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S60/19"/standard vs P85/21"/active air

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by Colasec, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. Colasec

    Colasec Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2013
    Messages:
    163
    Location:
    SoCal
    I currently have a P85 (not +) loaner (P11764) from the Costa Mesa service center. The car is really dirty, particularly the interior - it's full of dirt and food crumbs and stuff. It makes me sad that previous borrowers treated a courtesy Model S like that. It has ~1600 miles with a 330 Wh/mi average. Some observations:


    - The active air suspension is definitely not for me. A lot of my driving is on stereotypical Orange County boulevards: four- or five-lane roads with speed limits of 45-60mph punctuated by stoplight after stoplight. I pass through 23 stoplights on my 14-mile commute. This pattern means that the active air suspension is constantly going up and down. Stoplight turns green, I accelerate past 40mph, it goes down. Come to another stoplight, I stop, it goes up. I can feel it moving and hear the hum of its adjustments. I feel like the front and back of the car are going up and down all the time and feel like I'm in one of those hip hop-mobiles. I'm really glad that I got the standard suspension and with the new design center that one can pair the P85 with the standard suspension. I didn't notice any difference in the feeling of how the car goes through onramp/offramp curves at speed. Are there some handling advantages of the active air suspension that I should be feeling for?


    - The 21" wheels really do result in a louder and rougher driving experience. Tire noise is much more noticeable than with my 19"s. I can feel road bumps and vibrations through the steering wheel, which I can't with my 19"s.


    - The "P" power is awesome, but you do have to be more careful when really hitting the accelerator. I had the opportunity to floor it four times and on two of those times, the rear tires scuffed/spun a little and the rear end of the car got a little wiggly. One of the times the road wasn't in the best condition and I think the tires were spinning on top of some loose gravel and the other time the tires spun on the painted lines of an intersection. The wiggly-ness of the backend was a little concerning. Even with just a day of driving, I don't feel confident that the car will stay grounded and stable if I really hit the accelerator. I'm a little worried about that. What difference would there be with a P85 outfitted with 19"s and a standard suspension?

    - I heard the high-power whine much more often with the P85 than with my 60. It seems reasonable that the whine might happen around the same Wh output for all of 60/85/P85/P85+, and since the P85 hits that Wh output so much more easily (and quickly), I'd expect to hear it much more on the same commute and under the same conditions. Of course I'm going faster and having a little more fun too. :wink: Regardless, hearing the same noise with clearly a similar relation to power output made me feel better about hearing it from my car.
     
  2. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    With great power comes...
     
  3. simplesolar

    simplesolar Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2013
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    250
    Location:
    SoCal
    I've driven a P85 with standard suspension and I thought it was better than the air. Stiffer ride, but better stability in both corners and high speed. Air suspension absorbs the bumps better, but on non + versions it is very soft. I prefer P85+ > P85 no air > P85 with air. Hope you are having with with the P85 loaner. Do you have the traction control on while you are hammering the throttle?
     
  4. greenmachine1

    greenmachine1 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2013
    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Is this "hip hop" up and down action something that a lot of people are experiencing? I thought the car would lower itself on freeway speeds (i.e. > 55mph) and stay normal at 40-55mph. This would bother me, and I would probably remove air suspension from my order. Also, does anybody have a picture of an air and non-air car side-by-side?
     
  5. Colasec

    Colasec Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2013
    Messages:
    163
    Location:
    SoCal
    Yep. Trying anything with it off isn't something I want to do with a vehicle that's not mine.

    Thanks for the feedback about the suspension.

    ------

    Two additional observations:

    - The loaner has the premium sound, unlike with my car. I agree with other posters that I'd pay $950 for it but not $2500.
    - This loaner isn't limited to 80 mph. :wink:
     

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