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Does the Mercedes E-Class have Air Suspension?

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is a highly popular luxury midsize vehicle in Canada, renowned for its exceptional blend of comfort, performance, and cutting-edge technology. As one of the brand’s core models, the E-Class has garnered a devoted following among Canadian drivers seeking a refined and capable sedan or wagon. Central to the E-Class’s appeal is its refined driving dynamics, which are heavily influenced by the suspension system.


Suspension plays a crucial role in determining a vehicle’s ride quality, handling characteristics, and overall driving experience. It acts as the interface between the wheels and the body, absorbing road imperfections and minimizing the transfer of vibrations to the cabin. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class offers various suspension options, including an advanced air suspension system designed to elevate the vehicle’s comfort and capabilities even further. This innovative technology has become a sought-after feature among discerning Canadian buyers seeking the ultimate in luxury and performance from their E-Class.

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What is Air Suspension?

Air suspension is an advanced automotive suspension system that utilizes inflatable air bellows or bags instead of traditional steel coil springs. These air bags are connected to an compressor and a system of valves and sensors that can adjust the air pressure within the bags on demand.

Unlike steel springs which have a fixed spring rate, the air suspension system can vary its “spring rate” by increasing or decreasing the air pressure in the bags. Higher air pressure makes the suspension firmer, while lower pressure allows for a softer, more compliant ride. This ability to dynamically adjust the suspension firmness provides several key benefits:

 

  1. It can raise or lower the vehicle’s ride height to improve ground clearance, aerodynamics, or handling characteristics as needed.
  2. It can adapt the shock absorption and damping levels in real-time based on driving conditions and road surfaces for optimal ride quality.
  3. It can maintain a consistent ride height and posture regardless of the vehicle’s load by adding or removing air pressure.

 

The air compressor, typically powered by the vehicle’s electrical system, draws in outside air and pressurizes it to send to the air bags. A network of sensors and the vehicle’s computer controls the entire air suspension system to provide the desired ride characteristics. This gives air suspension a major advantage over conventional steel springs in terms of versatility and adjustability.

 

E-Class Models with Air Suspension

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class has offered air suspension as an available option or standard equipment on various models over the years. According to Mercedes-Benz, the current E-Class All-Terrain model comes equipped with AIRMATIC single-chamber air suspension as standard.

For the latest W213 generation E-Class sedan and wagon models, air suspension is available as part of the AIRMATIC Package on higher trim levels like the E450 and AMG models. This includes the E450 sedan and wagon, as well as the E53 and E63 AMG performance variants. Mercedes-Benz USA states that the AIRMATIC Package pairs a multimode air suspension with rear-axle steering for enhanced ride and handling.

In previous generations, air suspension was also offered on select E-Class sedans, wagons, coupes, and convertibles, though availability varied by model year and trim level. The air suspension technology has evolved over time, with Mercedes utilizing different branded systems like AIRMATIC, ADS, and 4MATIC Air Suspension across various model lineups.

 

Benefits of Air Suspension for the E-Class

One of the primary advantages of the AIRMATIC air suspension system on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class is improved ride comfort. As each air spring moves vertically, the system adjusts the amount of air to provide a smoother, more controlled ride over uneven surfaces. This results in reduced body roll and enhanced stability when cornering or navigating winding roads.

Additionally, the air suspension allows the E-Class to automatically adjust its ride height based on driving conditions. At higher speeds, the system can lower the vehicle for improved aerodynamics and better handling dynamics. Conversely, the ride height can be raised when tackling steep driveways or speed bumps, providing greater ground clearance.

Overall, the AIRMATIC air suspension contributes to a more refined and luxurious driving experience in the E-Class. The ability to adapt to different road surfaces and driving situations results in a comfortable yet composed ride befitting of a premium luxury sedan or wagon.

 

Drawbacks and Potential Issues with Air Suspension

While air suspension offers several benefits for the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, it is not without its drawbacks and potential issues. One of the primary downsides is the higher cost associated with this advanced suspension system. Air suspension components and systems are generally more expensive than traditional steel springs, adding to the overall cost of the vehicle.

