Having already chosen the Eibach Pro-Kit Spring Set for my 1997 740i, it's time to turn my attention to the the shocks and struts, known collectively as dampers. The available options include the Bilstein Touring Class, Bilstein Sport and KYB GR-2.
The Touring Class and GR-2 are similar to one another in that they're both premium quality replacements for the stock dampers. They are valved about 10% firmer than the originals to account for the wear that accumulates in other suspension components over time and their goal is to provide ride and handling that equals or exceeds the Original Equipment.
The Bilstein Sport is a high-performance shock absorber designed for use with lowering springs. The mono-tube design, while more expensive to produce, has advantages for heat dissipation, longevity and consistent performance.
Do I spend the money on the Bilstein shocks or save some cash and go back with a factory-equivalent part? The Bilstein Sports are the only replacement shock absorbers that are officially recommended to use with the Pro-Kit springs. Using the Touring Class or GR-2 with lowering springs would void their warranties. While this wouldn't be the first warranty I've ever voided when modifying a vehicle, I think that if I'm going to go through the trouble and expense of replacing them, it's worth doing it right. The Bilstein Sport was the winner and will make a great addition to my BMW 740i.