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Old 2nd December 2016, 16:02   #1
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Default VW Polo: Bilstein B6 dampers on stock springs

So, got a long pending modification done – the Bilstein B6s on stock springs.

Why B6s?
• Positive experience in an Octavia and the Saint’s Polo TSI and 320d
• I hate slowing down too much for potholes – wanted GC – so, no coilovers, no lowering springs
• I want ride quality AND handling AND peace of mind
• Tough, proven build
• Functionality paramount, looks secondary

Damage
• Rs.33.5k inclusive of shipping (seller in UK)
• Rs.4.5 k customs
• Rs. 2K installation at my local garage

A fun fact, my stock suspension had only 30% life remaining – the rebound damping was really slow. Just 2 years and 12.5k in Mumbai’s potholes roads can do this!

After 10 days of usage now, there’s only one overriding thought – why did I wait 2 years to get this done?

My observations:

Ride Quality:
• Medium/High Speed – no bobbing on undulations. Murders potholes, expansions joints – a true magic carpet feel.
• Low Speed – stiffer than stock below, say 30 kmph. You do feel the road a little more. However, it’s not trashy or harsh.
• By the way, the ‘phuss phuss’ stock suspension sound is now history!

Handling:
• Complete transformation. Very little roll. Car feels very, very eager to change direction. Having experienced KW coilovers in a GT TSI, I’d say, 75% of them. For absolutely ridiculous cornering limits, I felt the coil overs were better.
• What used to be hairy in stock is like a walk in the park with these.The handling threshold has been upped significantly. It’s ridiculous, how quickly extreme cornering becomes the new normal.
• I’m acutely aware now of the dimensions of the car – tough to explain this, but it feels you know exactly where every corner is. The car feels like a very controllable toy.
• I’m swerving and avoiding potholes much, much better!

Steering Feel:
• ‘Tighter’. Little movements of the steering wheel now result in a directional reaction – even off the ‘centre’

Negatives:
• The ride height I think has actually slightly increased! The wheel well gap has perhaps increased - it looks as bad, if not worse than stock! I have no idea how they do their magic with the same/increase GC!
• Some of the dashboard thuds over expansion joints, while they have softened, have not got completely eliminated. However, I hasten to say, it’s a vast improvement over stock.
• Carrying so much more speed into corners, that brakes have started to feel really insufficient, even with brake assist set to early.

Overall:
• A very sophisticated ‘Teutonic’ driving experience and feel.

I’ve only now begun to appreciate how rewarding great handling can be (loved my family’s Ikon 1.6 Sxi, but this is at another level). I feel for a city like Mumbai, it’s tough to find a better car for “city storming”. A combination of the right size, DSG, paddles, remap and B6s = sleeper magic. Potholes? Bring them on!

I’ve now resolved that for my future cars, the first modification I’ll do would be suspension. Everything else can wait.
Attached Thumbnails
VW Polo: Bilstein B6 dampers on stock springs-img20161122wa0020.jpeg  

VW Polo: Bilstein B6 dampers on stock springs-img20161122wa0016.jpeg  

VW Polo: Bilstein B6 dampers on stock springs-img_20161122_155847.jpg  

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Old 3rd December 2016, 21:56   #2
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Default Re: Volkswagen Polo 1.2L GT TSI : Official Review

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Originally Posted by d_himan View Post
Damage
• Rs.33.5k inclusive of shipping (seller in UK)
Can you please share the seller details and part number for the front and rear ? 4.5K as customs duties sound very less, I assume the tax is around 28-31% of the invoice price ?
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Old 3rd December 2016, 23:00   #3
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Originally Posted by GT145 View Post
Can you please share the seller details and part number for the front and rear ? 4.5K as customs duties sound very less, I assume the tax is around 28-31% of the invoice price ?
Bilstein 4x B6 Full Kit Car Dampers Shock Absorbers 35-168560 24-067898. The total with express shipping (1 week) was ~ £410. The exchange rate was favorable in October end when I bought it.
Have PMed the seller details. And the reason why customs was 'low'!

Last edited by d_himan : 3rd December 2016 at 23:12.
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Old 4th December 2016, 09:27   #4
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For those curious, height comparison, 2010 Polo D Highline vs my GT TSI with Bilsteins. Gets a tad worse. BTW, the 2010 Polo had a lower GC than the current ones.
Attached Thumbnails
VW Polo: Bilstein B6 dampers on stock springs-img_20161204_092058.jpg  


Last edited by d_himan : 4th December 2016 at 09:39.
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Old 5th December 2016, 11:42   #5
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Default Re: Volkswagen Polo 1.2L GT TSI : Official Review

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Originally Posted by d_himan View Post
For those curious, height comparison, 2010 Polo D Highline vs my GT TSI with Bilsteins. Gets a tad worse. BTW, the 2010 Polo had a lower GC than the current ones.
Congrats on the B6s. I should point out the fact that the shock absorbers VW uses now, leads to the decrease in ground clearance of the car. The 2010 models, like Vento, likely had the gas-assisted, stiff heavy-duty shock dampers earlier, that make the car have a higher ground clearance than the newer ones.

