Cars with air suspension

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

BuyaCar team
Nov 5, 2018

If your only experience of air cushioning is a saggy blow-up bed, then you might not realise the superb comfort that air suspension can offer.

Replacing the springs above a car's wheels with airbags enables vehicles to soak up the jolting and jarring from potholes, uneven road surfaces and speed bumps. This means that they can waft along a road smoothly, making it more comfortable for occupants.

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 more expensive cars - and particularly tall sport utility vehicles (SUVs). 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

Suspension systems add some flexibility between the wheels and the rest of a car so that the impact of dips and bumps in the road can be absorbed, rather than causing the car to jump up and down uncomfortably.

Most cars use steel springs to soak up this movement, but cars with air suspension replace these with airbags, The pressure of the air can be adjusted using a compressor, enabling the car's height to be changed along with the driving feel: a softer airbag can add more comfort while a firmer one can make a car sportier to drive. This adjustment may be carried out automatically, or by pressing a button inside the car.

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

Latest Mercedes C-Class AirMatic deals from £17,499
Finance from £241 per month

The Mercedes C-Class is one of the most comfortable cars of its type, no matter what suspension it's fitted with, making it ideal for families, or long-distance business drivers.

It can be fitted with Mercedes’ Airmatic air suspension system, which is particularly smooth at motorway speeds where the car seems to glide along. This can make long journeys more relaxing but its effects aren't particularly noticeable, compared with the standard suspension, around town and at slow speeds.

 

Audi A6 Allroad

Latest Audi A6 allroad deals from £21,000
Finance from £356 per month

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 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

Latest deals on Volvo XC60 models with air suspension from £29,990
Finance from £424 per month

The Volvo XC60 is Volvo’s biggest seller and bridges the gap between its smaller XC40 SUV and the enormous XC90. The car's minimalist interior, quiet engines and smooth gearbox make this a car that's supremely comfortable, and that's particularly true when fitted with the air suspension, which improves the smoothness of the ride.

The car's focus on comfort means that it's best to take it easy in corners where the car feels heavy and more cumbersome than the similarly-sized BMW X3. The air suspension's "Dynamic" mode improves this slightly by making the suspension firmer and lowering the car by 20mm, but it's no sports car.

 

Range Rover

Latest Range Rover deals from £33,000
Finance from £499 per month

Sold on its luxury, the Range Rover is available with quilted leather, hot stone massage seats, heated armrests and wood finish tables. And the largest Land Rover's status among the landed gentry is secured with its tenacious ability off-road.

This ability to pamper and travel into the unknown is made possible thanks to its air suspension. 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 shotguns and caviar it won’t sag on its wheels in an unsightly manner.

 

Audi Q7

Latest deals on Audi Q7 models with air suspension from £21,480
Finance from £349 per month

Air suspension has a transformative effect on the Audi Q7. Without it, you'll feel the vibrations as the big seven-seat SUV crashes into potholes and over speed bumps, but if the expensive option is fitted (costing around £2,000 when new), the two-ton Q7 will absorb the impacts for an unruffled ride.

As well as the current Q7 (above), an air suspension setup is also available for the previous-generation Q7, which costs from £21,480, making the a seven-seat smooth-riding Audi a more affordable proposition.

 

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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