It’s no doubt that air ride has taken over the tuner scene and with good reason. You no longer have to worry about speed bumps and driveways with your lowered car. I like to take friends and customers to local car meets, so they can see what is new or maybe get some ideas for what they want for their car. They often see a car slammed on the ground and ask, “How do they even drive that car?”. My reply is, more often than not, air ride.
Well now you may be asking, “If air ride is so nice, why doesn’t everyone use it?”
There are a couple reasons why you don’t see air ride on every car… first being the cost. An entry level air ride setup can cost around $2,000. That’s a lot of money to spend on just lowering the car, especially compared to a set of mid-level coilovers that cost half as much. Another reason why some people prefer not use air ride is performance. The people that fall into this category still want to achieve the maximum performance out of their car, that’s why they spent a lot money to make it faster and perform better. There are people who say tests have been done for air ride vs. coilovers and that air ride performs the same or better…
I’ll believe it when race cars start using air bags for their suspension.
Now there are companies developing products to give you the best of both worlds, the Air Piston Cup Kits. It is a small piston assembly that mounts to the top of the coilover. In it’s normal state, the piston cup acts only as a spring perch. When inflated, the air pushes the piston down which will raise the car approximately 1-2 inches. Aragosta was one of the first companies I remember using this type of suspension, but their kits cost $5,000+. ISC has just recently released their version of the Air Piston Cup Kit to mount to their N1 series coilovers. The best part, they retail for only $805 per pair of Air Piston Cup Kits! These kits do not include any air management, but at this price, it’s still a huge savings. This setup is perfect for those who want to lower their car and not have to worry about speed bumps, while still maintaining maximum handling performance.