It’s well known that the suspension of the latest BMW 3-Series is soft. This holds particularly true for the rear shocks. Even the mild 2.0 liter turbo 4-cylinder produces enough torque to exhibit noticeable squat in the rear under acceleration. And then there are the corners. The twisties. The place that the 3-Series has shone so bright for years is now a place of concern for enthusiasts like you. My 328i, equipped with the M Sport suspension, once felt as if the rear of the car was being dragged around corners like an unwilling dog on a walk being pulled by it’s owner by a leash. Not because the 3-Series wants to turn, but be cause it’s forced to.
In an effort to correct the handling characteristics of the F30, I did my research and chose to install Dinan springs. Spring rates are 30% stiffer and Dinan claimed they were a good match for the factory M-Sport shocks. Of course they would say that, right? Well, the springs improved balance tremendously however the rear end still felt too spongy. Squat was still there under hard acceleration and clearly evident when cruising the waves of an undulating road. It was time to put an end to the slop.
I’ve run Bilstein dampers in several of my other BMWs with success and it came to no surprise to see Bilstein on the ball with the BMW F30, offering HD and Sport damper replacements. Not only that, but the Sport now comes in two variations – The B6 and the B8. Both use the sport valving but the Bilstein B8 uses a slightly shorter rod, perfect for lowered vehicles. In the case of the BMW F30, Bilstein recommends the B6 for non M-Sport suspension. For those with the M-Sport suspension or lowering springs like me, the Bilstein B8 is what you want.
Installation of the rear shocks on the BMW F30 may be the easiest shock install of all time because there is no need to access the trunk. You can watch our Bilstein installation video below.
The only downside of the Bilstein B8 with it’s shortened body is the loss of suspension travel. But honestly, I don’t see this as anything serious. We’re not jumping hills and don’t think we’ll be missing anything during the daily commute or even the occasional track day.
First impressions with the Bilstein B8 rear shocks installed is that road imperfections are now perceivable through the steering wheel and the seat as opposed to just my hands. Squat under acceleration has been all but eliminated and the rear of the car is now much more in sync with the front when it comes to changing lanes. Twisty roads are calling. We’ll provide an update when we return.