Only with BILSTEIN does the suspension retain its “intelligence”

Technology & Knowledge
April 16, 2021 3 min read

Watch for DampMatic® technology when replacing dampers on a Mercedes

For more than a decade, many entry-level Mercedes-Benz models have been equipped with “intelligent suspension” based on a mechanical process. They use the DampMatic® technology developed by BILSTEIN. This is an amplitude-dependent control system that is fully integrated into the shock absorber. The models concerned are A-Class W168/W169, B-Class W245, C-Class W204/W205, GLC X253 and E-Class W212/W213.

However, this smart feature of the factory suspension is often unknown to independent garages and is hardly recognised when it is removed. After all, no cables or other visual features draw the attention to the DampMatic® system. If any aftermarket shock absorber is ordered, the suspension loses its “intelligence”. The only exception is if the workshop has opted for the B4 series replacement shock absorber from BILSTEIN. Along with the genuine Mercedes-Benz spare parts, this is the only shock absorber that offers the unique DampMatic® system.

Workshops do not need to take anything else into account when ordering spare parts: If a Mercedes is already equipped ex works with the amplitude-dependent control system, this also applies to the associated BILSTEIN B4 DampMatic. There is no need to decide between different product variants “with” and “without” and therefore no mistake can be made. So how does the DampMatic® exactly work and why should motorists never do without it despite slightly higher costs? The reason is the large damping force spread, which is made possible by a control piston.

Depending on the driving situation, the shock absorber behaves more softly or more firmly: As such, on a well-developed road, the passengers can enjoy outstanding rolling comfort, while on a serpentine road, dynamic attitude and agile handling are achieved. The system reacts at lightning speed so that even unexpected evasive manoeuvres can be safely mastered. Driving comfort, agility and safety are thus no longer conflicting demands; rather the centre of gravity is flexibly repositioned according to the situation and necessity. Important for the workshop: The installation is just like with any other shock absorber, as no cables, sensors or even an external control unit are required for this semi-active system. The degree of complexity thus remains pleasantly low and weight is also saved.

Those who are interested in technology and want to know exactly how it works can imagine it as follows: In the “soft setting” the damper oil flows through both the main piston and a special DampMatic® bypass. If the vibration amplitude increases due to the driving situation, the control piston moves to its stop due to the sudden excitation. It thus closes the bypass and the entire volume flow is handled by the main spool. As the flow rate is thus reduced, the shock absorber behaves “more tightly”.

In the sum of its properties, the BILSTEIN B4 DampMatic® offers significantly more than a conventional shock absorber, despite slightly higher costs. It is the only aftermarket spare part that offers the full performance spectrum of the original suspension. When replacing shock absorbers on a Mercedes, workshops should therefore always pay attention to this small but significant difference, which is easily overlooked when ordering parts. If you use BILSTEIN components straight away, you can be sure that all the features of the original are retained in full.

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