Spending a few extra bucks on quality shocks can be a worthwhile investment. The hardest part, perhaps, is choosing the right shock for your car. And when the options are limited to Bilstein B6 and Bilstein B8, things can get even more challenging.
Before you decide to buy new shocks for your car, you must do your own research. This can be a tedious task when there’s very little information on the internet to go through.
Thankfully, you’re in the right place! Today, we’re going to clear up all your confusion about Bilstein B6 and B8. After reading this article, you’ll have an easier time choosing the right shock for your car.
We’ve put together a detailed comparison guide on Bilstein B6 vs B8. Let’s see which one comes on top-
Bilstein B6 Vs B8: Quick Comparison
As they are both Bilstein shocks, a lot of their features are identical. Most experts claim that there is really only one difference between B6 and B8. However, a closer inspection can reveal some key differences.
Before we dive into the details, let’s test the two shocks in a head-to-head scenario. The chart below will help us better distinguish the two shocks.
|Features||Bilstein B6||Bilstein B8|
|Springs||OE spring/ lowering springs||Sport springs/ Lowering springs|
|Stability||Stable||More stable compared to B6|
|Handling and Control||Good handling||Superior handling|
|Ride Height Adjustability||Non-adjustable||Adjustable|
|Road Suitability||On-road and off-road||On-road only|
|Price||Standard||A little pricey compared to B6|
As we can see from the chart, there are quite some differences between Bilstein B6 Vs B8.
Bilstein B6 vs B8: Detailed Comparison
We’ve gathered a basic understanding of the distinguishable characteristics of B6 and B8. It’s time to buckle up and go through an in-depth rundown of their differences-
Don’t mistake the difference in length as just a difference in appearance. The length of shocks can majorly affect the driving experience. But how?
There’s no need to rush. We’ll eventually describe the effect of length on a vehicle’s performance as the article progresses.
Until then, let’s look at the difference in length between B6 vs B8-
Bilstein B6 comes in a standard size, maintaining the same length as the originally equipped shocks. This means that if you want to replace your original shock, you can try out B6.
The B6 has a length of 23.94 inches, making it usable as a secondary shock.
Contrary to the B6, B8 has a noticeably shorter shock, around 26.80 inches in height. This shock is usable with cars that are manufactured with lowered suspension.
Shorter shocks help you to lower your car with the help of lowered spring and suspension. Lowered car is considered to give the car somewhat of a sporty look. The shorter shocks help improve Bilstein B8 performance.
As both B6 and B8 use shocks of different lengths, they require different springs. Here’s why-
Bilstein B6 is designed to use stock springs as it’s similar to the OE shocks.
Being identical to original dampers, Bilstein B6 doesn’t have any trouble fitting in with sports springs. The majority of lowering springs are designed to fit originally equipped shocks anyways.
You can try lowering springs from Eibach or V-Maxx on your B6. These lowering springs are compatible with standard shocks.
Bilstein B6 shocks can lower down to 30mm in conjunction with shorter springs.
For springs that only support shortened dampers, Bilstein B8 is your only hope. The shock requirements are listed in the catalogs by the spring manufacturers.
If the spring specifically demands sports dampers, then you have no choice but to choose B8. You can use original dampers if no such requirements are mentioned. Bilstein B8 can lower down to 50mm.
Due to being shorter than originally equipped springs, lowering springs are required to be slightly compressed. This necessary compression to fit the spring tightly on the shock is known as pre-tension.
Pre-tension is important for the shocks to avoid the possibility of dislocation while driving.
Stiffer dampers are preferred by many for their improved control when driving. Many manufacturers look to find the right balance of stiffness in their shocks. Too much stiffness can make the driving more ragged. While less stiffness will reduce handling and stability.
This is what the two shocks offer-
As a standard replacement of OEM shocks, Bilstein B6 doesn’t have reduced shock travel. It also has a standard stiffness which is okay for both on and off-road driving.
Bilstein B6 shocks are about 20% stiffer than standard chassis shocks. Using lowered springs improves Bilstein B6 performance.
When it comes to the stiffness of the spring, Bilstein B8 is the clear winner. The shorter length of the shock stiffens the lowering springs.
The dampening on B8 shocks is around 5-10% stiffer than B6, compensating for the reduced shock travel. Many Bilstein B8 reviews see this added stiffness as a massive advantage.
Handling And Stability
With development influenced by the m-sport industry, Bilstein shocks provide great stability, handling, and precise steering. Both B6 and B8 boast resilience and flexible handling in the toughest of tracks.
But their difference in length also slightly affects the handling and performance. Here’s how-
With lowering spring, we found Bilstein B6 to do a decent enough job. The handling was fine, and the car stayed stable throughout the driving experience.
The off-road experience, however, didn’t go quite as well. Our car was struggling to keep hold of the ground whenever we hit bigger bumps. As for the smaller bumps, the car did okay.
We tried another version of the B6 that’s tailored specifically for off-road driving. As promised by Bilstein, their off-road B6 version had significant performance enhancement over the standard B6.
This new version reduces uncontrolled movements and has superior handling and traction. With this version, the steering felt more accurate and precise.
While driving the car using Bilstein B8, we found the experience more stable. The handling was more precise than that of B6, thanks to the lowering spring.
For off-road driving, we used a Bilstein B8 5160 and it surpassed our expectations. It had little to no trouble taking on high bumps and stayed well stable throughout driving.
The ability to adjust the height can be a pretty handy feature for any shock. Having access to such a feature opens up new tracks that are usually off-limits. Here’s how-
You won’t have much luck looking out for an adjustable B6. The Bilstein B6 is non-adjustable, but not restricted to using lowered springs.
Standard Bilstein B8 shocks can’t be driven off-roads due to their lower springs and shocks. The Bilstein B8 5160, on the other hand, is an adjustable shock handy for flexible driving.
This added flexibility lets you drive in off-road conditions which are off-limits for standard B8 shocks. You won’t have to worry about high bumps as people often do with lowered shocks.
People often pay very little attention to the time it takes to install shocks in a vehicle. Many shock absorbers take up a lot of hours to be installed, front and rear.
The average time in the industry is around 1.5 to 4 hours. That too can be taken up just for installing a pair of air shocks.
Here’s how much time you need to install Bilstein B6 and B8 shocks-
It took slightly over 4 hours to install the B6 in our Porsche 944. The time can vary for different vehicles.
For the installation, you might need to count a hefty sum of around $350 to $400.
Installing both the front and rear shocks took us nearly 3 and a half hours in total. You can get the job done within 3 hours by a professional car mechanic.
If you’re looking to install the shocks by yourself, the hours can get longer. But in the process, you can save up to $350. This sum will vary depending on the state you live in and the labor cost.
Bilstein B6 leaves a lot to be desired despite being a standard replacement of the original shock. The difference between the two shocks becomes more evident when trying out B6 with standard springs.