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Need feedback on which suspension (coil/air) coming from BMW and AMG cars.

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by rainman50, Mar 16, 2014.

  1. rainman50

    rainman50 Member

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    I'm ready to order a P85. I don't live too close to a Tesla Center to drive a few different cars.

    I did test drive a S85 with air suspension for about 20 minutes. I did the test drive as a quick decision since I was close to a Tesla Center when I was on vacation. At that time I was not familiar with the different suspensions that Tesla offered.

    I currently have a 2000 BMW 540iA sport and a 2003 SLK 32 AMG, so I'm used to a little sporty ride. Although an M5 would probably have a more aggressive suspension.

    I don't know if I'm going to have any time soon to drive a P85 coil suspension to see if it would be acceptable in ride quality.

    I'd assume the coil Model S (19 inch wheels) would be fine, since both my cars are coil, but I did like the air suspension when I drove it. People on the forums here gave the plusses and minuses of each suspension but since I'm coming from these 2 cars I was hoping that someone might have had one of these or similar and be able to comment on the differences.

    I'm not a high speed person but like a nice jaunt off the line, mainly straight, not too much in the corners. I have heard that the air might have an odd off the start feel from the rear of the car.. I don't know if that is due to the mechanical suspension or what. I also heard that Tesla recently is using some of the parts from the P85+ in the P85 which might help with this rear end feel.

    I don't really need to have an adjustable suspension but the pics that I saw i like the little lower stance of the air suspension.

    Any feedback is appreciated.
     
  2. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    Haven't tried the cars you're referring to.

    I've found the air suspension very useful on poorly plowed driveways and parking spaces with giant lumps of snow -- I raise it. Remember that the Tesla rides very low to the ground by default. The standard coil suspension level is a bit higher than the standard air suspension level, but not much. For low speed driving, the air suspension can be put into "very high" which is a lot higher. In Michigan winters the adjustable suspension option is *useful*.
     
  3. jerry33

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

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    Based on what I've read on TMC, the people with low VIN numbers that had the off-the-line problem had some loose or misaligned suspension. My understanding is on the later cars there were some improvements made which took care of it.

    The main reasons to go with air are: height adjustment and better ride.

    The main reasons to go with coil are: better road feel--especially when you take it to the track--and lower maintenance.
     
  4. purplewalt

    purplewalt Active Member

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    +1
    Not that I have ridden/driven in that much snow (just a lot of ice), but on some steep terrain and high parking curbs, raising the adjustable suspension is well advised.
    The Model S is a low car with long overhangs both front and rear.
     
  5. rainman50

    rainman50 Member

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    Thanks so much for the feedback. I do recall several times with my SLK and BMW that I have scrapped a little in the front and going forward to park in a spot. I did not even think the curb was that high. It would be useful to know if the Tesla was lower (Air or coil) than any of my cars. I'll look at the specs and see if I can find the height of the Tesla and compare them. Thanks for bringing that one up.
     
  6. Merrill

    Merrill Active Member

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    I have not owned any of your cars, had a Jaguar XK8 and and earlier XJS 12 cylinder and have a Mbz ML430, before these an Jaguar XKE and an Alfa spider junior. IMHO, the Model S with air suspension is smooth without diminishing the handling capabilities of a very heavy sedan. Do not regret getting the air suspension and besides all of the above, love the look when in the low setting.
     
  7. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    WRT scraping, the air car sits lower in Standard than coil (unless they have raised Standard in the latest release - I no longer have air and thus have no way of knowing) and is more likely to scrape on parking curbs.

    About the rest, lots have written about the difference. It really just comes down to a matter of taste. I've you've driven any MB with air from the last ten years, you'll get the idea of what MS air feels like. Your 540 sport will be a better match for the MS coil.
     
  8. Hybris

    Hybris Member

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    my last car was a BMW 1M. did testdrive the P85+ and was amazed of the great comfort and still great handling of the car. I had 19" PS 2 with 265" width in the back. The p85+ did feel much more comfortable, faster acceleration and as superb handling as the 1M... Amazing and would go P85+ every time...

    yes the white car in my profile picture is the 1M... the other car is a e70 X5. Yes the P85+ is way more comfortable than the X5 also. only thing that both BMWs totally crush the Tesla with is the seats...
     
