Cars with air suspension

Become the king of comfort by choosing a car with air suspension

Jul 31, 2018

Comfort. It might not be sexy, but it’s an extremely important characteristic to consider when choosing a new car.

While 0-62mph times are great to talk about, comfort is what you really want on a day to day basis. After all, how often are you actually in a race on your way home work, say, in comparison to being stuck on a 50mph average speed check?

Air suspension makes a luxury car waft along serenely as it soaks up bumps better than traditional suspension. This means there are fewer jolts when someone is riding in a car with air suspension, making it more comfortable.

Although air suspension is generally regarded as one of the best advancements in car technology in recent years, it only tends to be available on expensive luxury cars. This is because it costs more to make than traditional suspension components like springs, and air suspension systems are also more expensive to replace. In other words, don’t expect to find air suspension on your run-of-the-mill family car like the Ford Fiesta or Vauxhall Astra anytime soon.

 

How air suspension works

Generally speaking, air suspension works much in the same way as regular suspension, but uses airbags for each wheel instead of steel springs. While steel springs are cheaper, air suspension is more comfortable as its nigh-on endlessly adaptable. The ride height, as well as the softness of the ride, can be controlled via the driver in the inside, or by the car’s electronic brain.

Some high-end cars with air suspension even combine GPS and map data to automatically adjust the car’s suspension settings in anticipation of the next corner on your route.

Air suspension: the good

✔  Controllable
✔  Serene driving experience
✔  Adaptable

Air suspension: the bad

Expensive
Expensive to fix when it needs replacing
Steering not as precise 

Cars with air suspension

Mercedes C-Class

The Mercedes C-Class is one of the best of the compact executive cars, and is available with petrol, diesel, and hybrid power. Its swoopy lines make it look a bit more sporting than other cars in its class, and it’s got plenty of tech packaged inside, like lane keeping assist.

It can also be specified with Mercedes’ Airmatic air suspension system. This is particularly compliant at motorway speeds, suitiing the character of the C Class, as it will more than likely spend most of its time driving up and down motorways. With the air suspension installed, it helps the car glide over uneven surfaces and potholes. But it’s not particularly noticeable around town and at slow speeds.

Audi A6 Allroad

This A6 might just look a bit like a regular estate, but it’s designed to be a bit more rugged, and better on low grip surfaces. And while it’s not quite as good off-road as say,a Range Rover, it is much more agile than a typical SUV, and more economical too.

The key to its off-roading abilities is its air suspension. While it sits lower to the ground during normal driving (better dynamically and for fuel economy) it can be raised an extra 45mm on rough surfaces. This makes it less likely to scrape along ruts and ditches or kerbs.

Volvo XC60

The Volvo XC60 is Volvo’s biggest seller and bridges the gap between its innovative XC40 crossover and its massive XC90 SUV. People loves its engines, and its hybrid options, plus, Volvo’s interiors are some of the best in the business at the moment with typically Scandi design touches and minimalist layout.

Volvo’s XC60 takes a more comfort-oriented stance than many other SUVs, and its air suspension system plays a huge part in this. The air suspension allows it to smooth out bumps in the road while in its Comfort mode, and if you switch to Dynamic, it will stiffen the suspension, and lower it by 20mm to reduce its centre of gravity and improve handling. If you want to go off road, it can also be raised by 40mm.

Range Rover

The Range Rover is up there with some of the most desirable cars on British roads today. It has a rich heritage in being rugged and great off-road, with the added benefit of also being one of the most luxury cars on sale.

Top-of-the-line SVAutobiography trim cars get an air suspension system that is paramount to combining the ultimate combination of luxury and off-roading ability. On road it provides a pillow-like softness when driving, and off-road it gives the car the ability to raise and lower its ride height independently. It can also level itself - so if you fill the boot with guns and caviar it won’t sag on its wheels in an unsightly manner.

Rolls-Royce Phantom

Cars don’t come much more opulent than a Rolls-Royce Phantom. It’s big and ostentatious, but most people who own one don’t spend much time looking at it, or even driving it. It’s a car to be driven in  - and in the back it’s pretty much the most luxurious car there’s ever been.

The Phantom has supreme comfort to match its luxury too. This comfort comes courtesy of one of the most complex air suspension systems around. It even has an ‘active roll management’ system built into it which is supposed to make the car handle flatter with less roll for a more comfortable ride in the back. This is especially helpful for people in the rear who don’t want to spill their tea while going around a roundabout.

                   

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