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Does Active Air Improve Ride Quality or just adjust the Height?

Discussion in 'Model S: Ordering, Production, Delivery' started by bareyb, Sep 5, 2013.

  1. bareyb

    bareyb Active Member

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    I just ordered my Tesla and i'm still in the two week grace period where I can add features. Has anyone compared the ride characteristics between an active air equipped Tesla and one with the standard suspension? I tested one today without the Active Air and I can't imagine how it could be much better... so I didn't order it. Now Im wondering if I should have... You know how that goes.... Any advice greatly appreciated. :cool:
     
  2. WeazL

    WeazL Moderator - Hawaii

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    I have only taken a ride in one with the air suspension, and it was extremely nice. I've talked to a few other owners on the island and those who have experienced both said get it. Even if the ride isn't much smoother per se (although they claim it is smoother), having the capability to adjust the height at times can be extremely useful. If you have even encountered driveways that meet the street at sharp angles and scuffed the nose of your car (many over here...usually shopping centers), or gone into parking garages with steep ramps and then a sharp angle at the top of each ramp and scraped the underside...or come across a steep speed bump a little too fast and heard the underside take a hit...well, all of these might be avoided with this active air suspension since you can tell the car to raise higher as needed. Per the suggestion of others and based on my experience, I've ordered the air suspension package. :)
     
  3. bareyb

    bareyb Active Member

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    Thanks for that mmartin. I'm really leaning towards getting it. Oddly, the gal who was selling me the car didn't seem to think it was necessary, but my current vehicle has Air and I really like it. I'll probably end up adding it. I still have two weeks before I have to finalize my order.
     
  4. jerry33

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

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    Well, it's not necessary in the sense that the car will run fine without it, but it's a really nice-to-have. If you like it on your current car, then get it. I have it on mine.
     
  5. ddruz

    ddruz Member

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    I have air and it is nice. I occasionally use it to raise the car for the main reasons noted. I've driven a loaner without air twice now. Same 19" wheels, same 60 kWh battery as mine so the comparison is fair. The car is great without air too.

    It may or may not be my imagination but I seem to be able to feel the road a bit better with the standard suspension and the car seems tighter over bumps and in turns which I like.

    Were I ordering again, I would definitely save the $2250 and get the standard suspension since I do not regularly deal with steep driveways, etc.
     
  6. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    The air suspension's Low mode is automatically activated at speeds of 55mph or faster. (It cannot be activated manually.) Low mode is lower than the fixed suspension and results in better aerodynamics and improved handling. I can feel my car's handling improve when it drops into Low mode on the highway.
     
  7. texex91

    texex91 Banned

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    First congrats! Which model did you order? As to air suspension, have you driven one with it? I drove both, and I preferred air hands down. Now I bought + so had to get air, but coil was a little bumpy for me. Funny thing, one person at store said without a doubt, other said most likely would get. It's peace of mind for raising and lowering as well.
     
  8. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    I found that air suspension "softened the bumps" a lot on bumpy, poorly-maintained roads. I can still feel them, but they're less jolting.

    I'm not sure it'll make much difference to ride quality on *nice* roads, but on bad roads, it was noticeable.
     
  9. DaveT

    DaveT Searcher of green pastures

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    Do you think air suspension makes the ride smoother on the freeways (vs non air suspension)?
     
  10. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    Can't tell. I live 30 miles from the nearest freeway and use it rarely. That freeway has washboard pavement, and I definitely think the air suspension helps with that. But I have no idea whether it would help with a "well maintained" freeway.
     
  11. achaar

    achaar Member

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    I second this. I have the air on my p85+ with 21s, and on the loaner P85 w/o air and with 21s, the ride was harsher. I don't know that I would call the air suspension smoother, but definitely less harsh, more refined.
     
  12. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I have not driven a Model S with a spring suspension, but IMHO, the ride with my air suspension and 19" wheels is a bit "harsher" than I'd like. It tends to kind of "bang" and almost feel like it bounces a bit over certain bumps on my commute compared to my last car where I just heard a muted "thump-thump" and the car barely shook. Nothing horrible or anything... just my comparison across a very limited sample of cars. I do like the ride height adjustment (I use going into certain underground parking lots and along an unassumed road to my friend's cabin). Air suspension was the only option (unless I wanted to wait) when I got my car.
     
  13. bareyb

    bareyb Active Member

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    #13 bareyb, Sep 5, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014
    Thank you so much for the input. It sounds like the consensus is that it makes it more smooth overall. My gut is telling me to just pony up and get it while I have the chance... I went over to Tesla's website last night and updated my order. I think I won't miss the two grand as much as I'd miss having it if I needed it. My Vette used to scrape all the time and I would have loved to have something like this. I'm going for it! Thanks. :)
     
  14. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

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    I have the air suspension and I love it. I have not driven a standard suspension so cannot compare. But it's a very nice drive. The lowering at freeway speed makes for a very stable vehicle. That alone is worth it.
     
  15. gene

    gene Active Member

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    I have driven both extensively, both with 19's. I've put about 1,000 miles on a friend's S with air. I find the air suspension a tad less harsh than the coils. But I find the the coils more "in touch" with the road in a good way. With the coils, I drive more confidently. I have 10,000 miles on my coil sprung S, I have never scraped on a driveway ever. In fact, the front of the car body is rather high compared to the sides, it will clear those concrete stops you see in parking lots easily. I'm a pro mechanic and I have seen the poor reliability and outrageous repair costs of air suspension. If you read the threads on this site about excessive tire wear due to negative camber, some of these guys go through tires in 8000 miles! The coil suspension does not have this problem. My tires with 10K are wearing perfectly even, they'll go another 10k easily. I made mine coils.

    Nice choice on the Obeche (I have matte) and tan interior. I have seen that on blue, it looks great.
     
  16. ddruz

    ddruz Member

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    Though a bit off topic I'm very curious why no parking sensors for $500 yet air for $2250?
     
  17. Bobfitz1

    Bobfitz1 Member

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    On trips at normal highway speeds of 65 - 75mph, does the air suspension Low mode actually increase range at all? Does Tesla claim that?
     
  18. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I have no way of comparing, but that was a serious consideration for me when I purchased. My driving is probably close to 75% freeway (at freeway speeds) so I was hoping the lowering air suspension (and more efficient 19" wheels) would give me an edge.
     
  19. bareyb

    bareyb Active Member

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    We have parking assist in my wife's car and we turned it off after about two weeks. The beeping drove us crazy and there's no way to turn off the Audio (this is true for the Model S too). The backup camera serves almost the same purpose so we use that instead.
     
  20. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

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    I don't know of any 19" tires that last only 8,000 miles on Model S w/ air suspension. I'm just pointing that out because your post seems to imply that there are premature tire wear issues with the 19" wheels, yet I have not heard of any such incidents - only with the larger wheels.
     

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