Air leaks are a common issue that can plague air suspension systems over time. The air bladders and lines that make up the system can develop leaks, causing the system to lose air pressure and fail to maintain the proper ride height. This can lead to a rough ride and potential damage to other suspension components. As stated on VigorAirRide, “System Unable to Maintain Ride Height” is one of the common issues with the Mercedes E-Class air suspension.

Air compressor failure is another potential problem that can arise with air suspension systems. The compressor is responsible for inflating the air bladders, and if it fails, the system will be unable to adjust the ride height or provide proper suspension support. Compressor failures can be costly to repair, as noted by Mercedes-Benz USA Auto Parts Store, which states that “grinding, clinking, or whirring noises while driving” can indicate a defective compressor in the Mercedes-Benz E 350’s suspension.

In general, repairs and maintenance for air suspension systems tend to be more expensive than traditional suspension setups. The specialized components and complexity of the system can drive up labor and parts costs, making it a more costly option to maintain over the long term.

Finally, it’s worth noting that air suspension is typically not available on lower trim levels of the E-Class. This advanced suspension technology is typically reserved for higher-end models, further limiting its availability and appeal for budget-conscious buyers.

 

How to Tell if an E-Class Has Air Suspension

There are a few ways to identify if a particular Mercedes-Benz E-Class is equipped with the optional air suspension system, known as Airmatic. One method is through visual inspection under the hood and around the suspension components. An E-Class with air suspension will have air struts and air lines visible, rather than traditional coil springs.

Another way is to check the model and option codes listed on the vehicle’s build sheet or window sticker. Air suspension will be listed as a specific package or standalone option code. For example, on the CLS-Class forums, owners note that Airmatic is indicated by two buttons to the right of the COMAND controller labeled “Sport” and “Comfort.”

Finally, the most surefire way to detect air suspension is simply by test driving the vehicle. An E-Class equipped with Airmatic will exhibit a distinctly smoother, more refined ride quality compared to models with the standard steel coil spring suspension. The air suspension allows the vehicle to glide over bumps and undulations with excellent damping and body control.

 

Cost of Air Suspension on Canadian E-Class Models

For Canadian buyers looking to equip their Mercedes-Benz E-Class with the air suspension option, the added cost can vary depending on the specific model and trim level. According to BagRiders, a reputable air suspension parts supplier, the approximate price for the air suspension upgrade on the latest W213 E-Class sedan and wagon ranges from $1,800 to $2,500 CAD.

On the base E300 and E450 models, the air suspension system typically adds around $2,000 to the vehicle’s MSRP when selected as a factory option. For the higher-performance AMG E53 and E63 variants, the air suspension is often included as standard equipment, though buyers can still expect a premium of at least $1,500 to $2,000 over models with the conventional steel spring suspension.

It’s important to note that these costs are just for the initial purchase and installation of the air suspension system. Over the longer term, owners can expect higher maintenance and repair expenses compared to the standard coil spring setup, as air suspension components like air struts and compressors are more complex and costly to replace.

 

Is Air Suspension Worth It for Canadian Buyers?

Whether air suspension is worth the extra cost for Canadian buyers of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class depends on their priorities and how they plan to use the vehicle. For those seeking the ultimate in ride comfort and handling refinement, the benefits of air suspension may justify the higher purchase price and potential maintenance costs down the road.

Air suspension provides a smoother, more controlled ride by automatically adjusting the air bladders to account for road conditions and vehicle load. It also allows for raising or lowering of the ride height, which can improve aerodynamics at higher speeds or provide extra clearance over speed bumps. These capabilities contribute to the luxurious driving experience that many expect from a premium Mercedes sedan or wagon.

However, the added complexity and cost of air suspension may not be worthwhile for more value-conscious buyers. The standard steel coil spring suspension on lower E-Class trims is still well-engineered and provides a comfortable ride, especially for those who don’t routinely drive on poorly maintained roads. Avoiding the air suspension option can save thousands on the initial purchase price.

Additionally, air suspension systems are more prone to leaks and compressor issues over time, which can lead to costly repairs down the line. Buyers planning to keep their E-Class for an extended period should weigh the long-term maintenance costs against the benefits of air suspension. Some reviews have noted air suspension reliability concerns on older Mercedes models.

