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Active Air vs. Standard Suspension

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by Benjam, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. Benjam

    Benjam Member

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    Has anyone received a Model S with the standard suspension yet? If so, could you offer any comparisons versus the active air suspension? Looking for comparison details such as ride quality, cornering ability, ride height, etc.

    Overall, I'm wondering if the $1,500 extra for the active air suspension is worth it.
     
  2. Stoneymonster

    Stoneymonster Active Member

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    Nope. None produced for public consumption (including test drives) as yet.
     
  3. Al Sherman

    Al Sherman It's about THIS car.

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    I try to be sensitive to the money issue. But, it's really too cool not to have it.
     
  4. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    I was a skeptic and ended up getting it just to not delay getting the car. But now that I have it I'm really glad. It's already saved me several scrapes and curb rash by being able to raise the height to get over steep drives or curbs. Can't compare the ride directly as I have no frame of reference, but I'd find it hard to believe the standard could be anywhere near as nice.
     
  5. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    Agreed, Evan -- there are a lot of high curbs here in Boston, and the curbing is granite. By setting the suspension up to High or VHigh, I can open doors without risk of scratching the doors' edges.
     
  6. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    I used to not slow down for speed bumps. If you hit them with enough speed (and/or the 'correct' speed) you don't really feel them, the suspension does. My GTI made a lot of (probably not very good) sounds when I did this.

    I hit a fairly nasty speed bump giving a test ride to a friend last night going 35. It soaked it up like it was nothing, and barely made sounds. I doubt a spring based suspension could do that. Silence is golden.
     
  7. Zextraterrestrial

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    I always speed up for speed tables and try to use them like a jump where you get your back wheel to come down the back side....the S does this awesome
     
  8. Sousaphil

    Sousaphil P2,595

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    Having spoke with a buddy who worked on the Model S development, they really haven't done much with the standard suspension (at least this was true back in December). Much of the testing and perfecting was done with the active air suspension, as that is what was intended to be on the car. The primary reason for offering the standard suspension is to get the car down to the originally-promised sub $50 mark.

    I'm sensitive to the high price of the vehicle, but I'd sacrifice the tech package, pano roof, studio sound, leather and/or paint armor before giving up the air suspension.
     
  9. contaygious

    contaygious Active Member

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    I use my suspension height twice a day so it's totally worth the money. Also, the automatically adjusting suspension is great for a smooth ride.
     
  10. htsai14752

    htsai14752 Member

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    I ordered air suspension also but just curious how standard suspension feels
     
  11. kinddog

    kinddog Banned

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    yea they should probably just bag it at this point...
     
  12. bellwilliam

    bellwilliam Member

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    #12 bellwilliam, Feb 19, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
    surprised all the negativity with standard suspension? I picked STD suspension out of choice not financial reason. I would of taken it even if air suspension is a zero dollar option. in the past 50 years, is there ever a time a collector or a used car buyer ever wished an used car with air suspension ? They cost $$$ to fix, difficult to upgrade. you are stuck with what factory gave you. no modification. anything breaks, you are better off junking the car. you better hope Tesla would build a standard suspension so once the warranty run out, you can retrofit your air suspension S if anything goes wrong.

    does Ferrari or Porsche build their sports car with air suspension ? I can name 100 great handling std suspension cars, can you name even just a few air suspension cars that are benchmark for handling ?
    if you decide for whatever reason (we are all different), your air suspension rides too harsh or too soft, what you gonna do ? us std suspension just a shock or springs away.
     
  13. anticitizen13.7

    anticitizen13.7 Enemy of the Status Quo

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    From what I understand, an air suspension is basically an air bladder that takes the place of the springs normally found in a conventional suspension. This theoretically allows continuous and infinite control over the spring rates via a computer controlled air pump. If Tesla has all the data from testing the air suspension, it shouldn't be too difficult to know how the car reacts to different spring with different spring rates, and then choose the most appropriate springs to balance performance and ride quality.

    The big question mark for buyers is exactly what that balance between performance and ride quality will be. I haven't seen or heard of any published test drives/reviews with the standard suspension.

    I agree with this. The standard suspension is a valid choice from the cost and reliability perspective. It's one less complex system to worry about.

    So, has anyone gotten word on when they will get their standard suspension Model S???
     
