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Air suspension vs Coil

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Mike K, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. Mike K

    Mike K Member

    May 15, 2013
    Los Angeles
    Hey all. I can't seem to find a definitive post on this so I just thought I'd make one. The smart air suspension has been one of my must haves for as long as I've owned Teslas and both of my cars have had them as well as all the loaners I've been given.

    In a rush to get one of the recent lease specials, I completely forgot to ask for air suspension. It wasn't until my drive home that I realized the air suspension menu was missing and then when I popped my hand under the wheel well, there they were: coils.

    So for those that say the difference is night and day, no not really. It took me until I got home before I realized that I didn't have the air springs. The trade-off between air and coil seems to be minimal and largely left to personal preference. The air car is definitely smoother over rough bumps however the coil car is not harsh but does respond more directly.

    The big plus for me though is handling. The coil car seems to handle noticeably better with noticeably less body roll. And again, the air suspension car is also quite competent but the coils seem better in this regard.

    The biggest benefit to me is not bottoming out on parking stops. The air suspension settles after you park and I can't count the times I've gotten back in my car to pull out of a space and hear my front end dragging over the concrete curb or parking stop.

    Overall, you could throw either suspension at me and I'd be happy. If you're someone that loves a comfortable, quiet ride the coil suspension won't upset you and if you're someone that likes a more direct engaging drive, you won't find the air suspension to be loose or disconnected. Both are quite good. And it's for that reason that if were equipping a car right now I'd probably skip the air suspension without a second thought.

    This has been another installment of "my opinion of stuff". Tune in next week for more opinions on things you really don't care about.
    • Informative x 9
    • Like x 3
  2. JPUConn

    JPUConn Active Member

    Aug 11, 2014
    I am a big fan of and make use of the air suspension on my car daily.

    For me it wouldn't be a deal breaker to snag a lease deal to go to coils.
  3. Btr_ftw

    Btr_ftw Court Jester

    Dec 19, 2015
    I like my cars reallllly low and the air suspension gives me that adjustability on the fly. Otherwise I don't really care either
    • Like x 1
  4. rjcbox

    rjcbox Member

    Sep 4, 2013
    PA, USA
    Love my coils for the reasons you mentioned
  5. EVS Motors

    EVS Motors Vendor

    Sep 3, 2013
    Can't go wrong with the air suspension for daily use. With the auto location feature the car raises itself in areas where you would raise the suspension at the higher setting to clear bad driveways, speed bumps, dips, etc. Also for a car enthusiast you want to be able to lower it for better handling and better looks. The downside of coils is you cannot raise your suspension to clear bad driveways which will tear up the front end.
  6. S'toon

    S'toon Knows where his towel is

    Apr 23, 2015
  7. RobW2428

    RobW2428 Member

    Jul 6, 2016
    Richmond, VA (& Nags Head, NC)
    Do any of you guys have an opinion about how much better air is than coils go driving in snow? How much more clearance would you say you get in the snow?
  8. Brass Guy

    Brass Guy Member

    Jan 5, 2014
    Holbrook, MA
    IIRC, air at "very high" is 1" higher than coils.
    • Informative x 1
  9. UBQP

    UBQP Member

    Aug 10, 2015
    United States
    I've not experienced the car lowering when parked. I raise it to max when I wash the car and it never lowers. I've parked it for 12 hours and it has not lowered.
  10. Snerruc

    Snerruc Member

    Apr 16, 2016
    Palm Bay
  11. Ulmo

    Ulmo Active Member

    Jan 19, 2016
    Vienna Woods, Aptos, California
    Thank you for your story. I did my own tests and came to the same conclusion as you. Like you, I had a truth-sayer involved: I expected the opposite result to what I got. But overall, I'd be happy with either air or coil. In my case, I've decided that I solidly am opinionated in favor of both, whatever I get, and not against either, which is to say I like them both whole-handedly. I have loved the air ride in my now-junked MB E500, and found the coils in test driving the Model S to be superb, as well as test driving the air in both Model S and Model X. I was fantastically happy with both coils and air in all the Tesla test drives. I used this fact to save myself a bunch of money ordering a new Model S. I'll trade up to a Model X with towing, and then I'll enjoy SAS.
  12. pilotSteve

    pilotSteve Active Member

    Jul 14, 2012
    Vancouver WA
    +1 and thank you and the OP for this thread. I've had air since 2012 in my sig S85, but in my just-ordered P90 I decided to go coils and buy EAP+FSD. I've enjoyed air for the past four years with few problems (occasional settling and rare error codes that fixed themselves after driving for a few miles) but I decided (a) the coil ride really is fine for me and (b) put the money into automation which I will enjoy every day for the next four years very much!
    • Like x 1

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