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      07-25-2020, 08:13 AM   #1
hellokitty
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Bilstein DDC B16 Coilover Review by HelloKitty

Hi guys,

I haven't seen many people post their reviews regarding this kit but there are a lot of questions about it. I decided to pull the trigger on it and wanted to post my thoughts after 20-30 miles of spirited driving before I forget how things felt before/after.

I had a 2017 M3 ZCP with stock suspension and ground control camber plates dialed in by West End Alignment and CS EDC + THOR GTS Diff, MDM, steering, etc. I also have 763M wheels with Star Spec Michelin Cup 2s on 265/285.

Stock Configuration
- My ZCP configuration was not the most comfortable ride due to the damping. When you hit a bump on the road, you feel it in your spine. The noise the car makes is simply telling you "ouch don't do that again!"
- Not very confidence inspiring in the corners at high speed. Sure you can take your car into a corner at high speeds, but if there are skips, bumps or imperfections on the road before/during/after, you feel the car "skip" and lose its composure.
- The CS EDC helps with the speed the car recovers (i.e., it rebounds quicker) but I feel the car still responds poorly to imperfections on the road in terms of both comfort and confidence in spirited driving.

Decision Tree
I was torn between MP HAS and coilovers like many of us out there before we decide to pull the trigger on selecting a suspension setup. I spent the entire week researching my options through this forum, Youtube, speaking to Bilstein North America and KW North America to find out more about their respective DDC kits since I wanted to retain EDC. Basically, what I found was that the KW DDC kit is in essence, an electronic version of the V3 (duh, but I had to hear it from KW to believe it). If you were to compare the passive V3 vs. the KW DDC, you are talking about a $1,400 premium for the KW DDC kit, which was a tough pill for me to swallow considering the KW V3 can be had for around $2,200 if you look hard enough. The MP HAS kit would be around $1,300 and my Bilsteins came in at $2,900 compared to $3,600 for the KW DDC kit (I'm factoring in typical online discounts you can get when shopping around). After all of these factors, Bilstein was the logical winner since it was cheaper, had some good technology behind the dampers (e.g., monotube, inverted rear strut).

Bilstein DDC
I purchased the Bilstein kit on this past Thursday and picked them up yesterday and had them installed the same day. It was a 14 hour day as a result, but I am glad this process is over since I can drive around so the suspension settles and get the car aligned and corner balanced by West End.

Summary of Bilstein DDC

Here are my initial thoughts after 30 miles of spirited driving on city roads and highway:

- The car is more stiff but it is more COMFORTABLE overall. Added stiffness does not mean you have to lose out on comfort contrary to what you read online.
- The steering becomes heavier (similar to my E92) and you feel connected to the road surface through the steering wheel and through the seats. The car felt "numb" on the stock ZCP suspension to the point where it was a bit boring to drive.
- The rebound/damping using CS EDC matched up to Bilstein dampers is AMAZING. You definitely feel the increased speed in which the dampers respond to the imperfections on the road.
- The car remains flat and neutral when cornering aggressively or taking long freeway sweepers. I would rate this as 10/10 in terms of "feels like its on rails" because it definitely is on rails.
- The car's ability to respond to road imperfections is improved 10/10. The car remains hugged to the ground despite what bumps you can throw at it. It does not result in a "jarring" feeling like the ZCP suspension does when running over small bumps on the road. It absorbs the bump, rebounds and keeps chugging along all at an extremely fast rate of speed.
- All 3 modes (comfort, sport, sport+) feels different and each upward setting makes the car more aggressive. My personal preference thus far is Comfort or Sport for normal driving and Sport+ for aggressive driving.


I will continue to update this post once I get more seat time. In addition, I'll update my review once I get my car aligned and corner balanced at West End Alignment next week.

Thanks for reading.
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      07-25-2020, 12:24 PM   #2
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Good review. Although a little different, I too am deciding between the KW V3 passive and Bilstein B16 PSS10. Leaning towards the Bilstein PSS10 for similar reasons you mentioned.

