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Model S ride quality vs Model 3

Former Tesla owner here, I had a Dec 2020MY M3P, but sold it on as the ride quality was poor (overly harsh, which combined with the road noise etc made it a chore to drive with the family long distance). Before the pile on, I'm sure you may enjoy your M3 ride but it wasn't for me. In the end I moved it on, but I'm still a fan of electric cars and Tesla still has a great moat in the supercharger network (even if its being opened to other cars in small chuncks).

Which brings me to the Model S - with "smart" air suspension, has anyone done a back to back comparison of how they ride? I kind of wished I skipped getting a new M3 and went with a second hand S.
 
and more wind noise.
I’ve driven both and hated the S: floaty. But I agree M3P ride is particularly bad with high frequency pitch on motorways

Yes it was a real shame, it made the family ill - which kinda destroyed it as a practical treat car for me. My Current car has larger wheels but has much better ride quality...not exactly great on petrol though :D

I'm keeping an eye on Tesla info, I think prices are still a tad over inflated on the CPO front (I wouldnt want to get a Tesla without some form of initial warranty) at the moment but will see where things go over the next couple of months.
 
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WannabeOwner

Well-Known Member
Nov 2, 2015
7,231
3,994
Suffolk, UK
I have 2019 MS (Raven / Air) [replaced a 2015 MS] and MY (which replaced a 3 year old M3)

We have always taken MS on long journeys - much more comfortable for long journeys and we arrive far more refreshed then we did with previous "small / hatchbacks" for same journeys, and the harsher ride of MY is noticeable to us on longer journeys (retirement age may be a factor!)

Small stature passengers in the rear of MS say that the size of front seats restricting their view out of the front make the ride less pleasant.

Chucking the M3 around a bend definitely far more satisfying the the barge-effect of the MS, and the MS is a big car (spiral multi-storey car parks etc.), but for us its a lot better as a long distance cruiser. Acres of space for "stuff" too; M3 is generous, but the boot vs. hatchback makes loading of awkward-sized cargo a snag.
 
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Casss

Member
Aug 6, 2021
644
660
UK
Having had a late 2017 MS and now a 22 MY, can confirm that back-to-back, the MS is very comfortable, even with just the 'dumb' memory air suspension (no ride adjustment).

It's much more of a comfy barge that happens to be absolutely rapid in a straight line, and therefore less noise from bumps/road texture. The downsides are that they roll a lot more, they're much more complex and can cause a big headache if they go wrong and the wind noise is worse than the newer models IMO. So just a matter of what's more important to you.

Current MY is the sweet spot for me and family as of right now, but I've come from some performance cars with very stiff setups and lots of people say the MY is too firm for them.
 

Casss

Member
Aug 6, 2021
644
660
UK
Is there a go to year for Model S? At the moment the CPO options available seem to be expensive and have higher mileage. I assume 2017 and up are ok?
Well what do you care about? I would say anything 6 months after the refresh started, but that’s me. Some people are perfectly happy with the later pre-refresh cars.

Does MCU2 matter to you? How much buffer do you want on the drivetrain and battery warranty?

There are common refresh MS issues which I’d check have been done or are OK I.e the DRL headlights, but I don’t think that is limited to a specific production year. There are lots of stickies about this stuff over on the MS sub forum too.
 

mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
8,402
7,941
MA, NH
Huge difference between 2018 vs 2019. Raven started in early 2019. Better ride and big jump in range with Raven.

I always find it ironic people concerned about ride quality and yet they purchase the worst configurations. M3P (with 20”) will ride harsher than M3 LR. Also 20” is more road noise.

Also people generally don’t get sick from a harsh ride. They get sick from poor EV driving habits. You can make any passenger ill in any Tesla with any config.

