Cars with air suspension

Looking for supreme comfort in your next car regardless of how bad the road is? Check out the best cars with air suspension

BuyaCar team
Aug 2, 2021

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

Cars with air suspension

1. Mercedes C-Class

Mercedes C-Class Saloon front three quarters view

Used Mercedes C-Class AirMatic deals Limited stock

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 around town and at slow speeds.

MERCEDES C-CLASS BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Audi A6 Allroad

Used deals from £26,000
Monthly finance from £460*

This Audi A6 Allroad 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 (which improves driving enjoyment and 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.

AUDI A6 ALLROAD BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Volvo XC60

Used deals from £33,495
Monthly finance from £526*

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 it 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.

VOLVO XC60 BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Range Rover

Used deals from £42,950
Monthly finance from £642*

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 by 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.

RANGE ROVER BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Audi Q7

Used deals from £35,099
Monthly finance from £451*

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-tonne 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 £35,099, making the seven-seat smooth-riding Audi a more affordable proposition.

AUDI Q7 BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Rolls-Royce Phantom

Used deals Limited stock

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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