Adaptive air suspension is an electronically controlled air suspension system at all four wheels with a continuously adaptive damping system. It unites sporty handling with a high level of ride comfort. In addition, the air suspension allows for speed-dependent lowering of the body – a change in ride height that results in a low center of gravity and significantly increased directional stability. The vehicle’s aerodynamics are improved at the same time.
The vehicle has air suspension struts on all four wheels. The data from sensors on the axles and acceleration sensors on the body is evaluated in the adaptive air suspension's central control unit. This computer controls the adjustment of the individual shock absorbers in milliseconds, depending on driving situation. Provided no higher damping forces are required – for instance, when driving straight ahead on good roads – the damper settings remain comfortably soft.
Controlled changes to the damping force at individual wheels help to eliminate body movements at any time which could reduce occupant comfort. The adaptive damping system automatically reduces rolling or pitching movements when cornering, braking or driving off-road. Adaptive air suspension moreover offers the advantages of a traditional self-leveling suspension system. The vehicle's suspension height remains constant irrespective of the load it is carrying.
The adaptive air suspension generally also allows the driver to influence the suspension characteristic – and thus the operating dynamics – as individually preferred. The damping characteristics and ride height can be adjusted in a single process via the MMI "CAR" menu system. Available as an option in the Audi A8 and Audi Q7.