EDC wins race, but does it matter?

EDC wins race, but does it matter?

"In this new Special Series, I document my experiences with Bilstein's B16 Damptronic coilovers as part of the E60 M5's Chassis Program.

In this entry, I document why EDC is useful, and my unboxing notes to Bilstein's B16 Damptronic coilovers." 
- Matt 

The E60 M5's EDC. 

The continuously variable electronic damping control system used in the E60 M5 originates from the E65/66 7 series. The continuous Electronic Damping Control (EDC-K) absorbs vertical forces while driving and dampens these forces to the chassis. 

The EDC works with infinitely variable valves in the dampers to regulate the hydraulic fluid flow using electromagnetic control valves. EDC-K provides the actual damping force required at any time. 

The adjustments are made by the ECU using inputs from various sensors across the chassis. The forces are measured by two vertical acceleration sensors on the front axle and one at the rear axle.

The front sensors are located in the wheel housings and the rear on the trunk tray underneath the trunk ventilation ports. 

The steering angle sensor is used along with the front wheel speed sensors to determine the lateral acceleration.

The dampening curves are mapped in the control module to continuously regulate flow in the damper. 

"The influence of potholes and unevenness on the road surface is reduced to minimum. In addition to increased driving comfort and improved roll characteristics on the tyres, EDC also contributes to vehicle stability and safety.

By reducing the nose's tendency to dip when braking and improving the tyre traction, EDC shortens the braking distance when braking heavily. The damper adjustment means that even when braking with ABS the vehicle chassis remains upright on the road and all four wheels have the largest possible contact to the surface."

Link to YouTube Video from BMW M. 

EDC wins races. 

There's a reason the latest Pikes Peak winners all use a form a EDC, and that it was banned from F1: if your suspension can adapt to the changing road conditions, it can keep you on the edge of the traction circle. 

Can our OEM EDC sustain track use?

The dampening curves of the OEM EDC shocks cannot sustain the forces exerted on the chassis as you use wider, stickier tires and more aggressive alignment settings.  

We unfortunately don't have any motorsport level options for the E6x M5/M6. Track use is one of the few situation under which EDC should be eliminated from an M car.

Does it matter?

I do not believe so. M5s are street cars by design, they need to do it all. The E60's suspension needs to adapt to varying road conditions.  

With the objective of increasing performance, while improving the aesthetics of my E60 M5, I sourced a set of Bilstein B16 Damptronic coilovers during the Summer of 2022. 

Bilstein's EDC performance option. 

The Bilstein kit is the only performance coilover system designed to be plug & play with the Electronic Damper Control system of the E60 M5.

Unlike the standard Bilstein B6 dampers designed as an OEM EDC replacement product, the B16s are designed as a performance oriented, adjustable coilover system.

It features electronically valved damper optimized and paired with stiffer progressive springs. The B16s thus retain the use of BMW's EDC control modules and its extensively developed adjustment maps. The installation is plug and play: Bilstein provides the wiring to connect both the front and rear struts.

The fronts are connected from the bottom of the damper to the strut towers. The rear struts are connected from the top, in the trunk.  

The dampers' bodies are threaded for height adjustments with aluminum collars. It provides an adjustment range from 15mm to 35mm lower than original suspension. 

The shock bodies are steel, with Triple-C coating. If you live in Northern climates, these will progressively rust. 

The Bilstein B16s do not come with adjustable top mounts. I opted to retain the original stock top mounts for now. 


Up next: I document the installation process. 

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