You could balance a wine glass on your head when I drive. ;)

I got rid of my M3 (stealth P) for a harsh ride (nobody ever got sick, including my sensitive dogs). It wasn’t terrible but I wanted better. I went to a Model X (20” summer, 19” winter). It is much more floaty but still handles better than any other SUV. Quietness was acceptable. Now moved Model S Refresh (19” inch) is slightly firmer. Handles better. A smidge more quiet than the X. Good compromise (handling, noise, range, efficiency, harshness).
 
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pgkevet

Active Member
Jul 1, 2019
2,024
1,874
mid wales
The S is oohh.. a whole foot longer and almost 6 inches wider than the 3 and still folk say it's huge in comparison. In reality that means 3 inches each side. So apart from a better driver display and air suspension there ought not be too much difference in cost to make if both had a 75/80 KWH pack. The rest is just marketing. Of course it will feel different when cornering with the suspension difference but that only comes into play if one is being a plonker and going around sharp corners at speed. And since you can't see round sharp corners you shouldn't be going round them fast anyway....
 
The S is oohh.. a whole foot longer and almost 6 inches wider than the 3 and still folk say it's huge in comparison. In reality that means 3 inches each side. So apart from a better driver display and air suspension there ought not be too much difference in cost to make if both had a 75/80 KWH pack. The rest is just marketing. Of course it will feel different when cornering with the suspension difference but that only comes into play if one is being a plonker and going around sharp corners at speed. And since you can't see round sharp corners you shouldn't be going round them fast anyway....
The air suspension is quite a big difference maker on ride quality on UK's uneven roads, even in a straight line.
 

GeorgeSymonds

Active Member
Moderator
Mar 16, 2018
2,714
3,164
UK
I had 2 model s before the model 3, both pre Raven. The ride was better but at the expense of nimbleness, The Model S feels just like a more solid car overall. I doubt it’s easy to get it all in a car. I’ve driven to Italy in a Model S, not sure I’d want to in either a Model 3 or Y.

What I would say about the shift to the Model 3 (and now Model Y) is how much faster everything about rapid charging is. The Model S (and admittedly mine were 90’s) took realistically twice as long to add a similar range to the Model 3/Y, both because charge rates are lower, especially on V3 chargers, and you get more miles per kWh added. If that’s not a concern then great but might be a shock if going from a 3 to a S.
 

pgkevet

Active Member
Jul 1, 2019
2,024
1,874
mid wales
I had 2 model s before the model 3, both pre Raven. The ride was better but at the expense of nimbleness, The Model S feels just like a more solid car overall. I doubt it’s easy to get it all in a car. I’ve driven to Italy in a Model S, not sure I’d want to in either a Model 3 or Y.

What I would say about the shift to the Model 3 (and now Model Y) is how much faster everything about rapid charging is. The Model S (and admittedly mine were 90’s) took realistically twice as long to add a similar range to the Model 3/Y, both because charge rates are lower, especially on V3 chargers, and you get more miles per kWh added. If that’s not a concern then great but might be a shock if going from a 3 to a S.
If Tesla took a model 3 - made it a foot longer, 6 inches wider and added a driver display, air suspension and an extra 5KWH to the 3's battery pack and £10K on the price?
 

GeorgeSymonds

Active Member
Moderator
Mar 16, 2018
2,714
3,164
UK
If Tesla took a model 3 - made it a foot longer, 6 inches wider and added a driver display, air suspension and an extra 5KWH to the 3's battery pack and £10K on the price?
It’s more than that. Alcantara headlining, leather lined doors and steering wheel, more sound deadening. The MS and the M3 has as much in common as a A class and S class Merc, there’s a family DNA but in lots of areas there’s a gulf in them, and depending which you prefer, both have plus points
 

Casss

Member
Aug 6, 2021
644
660
UK
It’s more than that. Alcantara headlining, leather lined doors and steering wheel, more sound deadening. The MS and the M3 has as much in common as a A class and S class Merc, there’s a family DNA but in lots of areas there’s a gulf in them, and depending which you prefer, both have plus points
That hits close to home given the merc switchgear in the MS 😂
 

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