Good to see a positive review on the damptronic versions.
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      07-25-2020, 01:11 PM   #3
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Great review. Many of the same points as to why I went with Bilstein over KW as well.

I think once it settles in, you’ll enjoy it that much more. The only gripe is adjusting the rear height, as with pretty much every coilover system for this platform.
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      07-25-2020, 03:01 PM   #4
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Thanks for the review. I almost went with this kit, but had reservations re the comfort levels. Recently I went with B6D dampers and Eibach springs.... share similar results to you. Just wish I'd done it year ago as the improvement over OE is vast!
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      07-26-2020, 01:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadRunner///M View Post
Thanks for the review. I almost went with this kit, but had reservations re the comfort levels. Recently I went with B6D dampers and Eibach springs.... share similar results to you. Just wish I'd done it year ago as the improvement over OE is vast!
I'm considering either this or the full coilover setup. I think it's roughly $700 cheaper to get b6 dampers with eibach vs the coilovers and I could use that towards installation. Do the b6 come with their own bumpstops? Is there any other benefit on coilovers except the ride height adjustments? Do bilstein springs pair better with their shocks? I'm on a non-zcp tuned f82 and sometimes it's too much power for the chassis. Exiting a corner and hitting a bump just throws the whole car off balance and it oversteers like crazy, definitely not confidence inspiring. I want to fix that and also the significant body roll I'm experiencing. I would not mind a stiff ride whatsoever as I'm more into the sporty feeling. I have the cs damper tune and daily it in sport+ but often switch to comfort mid-drive when going over crappy roads. I'm looking to just upgrade the suspension once and want to make the right decision. Does the zcp sway bars make much of a difference as well? I know the m4cs shares the same front sway as the civic f82 but rear is zcp. I believe the rear is only ~1-2 mm thicker
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      07-26-2020, 04:14 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reddevils7 View Post
I'm considering either this or the full coilover setup. I think it's roughly $700 cheaper to get b6 dampers with eibach vs the coilovers and I could use that towards installation. Do the b6 come with their own bumpstops? Is there any other benefit on coilovers except the ride height adjustments? Do bilstein springs pair better with their shocks? I'm on a non-zcp tuned f82 and sometimes it's too much power for the chassis. Exiting a corner and hitting a bump just throws the whole car off balance and it oversteers like crazy, definitely not confidence inspiring. I want to fix that and also the significant body roll I'm experiencing. I would not mind a stiff ride whatsoever as I'm more into the sporty feeling. I have the cs damper tune and daily it in sport+ but often switch to comfort mid-drive when going over crappy roads. I'm looking to just upgrade the suspension once and want to make the right decision. Does the zcp sway bars make much of a difference as well? I know the m4cs shares the same front sway as the civic f82 but rear is zcp. I believe the rear is only ~1-2 mm thicker
The B6D + Eibach are great combo for occasional track days and far better street compliance. I have found the B6D + Eibach to give way better handling and traction vs OE. It is a HUGE improvement over OE in terms of comfort/compliance and handling. I can't comment on the B16 Coilover setup, but most reviews are it is hard vs OE. I wish I'd done this B6D upgrade years ago. The best way to describe the setup is tight, compliant and confidence inspiring.

