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S70 vs S70D? Air suspension worth it?

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Inigo, Aug 17, 2015.

  1. Inigo

    Inigo Member

    Aug 16, 2015
    United States
    So after drooling over Teslas for years on end, I finally managed to talk myself and my wife into buying one. Went to a dealership today, had a ton of fun with a test drive, and have been trying to figure out the options to get.

    I'm leaning towards the 70 over the 70D because of my location. I live in Los Angeles, so I basically never need to deal with snow. I'd say 90+% of my driving will be around the city - the only scenario I could see where I'll drive in snow is if we take it up to Mammoth for skiing, which is unlikely to be more than once a year. The only other long trips will be up to Monterey (hooray for the new Seaside location!) which will require two Supercharger stops anyway, so the 10 mile range difference doesn't seem like it'll be a big deal. The California Supercharger network is pretty great.

    Is there any other compelling reason to get the AWD version over the RWD? A lot of people seem to prefer the RWD feeling anyway, and without weather concerns it seems like a good way to save $5000.

    The other major question I have is whether the air suspension is worth it. Again, I'm leaning no - I don't know a ton about this, as I've never owned a car remotely in this range before (upgrading from a Prius). The guy I talked to in the shop today said it took him a while to really learn to tell the difference, and my driveway doesn't need any sort of adjustable suspension. Plus it's another very expensive part to replace if it breaks down, on top of the $2500 it costs up front. Does this make a real noticeable positive difference in the feel of the car, or is it not really worth it?

    Options I'm planning on getting:
    * Pano roof - I was back and forth on this as I've never cared about sunroofs, but I really liked the feel of it driving around.
    * Autopilot - I know this has been a "coming soon" feature forever, but I plan on owning this car for a long time so screw it, I'll make the bet. Plus I'm a huge tech nerd.
    * Premium interior - I like the feel and I want the rear lift gate, even if the whole thing is pretty overpriced.
    * Leather seats - tried Next Gen, but I have really wide shoulders and the seat can't actually hug me correctly, so the base leather is more comfortable.

    Options I'm not planning on getting:
    * Sound system - I've never been a big sound guy and I've heard mixed reviews of this anyway.
    * Subzero - I live in LA.
    * Rear facing seats - not planning on more than two kids, no need for the extra seats.

    Can't wait to join the club! :smile:
  2. AC123

    AC123 Banned

    Aug 5, 2015
    I didn't get air suspension. Its expensive and less reliable than coils. I don't regret my decision.
  3. David_Cary

    David_Cary Active Member

    Dec 17, 2012
    Cary, NC
    AWD has its advantages outside of snow. Rain would be the first very obvious one but you don't get that ofter - although this winter you probably will.

    Pulling onto a road into traffic, you will notice a difference at full throttle. Now - maybe you don't full throttle pull onto a road? If your driving is less aggressive, then skip it.

    Air - skip it if you are building a "value" Tesla and you don't need the height adjustment.

    I must agree with most of your choices.... 70D, Pano, premium, autopilot, but I have next gen. So if it wasn't for your shoulders...

    The 70 wasn't available when I ordered. I would have considered it for the price. The 85 has its advantages but the $10k price delta is too much. When it was $8k for 25 kwh, the 60 made less sense but at $10k for 15 kwh.....
  4. jbcarioca

    jbcarioca Active Member

    Feb 3, 2015
    I find air suspension important because of living with a steep access sill for entry to my third floor garage space and dealing with undercarriage clearance over parking barriers. Otherwise the high level makes loading into flatbed much easier. Beyond those I think it is a waste if money. If those are a big part of your driving it becomes a potentially valuable feature.

    zero question. Coils last linger, could need less maintenance, coils do not often fail, coils do not use battery power at all, nobody I know can honestly tell me they can tell the difference in normal driving. Just try driving a coil and an air car back to back and see if you know which is which. By accident I did that earlier this week at a SC. I cannot tell .
  5. HJones

    HJones New Member

    Aug 17, 2015
    London, UK
    Inigo - we're in the same situation! I'm also trying to weigh up choice of going for the 70 or the 70D...

    The rep in our local Tesla store yesterday indicated that in his recent experience, the real world range of the dual motor versions of the S were getting much closer to their publicised range than the RWD versions. He was very opinionated that if he were buying, he'd go for the 70D over an 85 RWD. I was pretty fixed on going for the RWD but now I'm not so sure... Is anyone else hearing this?
  6. davidc18

    davidc18 Active Member

    Apr 25, 2015
    Ft. Lauderdale
    We skipped the leather and went with the textile seats. After 4400 miles I remain happy with this choice. Also skipped the air suspension after test driving both.
  7. tstafford

    tstafford Active Member

    Jul 4, 2015
    Nashville, TN
    OP - I think you have it pretty nailed. And I understand your comments on Auto Pilot - I too am a tech nerd and I couldn't pass on the feature even though it is partially released. Given your situation I think the options you selected are spot on.

