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Deciding on suspension, how does everyone else about air vs. coil?

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by gnychis, Dec 4, 2013.

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How do you feel about air vs. coil suspension?

  1. I have air suspension and love it

    29 vote(s)
    54.7%
  2. I have air suspension and wish I had opted for coils

    2 vote(s)
    3.8%
  3. I have coil suspension and love it

    21 vote(s)
    39.6%
  4. I have coil suspension and wish I had opted for air

    1 vote(s)
    1.9%
  1. gnychis

    gnychis Member

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    #1 gnychis, Dec 4, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
    I've spent about 2 hours now reading through suspension posts on the forum. Whereas I had imagined there was always a standard coil and air option, I've found that the standard coil suspension was only introduced in Q1 of 2013. The longest thread I could find on coil vs. air was a thread that was started before the coil suspension was actually released. Only a few posts exists on it after it was released. Other threads exist that compare and contrast it, but they're relatively short and I'm having a hard time getting a "feel" for people's feelings on standard vs. coil now that the options have been around for longer now. I'm mainly concerned about ride comfort, handling, and reliability.

    So, I thought I would create a quick poll and solicit feedback on the option, as my time to decide between the two is about to end. It seems like many people who have the air suspension use it to navigate parking situations.

    NOTE: Try to leave out your feelings given the recent update that raises the speed threshold, I imagine this could be changed back in the future (with no guarantee).
     
  2. Mnlevin

    Mnlevin Member

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    417
    Location:
    South Florida
    I was a very early adopter. I opted for Std Coil suspension. I am super satisfied with the ride and knowing that it is simple and unlikely to cost me alot in future repairs makes be happy. We live in Fla and dont have a need to raise the car to get over snow or curbs. The car rides as nice as any luxury car. Our car is pretty standard, as the features that come with the car are pretty complete and meets our needs. Recently was given a P85+ as a loaner while our car was in the shop for 2 days. I know that car was about $40k more than mine, but I couldn't find $40k of value in the "small" differences. Very Satisfied with the basic car! BTW Std Suspension was an option from the beginning but they didn't manufacture those cars until April 2013. Mine was one of the first and caused my car to be delayed about 3 months. :tongue:
     
  3. Theshadows

    Theshadows Active Member

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    1,896
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    PA
    I love the air suspension. It doesn't have the harsh rebound of springs. We have rough railroad tracks near my house and the car just glides over them at any speed. All other vehicles take a harsh dip and bounce and you can really hear the difference in how hard the tires smack the tracks.

    Another area is a turn with a depression on the outside shoulder of the road. Other cars really dip hard and the rebound is harsh. The air just floated over it like it wasn't even there.

    My wife told me today that she went to our local drive through Starbucks and they have a nasty 3" single tire dip then bump in the asphalt near the order stand. She said she hardly even noticed it in the Model S today. That perplexed me because you drive over it at 1-3 mph.

    For comparison sakes we are comparing to an '05 530i, a '10 328xi, and a '13 golf.

    We love the air and have no regrets even with the recent "bad news".
     
  4. jcaspar

    jcaspar Member

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    Aug 19, 2013
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    798
    Location:
    Sacramento
    I love my coil suspension. Seems to hug the road better than the air suspension without the floaty feeling. It is rougher so if you are used to a cushy ride, you may not like it. I think there is more road noise too. If you want more of a sports car feel, go for the coils. I have never scraped.... so far.
     
  5. 100thMonkey

    100thMonkey Member

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    Seattle area
    I'm enjoying the air suspension but ask me years from now after the warranty has run out :~), if they are reliable I will continue to love them,if they cost me an arm and a leg I will wish I opted for spring. Lolochamcars has some pretty convincing reasoning for why coil may actually be the better bet.
     
  6. gnychis

    gnychis Member

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    Boston, MA
    Thanks for the initial responses!

    Can you link me to this? I have searched for that username and in general for that name, but can't find anything
     
  7. SwedishAdvocate

    SwedishAdvocate Active Member

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    Sweden, Earth
  8. mnx

    mnx 2013 P85

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    Ancaster, Canada
    I like my air suspension >90% of the time. It's great for everyday driving. I dislike the floaty/disconnected feeling at times when I'm driving spiritedly on the road/track.
     