It would be good to measure the ground clearance of two identical cars.

Edit: Sorry for the back to back posts. I did not notice that before making this post.

Last edited by halfbytecode : 5th December 2016 at 11:47.
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Old 5th December 2016, 13:07   #6
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Default Re: Volkswagen Polo 1.2L GT TSI : Official Review

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Originally Posted by halfbytecode View Post
Congrats on the B6s. I should point out the fact that the shock absorbers VW uses now, leads to the decrease in ground clearance of the car. The 2010 models, like Vento, likely had the gas-assisted, stiff heavy-duty shock dampers earlier, that make the car have a higher ground clearance than the newer ones.

It would be good to measure the ground clearance of two identical cars.

Edit: Sorry for the back to back posts. I did not notice that before making this post.
Thanks halfbytecode. Two points:

• Officially, the GC was 168 mm from launch. Now, it says 165 mm. However, I know for a fact that VW did a dealership fix in 2013 with spacers for fixing a common complaint - bottoming out for the 1.2 TDI.

•The earlier Polos and Ventos look ‘lower’ compared to the new ones – the height has gone up by 56mm (at least for the diesel) post the FL launch in 2016 (official press release).

Anyway, yes, will post with a stock GT TSI. I wish I had taken a better photograph of mine before installation! However, bottomline – it’s definitely higher and is not a looker!
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Old 5th December 2016, 13:32   #7
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Default Re: Volkswagen Polo 1.2L GT TSI : Official Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by d_himan View Post
Thanks halfbytecode. Two points:

• Officially, the GC was 168 mm from launch. Now, it says 165 mm. However, I know for a fact that VW did a dealership fix in 2013 with spacers for fixing a common complaint - bottoming out for the 1.2 TDI.

•The earlier Polos and Ventos look ‘lower’ compared to the new ones – the height has gone up by 56mm (at least for the diesel) post the FL launch in 2016 (official press release).

Anyway, yes, will post with a stock GT TSI. I wish I had taken a better photograph of mine before installation! However, bottomline – it’s definitely higher and is not a looker!
Hi,

The ground clearance drops significantly with the new softer dampers, way below 168 mm, without the spacers installed. I have experienced this in my Vento, and had the dampers replaced with gas-assisted, heavy-duty European ones, which increased the ground clearance back to 168 mm. This is with the 2010 suspension components, without spacers.

Most old Ventos, I see, are low in ground clearance, lower than 168 mm. It seems spacers were not installed in quite a lot of such cars. I have not observed Polo 1.2 TDI specifically though.

On a sidenote, I would have removed the spacers from my car had they installed them later on.

Last edited by halfbytecode : 5th December 2016 at 13:34.
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Old 5th December 2016, 21:55   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halfbytecode View Post
Hi,

The ground clearance drops significantly with the new softer dampers, way below 168 mm, without the spacers installed. I have experienced this in my Vento, and had the dampers replaced with gas-assisted, heavy-duty European ones, which increased the ground clearance back to 168 mm. This is with the 2010 suspension components, without spacers.

Most old Ventos, I see, are low in ground clearance, lower than 168 mm. It seems spacers were not installed in quite a lot of such cars. I have not observed Polo 1.2 TDI specifically though.

On a sidenote, I would have removed the spacers from my car had they installed them later on.
Interesting state of affairs, GC decrease, but overall vehicle height increase in the FL batches of Polo! Vento I'm not sure, but the new ones look taller for sure. Anyway, there's hardly any 'dip' in the bilsteins post a speed hump, GC is the last thing to worry about, its the brakes!
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Old 5th December 2016, 22:27   #9
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Default Re: Volkswagen Polo 1.2L GT TSI : Official Review

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Originally Posted by d_himan View Post
Interesting state of affairs, GC decrease, but overall vehicle height increase in the FL batches of Polo! Vento I'm not sure, but the new ones look taller for sure. Anyway, there's hardly any 'dip' in the bilsteins post a speed hump, GC is the last thing to worry about, its the brakes!
I feel like writing more about this. Bear with me. Lol

Yes, it can be very confusing. I parked my car besides a brand new car, and the 2016 Vento had higher ground clearance than my car, even though I have upsized tyres on my car and the other car had stock tyres.

I have been attributing the increase in ground clearance to increased length of the localized coil springs. The earlier cars with heavy-duty suspension had Euro-spec springs and suspension components, going by my car. I have not been able to measure the length of coil springs in newer cars, or look for specifications.

