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Smart Air Suspension: Worth it?

Discussion in 'Model S: Ordering, Production, Delivery' started by Patrick W, Mar 24, 2015.

  1. Patrick W

    Patrick W Member

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    I keep going back and forth on the Smart Air Suspension (SAS) option. I placed an order for an 85 (not P85D) last Wednesday which means sometime today (Wed 25th) I'll be hearing from someone to confirm my order. Right now SAS is not included in the order. But I don't want to look back later and wish I'd added it. But I also don't want to pay $2+k for something I'll later figure I should not have. FYI I have included the Tech Package.

    Also, is SAS what raises and lowers the car several cm as shown at 2:17 in this video? Tesla Model S Customer Stories - Winter Driving in Norway - YouTube I can see where that would be handy.

    Any thoughts? Is SAS really worth it?

    Many thanks!
     
  2. Panu

    Panu Member

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    Yes, it remembers where you raised it and will raise it automatically next time. If you drive on roads where you need more ground clearance then it is useful. Also you can go to "very low" mode to look cool and maybe extend range because of better aerodynamics.
     
  3. fadkar

    fadkar Member

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    It isn't worth it in my opinion. The Model S isn't that low when it has coils so going over bumps and steep driveways won't be hard as long as you go over slow.
     
  4. purplewalt

    purplewalt Active Member

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    Congratulations on the order of your car.

    In my world, yes.
    The SAS is worthwhile, perhaps even necessary.
    (The Tech Package is great to have, brings the car into the next century.)

    I have a steep parking garage at work, and the car is pre-set (and remembers) to raise the suspension when I am within a half-block of my office.
    When I get a loaner, I sometimes do forget, and I hear a scrape as I transition at one of the levels.
    Last Winter, we had terrible Cobblestone Ice on major parts of bridges and roads. Raising the suspension made driving on that rutted ice bearable.

    The Model S is a low and long car, and the under-chin spoiler is susceptible to damage when parking @ high curbs and concrete wheel stops.
    The rear fins at the bottom of the car can also be dinged and damaged when backing into parking spaces, especially with too high concrete wheel stops.
    Best money to spend which avoids most occurrences of car nose or belly dragging.
    I have a friend who has a very steep driveway, and even when the car is fully raised, it still scrapes @ the nose.

    And a couple of positive added benefits of SAS:

    ** As car gets up to highway speed (which you pre-set on your screen), it actually lowers itself to the lowest height setting.
    This makes the car more aerodynamic, and it then improves the mileage/range.

    ** The car handles most deviations in road surfaces much better and makes ride a bit smoother.
     
  5. Patrick W

    Patrick W Member

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    Well, so far it's 2 to 1 in favor. :)

    Just how high does it go when going from the lowest setting to the highest? In the video I referenced it looks like quite a bit.

    I guess I'm probably not going to know what I'm going to do until Tesla does whatever it's going to do today to confirm the order (just occurred to me I don't know if they're going to do that via phone or email).
     
  6. purplewalt

    purplewalt Active Member

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    There are four height settings.

    Highest is +2"
    High is +1"
    Standard is Zero
    Low is -1"
     
  7. Cyclone

    Cyclone Active Member

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    And remember that coil is higher than air. Sadly, I do not know how much to compare to this list.
     
  8. dirkhh

    dirkhh Middle-aged Member

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    The biggest difference is how the car drives. And that is entirely a personal preference. Some people love the feel of 21" wheels on air, others prefer 19" wheels and coils.
    Even when trying to describe the difference, you will immediately run into your preferences coloring the words that you use.
    I test drove every single combination. And bought for the second time a car with 19" wheels and coils.
    Smart air is wonderful if you have a place where you need to raise the car as high as possible. Highest gives definitely quite a bit more ground clearance. Some oddly shaped driveways might pretty much force you to have air suspension. But at least to me (and again, this is entirely subjective) the air suspension feels like I'm "floating" a bit. It's hard to describe. The other issue with it is crossing the large speed bumps that are very common where I live (so not the steep, sharp ones common in parking lots but the larger, "softer" ones you see on neighborhood streets, usually to force you to drive <25mph). Air suspension feels really strange crossing those.
     