The B6D has internal bumpstops. Can't comment re sways, but think you looking at the extra 1% handling gains here...the non-ZCP sways are just fine IMO.
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      08-09-2020, 03:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadRunner///M View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reddevils7 View Post
I'm considering either this or the full coilover setup. I think it's roughly $700 cheaper to get b6 dampers with eibach vs the coilovers and I could use that towards installation. Do the b6 come with their own bumpstops? Is there any other benefit on coilovers except the ride height adjustments? Do bilstein springs pair better with their shocks? I'm on a non-zcp tuned f82 and sometimes it's too much power for the chassis. Exiting a corner and hitting a bump just throws the whole car off balance and it oversteers like crazy, definitely not confidence inspiring. I want to fix that and also the significant body roll I'm experiencing. I would not mind a stiff ride whatsoever as I'm more into the sporty feeling. I have the cs damper tune and daily it in sport+ but often switch to comfort mid-drive when going over crappy roads. I'm looking to just upgrade the suspension once and want to make the right decision. Does the zcp sway bars make much of a difference as well? I know the m4cs shares the same front sway as the civic f82 but rear is zcp. I believe the rear is only ~1-2 mm thicker
The B6D + Eibach are great combo for occasional track days and far better street compliance. I have found the B6D + Eibach to give way better handling and traction vs OE. It is a HUGE improvement over OE in terms of comfort/compliance and handling. I can't comment on the B16 Coilover setup, but most reviews are it is hard vs OE. I wish I'd done this B6D upgrade years ago. The best way to describe the setup is tight, compliant and confidence inspiring.

The B6D has internal bumpstops. Can't comment re sways, but think you looking at the extra 1% handling gains here...the non-ZCP sways are just fine IMO.
even the rears have internal bumpstops? when I saw the diy by kies Motorsport for the coilovers they reused the stock rear bumpstops
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      08-09-2020, 05:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reddevils7 View Post
even the rears have internal bumpstops? when I saw the diy by kies Motorsport for the coilovers they reused the stock rear bumpstops
Rears re-use OE bumps
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      08-09-2020, 12:08 PM   #9
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Any updates? How do you like the coilovers so far?
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      08-09-2020, 12:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramzzz View Post
Any updates? How do you like the coilovers so far?
I love the suspension setup, but it won't be for everybody.

You will feel every bump on the road. For example, if you drive on a road with 10 bumps back to back and all bumps are close together, you can count 10 bumps since the dampers are so precise and responsive to road imperfections and communicate this to you through the seat VERY rapidly. If you were to drive on the same road with stock suspension, you can tell there are bumps on the road but it will be much harder to count them because they are being dampened out/isolated and the suspension is slower to respond so you may only feel 5-6 bumps with the rest being tuned out by the suspension due to the slower response of rebound.

If you are used to riding on entry level coilovers in the $1000 range, this will be a big step up in performance but not comfort. However, if you have a sensitive body and this would be your first experience with coilovers, this setup may not be for you. I have KW V1s on my daily driver 335is and those are more comfortable BUT lack the precision and handling capability of this setup. This setup is truly like driving on a knife edge and it's wonderful for a weekend car.

Keep in mind I'm also running GC camber plates which add to the stiffness of the suspension. I think you will be much happier using the stock top hats if you are sensitive to a stiffer ride. I've ridden on this B16 suspension on stock top hats and the camber plates definitely makes things more stiffer.

One thing I've learned is that OEM manufacturers will never install these type of performance dampers from the factory unless you are talking about weekend track focused cars from the factory (think GT3RS, M4 GTS, Focus RS, Mini GP3). It may seem like a stupid and obvious comment, but everyone reviewing those cars complain about the "harsh" ride from the factory. As a result, if you want any meaningful performance gain and feel for the track, you need to look at those type of cars or upgrade to a track oriented suspension.

Would I buy this product again? Heck yeah. I'm at the point where I don't care what BMW does with the G8X series. I'm keeping my F8X because it will destroy the new G8X in the corners simply because the new incoming model has one major weakness: it has to cater to the mass market in terms of acceptable comfort.

It comes down to picking the red pill or the blue pill. Do you want to retain comfort and have lesser performance and feel or do you want to sacrifice a bit of comfort for extraordinary performance and feel much more connected with your car?

My car is perfectly fine as a daily driver as well. I don't want to scare anyone off from this setup if it's their daily driver since you have the EDC option to soften things up. My car just happens to be a weekend warrior.

Hopefully this helps.
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      08-09-2020, 01:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellokitty View Post
I love the suspension setup, but it won't be for everybody.