    I also owned a Prius for a while. Coming off of that I think any configuration of Tesla is going to see luxurious and powerful. I'd save the money. Also as Davidc18 says - I've heard a number of positive comments about the textile seats.
  8. Electricfan

    Electricfan Active Member

    Aug 24, 2013
    Have you driven the 70 and the 70D? If not you should. I could hear noise from the front motor in each "D" car I drove. Having two motors means twice the possibility of mechanical problems down the road - its a more complex vehicle.

    I took a long trip in my car recently and didn't have any issues with the range of the 85S being different from advertised, for the record. No idea what the comment of the London Tesla Rep was referring to.
  9. jimtelsa

    jimtelsa Member

    Mar 31, 2013
    Simi Valley
    I'm right there too

    the way I'm looking at it

    70 red paint textile seats carbon fiber decor and thats it.....

    lease 15000 miles per year 789 month if I take the interior light package 837 month

    I like the 789 payment

    that includes the 1000 dollar discount for the referral program and I get another 1000 from the guy who referred me after the purchase goes through

    which I will get the Tesla front center console and car cover for those days that the car is outside in So Cal heat

    just on the fence on the interior light package

    but get the referral discount

    i found one on ebay and the guy will give you his 1000 when the deal goes through

    he wants to go to the gigafactory opening

    but I had to Have Red and Carbon fiber that was my must have options just on fence regarding the light package and its additional moneys

    is the lift really that much of a must have?

    Oh and regarding auto pilot I'm a tech guy too, but i will wait till next year and then maybe add it on....when everything is available and I get my tax refund lol but from
    all the treads its not there yet thats my take anyway

    looking forward to more replies I'm almost there too
  10. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Active Member

    Apr 10, 2014
    I'd skip the 70D, the AWD is a waste. The RWD version has plenty of traction, even in the rain I've never had the tires slip. Also keep in mind that the frunk is substantially smaller in the AWD. In the RWD I use the frunk all the time, its extremely convenient. The AWD frunk is small enough that it wouldn't be nearly as useful. You can also fit a spare in the RWD's frunk, which you can't in the AWD.

    Something to keep in mind when asking questions like this is that people (myself included) will try to justify the choices they made, and will rarely be objective about it.

    I'd also think harder about the rear facing seats, even if you only have two kids, they will have friends or family that also would like a ride. Having 7 seats comes in very handy.
  11. Kratus

    Kratus Member

    Oct 13, 2012
  12. jsm

    jsm Member

    Jul 15, 2015
    Northridge, CA
    I asked the same question above (Why am I the only one who got a S70 - not a 70D). I am also in Los Angels and had the same questions - I went with the S70 and coils. Now waiting for it to arrive - that part is harder than making this choice.
  13. rxlawdude

    rxlawdude Active Member

    Jul 10, 2015
    Orange County, CA
    #13 rxlawdude, Aug 17, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2015
    As a three week 70D owner, let me give you my perspective, FWIW.

    Because of a minor paint glitch that Tesla quickly took care of, I had a P85+ for three days. As much as that has beefed up suspension and rear-wheel drive, I did feel just a bit less controlled with the rear-drive P85+ than the 70D. While this may have had to do with the extra power the P85+ had, I did have it sort of "squirm" laterally when I goosed it from a stop. Maybe the better way to describe it, it felt less "sticky" to the road than the 70D. In any case, the 70 is slightly slower and has slightly less range than the 70D. That's a $5K no brainer, IMO. However, if the extra frunk storage is important to you, the RWD 70 would be a great choice. While some suggest the front motor is another potential failure point, I'd consider that having two motors reduces stress on both of them. Who knows?

    Air suspension - meh. I think you'll find a split in opinions on this one, but the cost of future repairs on this, and the virtually undetectible difference between it on the P85+ and my coil-suspension 70D led me to believe the cost:benefit ratio isn't compelling, especially in SoCal.

    Your options (Pano, autopilot, premium interior and leather seats) sound good. Since you're getting the pano roof, you might take one more look at the UHF audio, if only because the pano roof is a prerequisite for the UHF audio. If you never plan to need/want XM satellite radio, definitely omit the UHF, but if there's even a chance down the road you will want/need satellite radio for those road trips to the tulies where LTE coverage is spotty, consider the incremental cost and make your decision as to whether staying in touch with the world during such trips is a priority.

    Yep, on subzero and rear seats (which really only will be viable for a relatively short period of your kids' growth, and which have been universally panned in warmer climes due to no ventilation/AC back there), no need for these.