  14. gene

    gene Active Member

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    #14 gene, Feb 23, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
    I have standard suspension on order. I have not yet signed my contract but it states delivery in April/May. As an ex-pro mechanic, my reasons for going with standard suspension is reliability, ability to play with aftermarket springs and shocks as time goes by, and avoiding repair costs that can be greater than the vehicle is worth later in life (I'm planning to keep this car a long time). For me, the idea of an EV is simplicity. I'd rather not use a complicated device (air suspension) to do a very simple job. Kinda like using an ICE when you could have a simple electric motor

    • :smile:

    An aside character about air suspension, as with any servo system, is that it is forever making calculations and then making adjustment, which by definition means, it is never doing the right thing at the right moment, it is always a bit late.
     
  15. DrComputer

    DrComputer Member

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    Remember that the air suspension only adjusts height and not dampening. Tesla chose not to use adjustable shocks in addition to the air height adjustment.
     
  16. jkirkebo

    jkirkebo Model S P85+ VIN 14420 EU

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    This depends on where you come from I guess. I've had no desire to do any suspension mods to any car I've ever owned, and most certainly never will. As for repairs I hope Tesla will have spare parts for a reasonable price. It is only a $1500 option, so having astronomical part prices do not make sense. Anyway, with the +4 years extended warranty I'm not going to fret over that.

    I'm getting the air suspension for comfort, not handling. Handling will be way better than I'll ever need with either option, but I really enjoy having a car with great ride comfort. This is my long distance car, not a track car.

    BTW, I drive trains for a living. Some of them have air suspeded bogies, some have regular springs. There is no contest, the air suspension ones are head and shoulders above the regular ones in ride comfort.

    So it comes down to this; if you could have one car and it would either be a Porsche 911 or a Audi A8, which would you choose ? If you would go with the A8 (like me), get the air suspension...
     
  17. bellwilliam

    bellwilliam Member

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    not sure what your definition of affordable price is. do a Google search on Mercedes, Audi, Landrover..... you will see air suspension reliability hasn't improved much lately. there is no reason to believe a new company like Tesla will do a better job building a more reliable air suspension than say Mercedes ,that's been doing it for over 40 years, who still can't get reliability right. price PER corner (air suspension) is usually $1,000 (used) to $2,500 (dealer) when it comes time to fix them.

    4 years warranty goes by really fast !!!
    this is one of reason why many high-end cars depreciate like crazy. once off lease and out of warranty, one simply can't afford to maintain them when $$$ parts break. so just because Tesla will warranty for 4 years, doesn't mean you should care less. it will affect its resale price closer you are to warranty expiration.

    best OEM suspension on the market are Magneride by GM (used by Ferrari). that I would upgrade to
     
  18. ddruz

    ddruz Member

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    #18 ddruz, Feb 24, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
    I admit I'm concerned the air suspension on Model S may limit its practical useable life unless we can continue to renew the warranty ad infinitum. The cost to fix a broken air suspension out of warranty after 8 years compared to the residual value of the car might be too expensive to be worth it to fix.

    Admittedly naive question: If your air suspension goes bad after the 8 years of warranty/service that can definitely be purchased, can it be replaced with a standard suspension less expensively than fixing the air suspension?
     
  19. dpodoll

    dpodoll Member

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    Guess I'm equally naive - Curious as to the answer
     
  20. 100thMonkey

    100thMonkey Member

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    My previous experience, before the S, had me conclude that performance suspension and wheels leads to a harsh ride and handling. I swore it off altogether. Then I test drove the S. Like other options, I came to realize that the car was conceived with the idea of finding the perfect balance between performance and comfort. The air suspension allows for a very comfortable ride even with the performance rimes, making up for the loss of cushion usually provided by non-performance tire sidewalls. Needless to say we went for the whole enchilada in the end and lucky we did! turns out I have to put the suspension on high to get the car in and out of the garage and onto the road since I have a steep driveway. without the lift, the car high centers a little bit on the pavement. fortunately it's only by a little nick. Also, I have had to think about the buckled pavement from tree roots in this area. In general, it's very nice to know I can lift the car and get over stuff I'd otherwise have to reroute around while on the other hand, when on the open road I can take advantage of the low wind drag of low suspension.

    Personally, I suspect that the only reason the standard shocks are an option is to provide the low base price and it worked for us. we might never have considered the S, not even gotten in the showroom, if it weren't for the fact that we could tell ourselves that there was a $50K option. it took warming up to the idea of spending two to three times more on a car than we had ever considered, it took a deposit and multiple test drives for us to realize that indeed the value was there, that this car is the exception to so many of the rules I had come to previously understand about cars.
     

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