  9. lloyds

    lloyds Member

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    Bay Area
    I agree on the floatiness. Love the ease of getting out of steep driveways, so I don't mind too much. On my 2nd incoming MS, I also ordered it w/ air susp
     
  10. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    #10 Gizmotoy, Dec 5, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013
    Drove an air suspension P85+ after daily driving my track car (a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution) for awhile, and really disliked how the car lacked any sort of communication. I felt disconnected, like the car was gliding along on a cloud or something. I'm sure many people love that, but it's not for me. I loved everything else about the car, the acceleration was slightly better than the Evo, and it has all the practicality the Evo doesn't, but simply couldn't see myself enjoying driving it with the numb roadfeel. Tesla had lost a sale.

    After some convincing by my wife, and seeing some rumblings on the forum (particularly the thread above and a few over on the official forum) that the coils may be better suited to me, I called the showroom for a back-to-back air/coil test drive. An S60/S85 this time. I thought the difference in suspensions was immense, and put a deposit down on the spot. Tesla had gained a sale. I've had it for about two weeks now, and it was absolutely the correct choice for me.

    My best advice to you: drive them back-to-back and decide for yourself, especially since you're in Palo Alto where that's truly an option.

    Edit: I'm surprised by the number of coil responses. It's still early in the voting, but on a numbers basis, it seems coil cars are vastly outnumbered by air.
     
  11. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Bear in mind that the coil suspension was added not that long ago. If you wanted a Model S last winter or spring, you had to choose air.
     
  12. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    Yes, exactly. I didn't mean that as any kind of commentary, just that coil is relatively new, and even now I'd probably say most people still select the air.
     
  13. gnychis

    gnychis Member

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    Your white tesla and the pictures of it all over Google Images was my inspiration in choosing white for my car color, FYI ;)

    Thanks for your side-by-side feedback, Gizmo! I will try to give both of them a test drive and see how they feel. I'm not crazy sporty with my rides, and won't be getting a Performance model. So, the air might be OK to me. If I had an Evo as a daily drive, I'm sure I'd really feel the difference.

    Another possible reason for the increase in coil responses is the increased cost of the air option.
     
  14. gene

    gene Active Member

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    I have put 14K miles on my coil sprung Model S. I chose coils as I am a pro mechanic so I prefer not to make a complicated device to do a simple job. I also chose coils for reliability. My guess any Model S will last a very long life and I did not want the high expense of air suspension replacement possibly a few times in the S's life.

    A month ago, I had a loaner S with air. Boy was I happy I had chosen coils. That "floaty" feeling others speak of felt almost scarey vs. the sense of security and control I get with the coils. Plus the ride with the coils is not quite as luxurious over the bumps but pretty damn close.
     
  15. rjcbox

    rjcbox Member

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    In the same boat here, still having trouble deciding after hours of forum review.

     
  16. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Decision table:

    Drive on the track - Yes (coil)
    Particular about road feel - Yes (coil)
    Concerned about costs - Yes (coil)
    Want to lower the car later - Yes (coil)
    Concerned about ramps and giant speed bumps - Yes (air)
    Concerned about ride comfort - Yes (air)
    Concerned about cool tech - Yes (air)
    Concerned about potholes - Yes (air)
    Want to make the car as close to the original design as possible - Yes (air)
    Want delivery ASAP - Yes (air)
     
  17. Puyallup Bill

    Puyallup Bill Member

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    I'm fine with air, but if it had been available, I probably would have opted for coil. Pretty simple and reliable.
     
  18. Ride Long

    Ride Long Member

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    Thank you. Nice check list. Looking at the poll results (admittedly a low sample size) we see very few people wanting to second-guess their choices. I am inferring from this either an overwhelming case of confirmation-bias or that there may be less difference in day-to-day use between the two suspension systems than we are imagining.
     
  19. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    I suspect that a number of folks, myself included, haven't driven the other suspension. The Tesla is such an amazing car that in most cases you'll be happy with whichever suspension you choose.
     
  20. J in MN

    J in MN S60 P12635

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    Minnesota
    I've driven a wide selection of loaners with a good mix of coil and air. (Our's is coil). The feel of the coil is definitely better than the air. In addition, coil suspension cars have less (-6 dB) low frequency drumming from the hatch.
     

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