-30-2020, 03:27 AM   #18
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Apologies for the delay domino_z.
Photos below now completely settled. My car's filthy atm, hate it, but with the weather atm it's impossible to keep black clean.
Mine's sitting on genuine 763M's, Eibach Pro springs & 12mm spacers all round...
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      02-02-2020, 03:05 AM   #19
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couple more pics after some more hill driving

ride height hasn't changed in my eyes after 500km+

to recap, this is b6 + oe zcp springs + 7.5mm turner spacers
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Last edited by domino_z; 02-04-2020 at 07:32 PM..
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      02-07-2020, 08:31 AM   #20
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Where did you manage to get these for 1400?
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      02-07-2020, 10:30 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apollo View Post
Where did you manage to get these for £1400?
Try demon tweeks

Part numbers

BLS31-246200
BLS31-246217
BLS26-245591
BLS26-246970
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      02-08-2020, 09:30 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by domino_z View Post
Try demon tweeks

Part numbers

BLS31-246200
BLS31-246217
BLS26-245591
BLS26-246970
Cheers mate, coming in at 1600
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