    Congrats and welcome!
  14. David29

    David29 Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2015
    #14 David29, Aug 17, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2015
    As for me, I ordered a 70D, felt the AWD would be advantageous in New England (love it on my current Benz with 4 Matic). Added range is a tiny side benefit.
    The D also has higher rated HP and torque, but specs for acceleration are the same as for RWD version. So that seems to be a non-factor.

    As for suspension, I took a long test drive in a 70D with coils, including over roads I am familiar with with lots of potholes and rough patches. Ride is definitely firmer and slightly less forgiving on bumps than my E320, but I decided it would be acceptable. I had driven MS cars with air suspension 3 times before that, but unfortunately not on same bumpy roads. Rented a Model S in CA and did not think the air was that great on the one uneven surface I found (Bay area has so few potholes or rough surfaces compared to here!), but that was not a thorough test because I had no coil car to compare it to on the same road. Also, from what I have read, air is more valuable for the less-forgiving 21" wheels, which you do not mention.

    The air suspension height adjustment might help once in a while (and in fact I did use it on a pot-holed dirt side road along a beach in CA on my rental), but it is less than inch more clearance. So I am skeptical that the extra 0.75 inch would make much difference often enough to warrant the cost and possible future maintenance issues. So I went with coils.

    As with any of these choices, you will find differing views and ultimately must decide yourself what is worth it for you to spend your money on....
  15. ahurst

    ahurst Member

    Aug 24, 2013
    Hot Springs, Arkansas
    FWIW, I can't find a single 70S in Denver to test drive. I may be waiting awhile.
  16. mspohr

    mspohr Well-Known Member

    Jul 27, 2014
    Since you're looking at a 70, it seems you are interested in a "value" car so I don't think you "need" the AWD or air suspension. I bought both of these on my 85D primarily because I live in the mountains with lots of snow. Since you're in LA and plan only occasional trips to Mammoth, you don't need AWD for the last 10 miles to Mammoth. It does give better handling than the RWD but the Tesla RWD is so much better than any ICE car, you'll be happy with it.
    I definitely would get the Autopilot since that will "future-proof" the car for automation.
    If you're looking to lower the cost, I wouldn't spend the money on the premium interior or leather seats. I did get the leather seats but most people with the fabric seats are very happy with them. You could also skip the pano roof. It's very nice but not sure about the "value".
    I agree with your decision on the sound system. Most of us with older ears can't hear anything very well these days anyway. Also, the subzero package won't be much use in LA.
    All the best.
  17. gizmoboy

    gizmoboy Member

    Jul 2, 2015
    Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
    The roads in LA get nasty when it rains (due to rubber and oil remnants on the normally-dry roads). AWD would be very helpful then.

    I am passing on SAS due to the future repair cost factor.

    FWIW, I'm pretty much in the same boat as you, but getting 70D and also sub-zero (it can get cold in DFW winters, and my wife likes a warm steering wheel).
  18. Vgsllc1

    Vgsllc1 Member

    Jul 10, 2015
    Houston Texas
    the thing about air suspension is that it is expensive and may not be a necessity; however once you have it it is hard to down grade.
    It is the same premise as buying plain old ICE after owning a Tesla.
  19. Inigo

    Inigo Member

    Aug 16, 2015
    United States
    This is the only bit that's really worrying to me, though neither of the guys I talked to yesterday said anything like that and I haven't seen anything elsewhere (and Electricfan seems to be doing fine on range estimate with an 85). Also, I don't see any trips where I'll reasonably be pushing the boundaries of the range anyway so it's probably not a worry.

    I think I'll test-drive a RWD Tesla and if I like it just go with that. Extra frunk space is nice and from this thread and the others that were linked it doesn't seem like AWD is really a huge deal. From everything I've read the RWD will probably still drive better in the rain than my current car, and I grew up in MA so I'm a lot more worried about other people driving badly in the rain than myself.

    As for the suspension, definitely sounds like it's not necessary where I am and isn't going to make an enormous difference otherwise, so I'll go without.

    Thanks for all the advice, please feel free to keep adding more!
  20. alin3

    alin3 Member

    Apr 27, 2015
    Chicago, IL
    If I lived in LA, I would definitely think hard about getting the RWD. I only waited for the AWD because of the horrendous winters in Chicago and the my need to get to the hospital no matter what the weather.

    I also had an air suspension with several vehicles in the past with the latest being a Porsche Cayenne Turbo. It's definitely something cool, but absolutely not necessary from my POV. The standard coil suspension on my 70D is fantastic and the car drives much less "boat-like" than something as big and heavy as the Tesla should be like.

    I'd go RWD and no air. Unless you really need the increased range and then 70D and no air!

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