  9. jerry33

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

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    Mostly it's: if you want sporty handling with lots of road feel, get coils. If you want a smoother ride or extra clearance for obstacles or snow, get air. It's also easier to rotate tires with a non-low-profile jack if you have air.

    There are several of those traffic pads on my street, but I've never noticed any strange feeling crossing over them compared to other non-air cars.
     
  10. MrBravo

    MrBravo Member

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    I did not have the possibility to test the different configurations. The only reason why I took the air suspension is that I will have a need to rise the car in some places. Otherwise I would have gone for coils.
     
  11. Aussie Bob

    Aussie Bob Member

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    We bought SAS and in our environment with lots of snow it really helps. When we changed to winter tires I drove car up ramp at garage over open pit and used higher suspension rating which made it much easier to do. Highway driving at lower setting will increase range!
     
  12. benjiejr

    benjiejr Technogeekextraordinaire

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    #12 benjiejr, Mar 25, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015
    Congrats!

    OP, I think everyone else has covered the reasons for or against it, I just wanted to put in another vote "for" it. I use it daily - even more than I would have expected.

    I know you mentioned one of the videos you saw. In case you haven't seen one like this, this is one of mine that shows how the car raises - it rocks raising the front and back alternately (this should start from 3m6s where this is shown):

    [video]https://youtu.be/pqDp0A8zwwA?t=3m6s[/video]
     
  13. Chipper

    Chipper Active Member

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    I would definitely buy SAS again. It has been very well worth it.
     
  14. Newscutter

    Newscutter Member

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    I've had my car for over a year-- with coils. In for annual service and I've had nearly identical config-- but with air (and autopilot) for the last week.

    No major difference in quality of ride or handling, IMO. I've forgotten it even has air-- and didn't notice it right away when I got it. Roads here are curvy and rough and I don't see much of a difference.

    Save the money now (cheaper to get coils) and save the money later (cheaper long term maintenance). As for the "stance", I'll agree the nose sits slightly higher at rest but the rear is the same. Low setting on the highway has no major impact on range (speed alterations would be more effective) but it does cheerfully eat your inner edges of the tires as the lower setting does not adjust the camber as it lowers.... but you can find lots of reports re: premature tire wear (and they're almost all on air suspension).

    Just my 2 cents-- coils and no regrets.

    Tesla Pittsburgh (@TeslaPittsburgh) | Twitter
     
  15. SabrToothSqrl

    SabrToothSqrl Active Member

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    Mine has it - at work I park in an under ground garage. without it on max high it would scrape.

    if not for that, I wouldn't have it... no where else have I hit.
     
  16. NorCalSJ

    NorCalSJ Member

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    Congrats on your order. Regarding air, I test drove with and without on a bumpy section of freeway and found air provides a better, smoother ride. There are other advantages also as listed above. My opinion is air is worth it.
     
  17. Barry

    Barry Member

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    I got air suspension (and AWD) because I drive in snow. I wanted the ability to raise the car. If I lived in SoCal, I probably would not have gone for it.
     
  18. Brit4864

    Brit4864 Member

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    I've had both. The first Model S had coils which had a firmer ride but slightly more "road feel" feedback through the steering column. After about 10k miles, the ride seemed smoother maybe because the coils "softened" a bit? The big difference with SAS is in the corner handling. You can power round at speed through the curves and feel much less bodyroll than when compared with the coils. The trade off is slightly less "road feel" feedback. Ironically with the Next Gen seats, bodyroll is less of an issue than with the original "flat seat" design. My P85D has SAS and NG seats. If you didn't need to raise the height, you could go with a combination of NG seats and coils.
     
  19. Treker56

    Treker56 Member

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    When we ordered in 2013 it was a no brainer at $1,500 option. It has been very useful around steep driveways and also during snow. Highway speed lowering is supposed to have nominal impact on aerodynamics and range but dunno.
     
  20. bp1000

    bp1000 Member

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    I thought air suspension was a high priority on the model S.

    It is quite a heavy car and all that weight will transfer through the corners so you need a responsive suspension set up. The air suspension is a bit floaty but i think it suits the car. With sports steering i think it gives enough confidence. If it was a lightweight porsche GT3 of course you would not be looking at air if it was an option.
     

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