  9. HankLloydRight

    HankLloydRight Fluxing

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    I have a 2002 M5 and a P85+ with air suspension, and I find them quite similar in ride and handling
     
  10. jcaspar

    jcaspar Member

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    My coils feel tighter on the road than my mom's CLS55AMG but not nearly as tight as my Dodge Viper. If you like the mercedes I think you will like the cushier ride of the air. If am M5 (or a Viper!), get the coils or the +.
     
  11. dennis

    dennis P85D

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    I owned 2000 and 2006 M5's. When I got my Signature P85, I was disappointed with the handling - way too much understeer and floaty feeling in the rear. After test driving a P85+ twice, I had Tesla upgrade my suspension to the P85+ specs. I'm very satisfied now, and feel it handles as well as the M5's. In order of preference I would recommend: P85+ (air), P85 (coil), P85 (air).
     
  12. rainman50

    rainman50 Member

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    Thanks agin for all the feedback.
     
  13. tezco

    tezco Sig P85

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    I also own a SLK 32 AMG and find it's ride borders on being just a little too harsh for my taste. I have a Sig P85 and prefer it's ride on the air suspension to the SLK's. I do have that "floaty feel" from the rear end when accelerating strongly (for me it feels like the rear end is hunting or oscillating; on occasion it requires agressive steering input to avoid a loss of control). Supposedly the new bushings on the control arms and engine frame mount have helped those that have purchased more recently.
     
  14. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    new sub-frame and lower control arm bushings are a night and day change for sigs.
     
  15. mnx

    mnx 2013 P85

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    You gotta stop saying stuff like that. You might convince me to upgrade my LCA's. :)

    I didn't really notice a difference between my car (#4242) and a S60 loaner I had though that was ~#16000. I guess I wasn't flogging the S60 though, and both cars were wearing snow tires...
     
  16. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    Actually, Dennis is a much better one to speak with as he did the upgrade. His stuff included the P+ dampers so it would not be an exact apples to apples but the dampers are not the primary driver of the improvement in that "hunting like a squirrel for grip" feeling you get with the old LCAs (and I assume it is worse with the sub-frame bushings). There was a world of difference between my first P85 and my wife's coil S85 which I attribute entirely to the LCA bushings (same sub-frame bushings).
     
  17. rainman50

    rainman50 Member

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    So, since I did not order yet, would I be better off getting the P85+ or getting a P85 (coil or air) and changing specific suspension components like some have done? I don't like the floaty feel that much, also more so when accelerating in a turn losing a little traction.
    Does the P85+ have a floatly feeling since it has the air suspension?
    I'd like to have the option of maybe going to 19's if the 21's were too much for me (firmness, noise etc). In the P85+ I could not go to 19's according to Tesla.
     
  18. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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  19. rainman50

    rainman50 Member

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    I read the post,.thanks for the info. Very interesting.


    One more question. What would be the main cause of accelerating in a turn and you seem to lose some traction? Would it be the tires, coil suspension, air suspension or the mechanical suspension components (probably a combination of all)? I thought the tires but I know that other things can effect how much a tire slips under certain conditions due to how the tire sits on the ground.
    I'm not into sports cars as such just like nice stable ride. I can take a little bumpy ride but I do like low noise in general Maybe I'd be fine with the coil suspension with 19's but I would not mind the air suspension if it worked OK with accelerating in turns and not have much loss of traction even if it used the 21's.

    It seems like the coil suspension with 19's would be the car that would have the most flexibility to change.
     
  20. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    It's probably not the answer you want, but all of those things contribute. Certainly tires are usually the single biggest bang-for-the-buck upgrade you can make to practically any car, so that's the place to start. Unfortunately, the 19"s are saddled with what I would say are only OK all-seasons. They're a great trade-off between rolling resistance and performance, but if you want more grip, you'll need a true summer tire.

    Ultimately, the only one that can really decide is you. There's no obvious answer, and each of the choices have their downsides. If it helps, I prioritized a stable, predictable, communicative ride above all else (flexibility in ride height, ride comfort, etc.) and ended up with the configuration in my signature.
     

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