You know about the dip or nose-diving, it's because of the stock oil-based shock absorbers. It started happening with my car too, when those shocks were installed, that also led to decrease in ground clearance.

With stiffer shocks (I suppose B6s are stiffer), I am surprised the braking power of your car is still not good. My car's braking was restored post the stiffer shocks. Anyway, we do have different kinds of brakes, I have the earlier version of course. Another thing that is different is stuff heavy-duty coil springs in my car. If you are planning to upgrade the coil springs to something stiffer, maybe that would improve the braking power due to the improved traction.

With this, I have not felt the need to upgrade the brakes.

P.S. Stabilizer links are very soft, and upgrading them to the earlier version or Polo GTI version would improve front tyre grip and traction. This would in turn contribute to improved braking. I can provide you with the part numbers if you want.
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Old 7th December 2016, 21:17   #10
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Originally Posted by halfbytecode View Post
With stiffer shocks (I suppose B6s are stiffer), I am surprised the braking power of your car is still not good.

Could you provide the part nos and cost? Tempted...
Brakes - I assure you, no suspension can help. I can't type any references to speed - but I struggle to get 7 Kmpl most days, even in moderate traffic. I need repeated fade free performance.

Last edited by ampere : 12th December 2016 at 10:03. Reason: Trimmed quoted post
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Old 7th December 2016, 23:27   #11
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Default Re: Volkswagen Polo 1.2L GT TSI : Official Review

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Could you provide the part nos and cost? Tempted...
Brakes - I assure you, no suspension can help. I can't type any references to speed - but I struggle to get 7 Kmpl most days, even in moderate traffic. I need repeated fade free performance.
The part number is 6Q0 411 315 N, which was discontinued by VW, in favor of the "softer" 6R0 411 315, but due to issues they discontinued that too (internationally). A visibly identical part to the former has replaced the latter, having part number 6R0 411 315 A (Polo GTI, and international Polos).

The cost is pretty much the same for all these, going by the online prices. You likely have the second version.

Having said that, aftermarket versions of the first type are available from TRW, Lemforder, etc. A pair should cost less than the price of one unit at VW. The performance of TRWs have been good for me. I got that as VW discontinued the original part.

About the brakes and suspension, it made a tremendous difference for me. My car had stiffer heavy-duty suspension, and the shocks were replaced with softer localized units last year. The braking power went for a toss. Emergency braking was most seriously affected. Replacing the shocks with heavy-duty ones restored the braking power exactly.

Coil springs also similarly affect the traction, and consequently the braking power. With the combination of stiffer coil springs, stiffer shocks, and stiffer stabilizer links, the car tends to "stick" to the ground. I recently noticed the exceptional braking was mentioned in Team-BHP review of 2010 Vento.

Last edited by halfbytecode : 7th December 2016 at 23:36.
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Old 13th December 2016, 08:34   #12
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Default Re: VW Polo: Bilstein B6 dampers on stock springs

Thanks for sharing, d_himan! Moved your upgrade post to a dedicated thread.

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Have PMed the seller details.
Please share the same on this thread. A PM helps one person, a public post helps thousands .
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Old 13th December 2016, 12:01   #13
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Default Re: VW Polo: Bilstein B6 dampers on stock springs

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Thanks for sharing, d_himan! Moved your upgrade post to a dedicated thread.
Please share the same on this thread. A PM helps one person, a public post helps thousands .

Thanks GTO. Didn't realize - what I thought would be a single update post elicited enough responses to become a thread.

I've now 'settled down' with the B6s. They continue to surprise with nil/minimal roll during violent lane changes and a near-complete absence of 'dipping' and 'bobbing' after a mid-corner bump /going over speed humps. All this with a firm but good ride quality. The only fly in the ointment is that the car 'sits' higher than stock - the wheel well gap looks uglier than stock! This could be a deal breaker for some. But once one gets behind the wheel, everything vaporizes!
I've PM ed several BHPians who had asked me for the source:

Ross from TDC automotive. Orders@tdcautomotive.com
I paid through Paypal. ~ 475 pounds including express shipping by TNT
Order was shipped in 3 days and took a week more to arrive at customs.
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Old 14th December 2016, 01:10   #14
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Default Re: VW Polo: Bilstein B6 dampers on stock springs

Noob question

Can these be installed in the diesel Honda City? Truly fed up with my car's lousy suspension which provides neither low speed comfort nor a flat ride at high speeds or composure over bumps.
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Old 14th December 2016, 12:43   #15
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Default Re: VW Polo: Bilstein B6 dampers on stock springs

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Originally Posted by Shreyans_Jain View Post
Noob question

Can these be installed in the diesel Honda City? Truly fed up with my car's lousy suspension which provides neither low speed comfort nor a flat ride at high speeds or composure over bumps.
I am sure you can. You just need to find the right damper for your car. I doubt the B6 for the Polo will be compatible with the Honda City.
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