You will feel every bump on the road. For example, if you drive on a road with 10 bumps back to back and all bumps are close together, you can count 10 bumps since the dampers are so precise and responsive to road imperfections and communicate this to you through the seat VERY rapidly. If you were to drive on the same road with stock suspension, you can tell there are bumps on the road but it will be much harder to count them because they are being dampened out/isolated and the suspension is slower to respond so you may only feel 5-6 bumps with the rest being tuned out by the suspension due to the slower response of rebound.

If you are used to riding on entry level coilovers in the $1000 range, this will be a big step up in performance but not comfort. However, if you have a sensitive body and this would be your first experience with coilovers, this setup may not be for you. I have KW V1s on my daily driver 335is and those are more comfortable BUT lack the precision and handling capability of this setup. This setup is truly like driving on a knife edge and it's wonderful for a weekend car.

Keep in mind I'm also running GC camber plates which add to the stiffness of the suspension. I think you will be much happier using the stock top hats if you are sensitive to a stiffer ride. I've ridden on this B16 suspension on stock top hats and the camber plates definitely makes things more stiffer.

One thing I've learned is that OEM manufacturers will never install these type of performance dampers from the factory unless you are talking about weekend track focused cars from the factory (think GT3RS, M4 GTS, Focus RS, Mini GP3). It may seem like a stupid and obvious comment, but everyone reviewing those cars complain about the "harsh" ride from the factory. As a result, if you want any meaningful performance gain and feel for the track, you need to look at those type of cars or upgrade to a track oriented suspension.

Would I buy this product again? Heck yeah. I'm at the point where I don't care what BMW does with the G8X series. I'm keeping my F8X because it will destroy the new G8X in the corners simply because the new incoming model has one major weakness: it has to cater to the mass market in terms of acceptable comfort.

It comes down to picking the red pill or the blue pill. Do you want to retain comfort and have lesser performance and feel or do you want to sacrifice a bit of comfort for extraordinary performance and feel much more connected with your car?

My car is perfectly fine as a daily driver as well. I don't want to scare anyone off from this setup if it's their daily driver since you have the EDC option to soften things up. My car just happens to be a weekend warrior.

Hopefully this helps.

Thanks for the reply! Im interested in purchasing a set of B16 damptronics, but it'll be my first set of coilovers for this car. Seems like i'll have to get used to the bumps in the road.
This would be my first sets of coilovers ever, and im aware that you can't always have comfort and performance in the same package so im willing chose one over the other. Im looking to take this car to the track and enjoy it more on the roads and i feel like new coilovers are the best bet.
GC camber plates were also on the list to help with camber, but maybe i will wait to install those after i get used to the b16's.
As nice as it would be to retain as much comfort as possible, i realize this is a sports car and not a limo so im ok with it.
This 2016 m4 has too much body roll. its very blatant when im on a turn. So the precision is what i need.
Even though my car is my daily driver. i would like to change things up and believe the B16 are the best bet.
im taking the blue pill
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      08-09-2020, 01:41 PM   #12
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Nice review of the coilovers. I've had my b16 for 1.5 years now and still love it. No problems at all. I feel so connected to the car and road when I drive it. Even though my f80 isn't my fastest/most powerful car I have, I still love driving my f80.
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      08-09-2020, 05:06 PM   #13
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Had B16's installed this weekend on my M4 CS. Initial impressions are very positive and echo HelloKitty's remarks.

I installed Millway camber plates. In combination with the Bilsteins, the handling precision and control is significantly enhanced. The increase in NVH is imperceptible.

Yes the ride is firmer, but depending on the speed you're driving and the roads you're on, it's not necessarily less comfortable.

Not been on track yet but I have driven on a variety of roads and the Bilstein's get more impressive the harder you push the car! Where the standard car runs out of composure, the B16's provide resolute body control.

Of course Damptronic preserves EDC functionality. So far I've only really driven in Comfort and Sport. Comfort is very nicely judged for normal driving. Sport firms things up notably and offers exceptional high speed stability.

Anyway the headline here is - for the relatively modest cost, this is a fantastic performance upgrade.
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