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Smart Air - worth the $2,500 upgrade from coils?

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by chriSharek, May 14, 2015.

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Smart Air Suspension - worth the $2,500 upgrade?

  1. Yes; I love my SAS!

    50 vote(s)
    60.2%
  2. No; the coils are simpler and provide driver connectivity to the road

    33 vote(s)
    39.8%
  1. chriSharek

    chriSharek Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2015
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    875
    Location:
    Sarasota, FL
    I'm ready to give up the smart air suspension in order to upgrade to the 85D with coils. Will I regret that? I drove two cars back to back the other day and I felt the SAS was a little floaty for my liking.

    Ironically I drove an P85D with the smart air suspension. I tried a couple of insane launches and he accused me of not pushing the pedal down! The Valet mode was on and the service rep didn't have the password. :( My son was in the backseat and was disappointed he didn't get to experience the "launch".

    The 70D I drove with the coils was fun. Plenty fast, coils were fine. I felt really connected to the road. It was just starting to drizzle outside so I didn't get crazy, but I can't imagine what the 85D will be like.
     
  2. A.G.

    A.G. Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2014
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    37
    Location:
    Chicago
    We got the smart air suspension, and I am not sure it is worth it. While its fun to play around with when looking at the car, it adds very little function to the car. Unless you absolutely need it for height clearance, I would skip it and get the upgraded seats instead. Even for height clearance, the standard on the SAS is lower than the coils, so you have to raise it manually the first time while the coils may have been able to clear it.
     
  3. CatB

    CatB Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2013
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    663
    Even if you don't need height clearance at home, it's nice to have in certain parking lots - especially fields when tailgating.
     
  4. DavidB

    DavidB Aug 2013 S85

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2013
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    279
    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    Exactly! I would scrape my Tesla's undercarriage on several store parking lots if it were not for the smart air package. And then there are the badly rutted roads I've traversed!

    Smart Air Suspension: Don't leave the order page without it!
     
  5. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    This issue has been discussed before -- endlessly -- in multiple threads. Do a search and set aside a few hours for reading hundreds of posts.

    Summary: some like the air suspension, some don't think it's worth it. The Model S is an awesome car with or without.
     
  6. DougH

    DougH Active Member

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    It is nice to have and helps with resale, but living in flat FL you will most likely not use it much.
     
  7. MartinAustin

    MartinAustin Active Member

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    Austin, Texas USA
    What he said. As for me... it's the only option I wouldn't do without :)
     
  8. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2011
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    15,487
    Haha @ service rep.

    Bummer for you. :(
     
  9. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2011
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    4,283
    Location:
    Sarasota, Florida
    Hi Chris,

    It came in handy at last year's National Drive Electric day at Mote Marine that you co-chaired. If you will remember the incoming road was flooded by a thunderstorm the night before. Being able to lift the car to Very High kept things dry and safe.

    When David did those test drives it was even more helpful since the car remembered the GPS position of the giant puddle and automatically and repeatedly lifted itself for each of the many test drives.

    Larry
     
  10. Foodnut

    Foodnut Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2015
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    48
    Location:
    California
    I find the SAS pretty useful mainly for Parking Lot. I raise it once to to high, and next time I drive to that location (GPS aware), it automatically raises up.
    It's pretty cool to see that when I get to the parking garage at work, it's automatically raise the suspension so I don't have to worry about scraping the the bottom of the car.

    In terms of ride/handling, I test drove ones without SAS, and didn't notice much difference. And the lower of suspension at highway speeds, realistically makes negligible difference in terms of range.
     
  11. chriSharek

    chriSharek Member

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    875
    Location:
    Sarasota, FL
    I remember that Larry. But, I think I'm ready to forego it so we can upgrade the battery to the 85D.
     
  12. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    Brea, Orange County
    I have the coils and while they are just fine and don't provide a better or worse driving experience compared to the air suspension, I would recommend going with the air suspension. I lost count of how many times I bottomed my car out on speed bumps or drive ways or uneven parking lot entries. If I would order my car today I would add that option for sure.
     
  13. No2DinosaurFuel

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    Apr 16, 2015
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    Location:
    San Diego, California
    What about road noise. Some people here claims it reduces road noise at higher speed? If it's a slight road noise reduction, I would prefer to save my money. But if it's significantly reduces the road noise, then I would be more include to include it.

    Initially I was going for the coil, but then read somewhere the air reduces road noise. I have not confirmed this and am wondering if anyone else knows anything about it.

    I am after the smoothest, quietest ride.
     
  14. mwulff

    mwulff Member

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    I would skip the air suspension because it is just another expensive component that will eventually break. Coils and dampers are cheap and easy to fix and replace. Air suspension is extremely expensive and this includes the Bilsteins on the Model S.

    It comes down to: old reliable vs. new expensive but somewhat more practical.
     
  15. mitch672

    mitch672 Active Member

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    I have it, because in December of 2012 when I finalized, that's all you could get. I like it though.
    of course without it, you won't be able to get to "20,000 leagues" :smile:

    image.jpg
     
  16. 100thMonkey

    100thMonkey Member

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    I started with a p85, upgraded to a p85+ (long story) and now have a 85D on order, all three with SAS. we took test drives of D's with coils as well as SAS, given all the discussions on the forum. I went into it feeling rather ambivalent, thinking of saving the extra clams. the scales tipped when I took the coil springs into a curve and accelerated and for the first time in any S I've driven I felt body roll. call me spoiled but one of the things I've been awed by with the S (with SAS) from day one is how it defies gravity with it's fantastic cornering. all that said though, if we were hearing reports of potentially costly repairs with the SAS I'd have gone with the coils based on that alone (I plan on owning the our next S for the duration due to the upgrades in the seats, heated steering wheel and AWD and long term cost of ownership beyond the warranty has been a consideration). since we are not hearing of problems with the SAS even with the high mileage cars out there, I'm feeling pretty confident that they will not need service for a long time to come. perhaps the way Tesla decompresses them now every time the car is parked is designed to extend their life.
     
  17. mwulff

    mwulff Member

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    There aren't really any old Teslas out there yet, not even the high mileage ones. I am thinking 10 years old and you will wear out the compressor, the seals and probably the reservoir. But I could be wrong and unfortunately only time can tell :)
     
  18. No2DinosaurFuel

    Joined:
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    San Diego, California
    Any comments on road noise? Some people are syaing it really works. Others are saying it is the tires. Any good data point?
     
  19. ahurst

    ahurst Member

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    Aug 24, 2013
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    Denver
    My wife's X5 has air bladders. Pain to maintain and expensive to fix.
    But the problems didn't start until after 50,000 miles.
     
  20. Thud

    Thud Member

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    Jun 25, 2014
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    Location:
    Atlanta
    I don't think it makes a difference. I had a P85+ loaner with SAS and 21" wheels, and it was considerably more noisy inside than my S85 with 19" primacy and coils. The tires make the difference more than anything else. It was a late 2014 loaner too (with Autopilot h/w) so I assume the noise insulation was on par with what I have in my car.

    The coils feel great, and I'm already used to driving cars with low ground clearance (hint: take steep curbs at an angle) so it's never been an issue.
     

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