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      09-02-2019, 09:57 AM   #1
t5pilot
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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, 12:48 PM   #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, 02:18 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, 02:49 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, 05:11 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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