Why Is Air Suspension Better?

Why Is Air Suspension Better?

I understand that the Air Suspension automatically and manually goes up and down. I also understand that it may help reduce drag at higher speeds as well as avoid high inclines.

But is that all it does? Is there another reason it is a better suspension than the regular MS suspension?

SamO | July 26, 2013

Have you ever bottomed your car on a steep driveway? Not with air suspension.

Have you ever driven in deep snow? Much better with air suspension.

Do you like a smooth ride? Or a smoother ride?

teslamonkey | July 26, 2013

Thanks Samo, but I have owned a number of high end sport sedans and really have never had a problem. The MS is not a Corvette. Also, living in Chicago, it isn't the height of the car above the road as much as good snow tires.

SamO | July 26, 2013

I have tons of speed bumps in my neighborhood, which is why I ordered the air suspension.

And I drive in the snow to ski at Mammoth where low ground clearance is a killer of sports cars.

I helped a tow operator work one evening waiting for my BMW to get a tow (right rear chain wrapped on axel) and he mentioned that Porsche and other sports vehicles that are low to the ground "float" on deep snow when it gets wedged under the front bumper.

cfOH | July 26, 2013

Yep, I have an AWD sports car. Even with great snow tires on it, when the snow gets deeper than 6", I'm hosed in it because either it starts snow-plowing with the front air dam (not good) or the snow starts getting jammed into the undercarriage. Being able to raise the car up another 2" would be really helpful sometimes. Air suspension FTW.

Also, speed bumps and weird driveways (like mine) require a bit more road clearance than you'd ever want at highway speeds (unless you like driving a sedan that feels like an SUV).

wcalvin | July 26, 2013

Remember that it automatically lowers from Very High when speed exceeds about 20 mph (in my experience).

Tâm | July 26, 2013

Looks like everybody covers pretty much everything.

Don’t forget that:

--Uneven weights: Too light on the left and too much heavy sagging weight on the right? It evens the weights out in your car and level out the car.

--Noisy bumps and pot holes: It is noticeably much quieter.

Standard Suspension is great. Active Air Suspension is greater.

Some people do not see any difference so there’s no need to pay for more.

(That's the same with standard sound and Premium sound package: Some people cannot hear the difference and don't even feel the vibration, rumbling bass from subwoofer, then there's no need to pay extra for the subwoofer).

However, once I experienced the slight difference, I can no longer go back to standard suspension. “Great” is now torturing to me!

ddruz | July 27, 2013

I have the air suspension. But interestingly I would not get it again since I don't have steep driveways or snow, etc. and having driven the standard suspension notice only marginal difference.

In fact, I already have anxiety about the air suspension limiting the effective practical life of my car. When an air suspension fails it can be extremely costly to fix. And it is "when" not "if."

Once the car is over 8 years old the cost of repairing the air suspension may be a significant percentage of the residual price of the car. Standard suspension will not have this problem.

If you hope to keep your car for a long time, air suspension may not be the most sensible choice.

john.m.hennessey | July 27, 2013

It may have only been my perception, but I feel that the active air suspension significantly helps improve the comfort of the low profile tires on the 21" wheels over bumps compared to what I expected. Sadly I wore through the 21s with 15K miles and are now driving on 19". A lot more rubber so the ride is more comfortable, but handling is definitely less. I wish I didn't put on so many miles.

I have not driven the regular suspension, but would like to compare.

On a possibly related note (although I don't proclaim to have any real understanding), I feel a fair amount of highway speed issues. I've had it serviced and they definitely improved it, but sometimes it can feel like the active air suspension could be over compensating for bumps on the highway and causing the car to sway a little. The alignment doesn't seem to be an issue when I just let go of the steering and there are no bumps. Although I've tried all the different steering settings, it also feels like a little over steering too. In addition the rear end suspension could be a lot tighter in my opinion. I really wish I wasn't # 646 off the line and had the option of adding the Plus for a fraction of the price it would cost me now.

AmpedRealtor | July 27, 2013

Don't know what the above thread/link has to do with air suspension - that has to do with bolts on a bumper. The fact that the Performance version comes with air suspension included (can't remove it) tells me that it's essential for performance. I will welcome the smoother ride.

Brian H | July 27, 2013

The nuts I meant to ref were on the axle. Some aren't torqued down, and permit squirrelling.