 

Maintenance and Repair Considerations

While the air suspension system on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class provides many benefits, it also requires proper maintenance and care to avoid costly repairs down the road. One of the most common issues with air suspension is air leaks, which can cause the system to deflate and the ride height to drop. According to RepairPal, replacing the air springs on an E350 can cost between $2,327 and $2,449 on average.

In addition to air leaks, the air compressor and other components of the system can wear out over time, leading to potential failures. Proper maintenance, such as regularly checking the air suspension system for leaks and ensuring that the compressor is functioning correctly, can help prevent these issues from occurring.

It’s also important to note that repairs for air suspension systems can be costly, especially if multiple components need to be replaced. According to VigorAirRide, the average air suspension repair cost for a Mercedes S-Class can range from $3,000 to $4,000, with the cost potentially being higher for older models or those with more extensive damage.

To avoid these costly repairs, it’s crucial to have the air suspension system inspected and serviced regularly by a qualified Mercedes-Benz technician. Additionally, it’s important to address any issues or warning signs promptly, as neglecting problems with the air suspension system can lead to further damage and even more expensive repairs down the line.

 

Air Suspension vs. Standard Suspension Comparison

When it comes to the ride quality and driving dynamics of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the choice between air suspension and standard steel spring suspension can make a noticeable difference. While both systems have their merits, there are distinct advantages and trade-offs to consider.

The standard steel spring suspension, found on base E-Class models, provides a well-damped and composed ride that is typical of a luxury sedan. It strikes a balance between comfort and handling, delivering a smooth ride over most road surfaces while maintaining precise body control during cornering maneuvers. This traditional suspension setup is time-tested and generally requires less maintenance than air suspension systems.

In contrast, the available air suspension, known as AIRMATIC on the E-Class, offers a more sophisticated and adaptable ride quality. The air struts can automatically adjust their firmness and ride height based on driving conditions, providing a plush and isolated ride on the highway while stiffening up for sharper handling on winding roads. The air suspension also allows for a raised ride height, which can be beneficial for navigating steep driveways or rough terrain.

In terms of performance, the air suspension’s ability to lower the vehicle at higher speeds can improve aerodynamics and high-speed stability. However, some enthusiasts may prefer the more direct and communicative feel of the standard steel spring setup during spirited driving.

 

Choosing the Right E-Class Suspension for Your Needs

When it comes to selecting the right suspension for your Mercedes-Benz E-Class, it ultimately depends on your driving habits, the road conditions you typically encounter, and your personal preferences. The standard steel coil spring suspension offers a balanced ride and handling experience that should satisfy most buyers. However, for those seeking an even more refined and comfortable driving experience, the available air suspension system may be worth considering.

If you frequently drive on poorly maintained roads or encounter a lot of potholes and speed bumps in your area, the adjustable ride height of the air suspension can be beneficial. It allows you to raise the vehicle’s ground clearance to clear obstacles more easily. The air suspension’s ability to automatically level the vehicle and adjust the damping rates also results in a smoother, more composed ride over rough surfaces. According to Mercedes-Benz, the air suspension “offers agile driving pleasure on twisting roads as well as the highest level of ride comfort in the segment.”

On the other hand, if you primarily drive on well-paved highways and city streets, the standard suspension may provide an adequate level of comfort for your needs. It’s also a more cost-effective option, both in terms of the initial purchase price and long-term maintenance costs. Those who value a more engaging, sporty driving experience may also prefer the more direct feel of the conventional steel springs.

 

Other Suspension Technologies on the E-Class

While air suspension is one of the more advanced suspension options on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the luxury sedan offers several other cutting-edge suspension technologies aimed at enhancing ride comfort and handling dynamics. One such system is the adaptive damping system, which continuously adjusts the firmness of the shock absorbers based on driving conditions and selected driving mode. This allows for a comfortable ride on smooth roads while providing improved body control and handling during spirited driving.

Additionally, certain E-Class models come equipped with a self-leveling suspension system, which helps maintain a consistent ride height regardless of passenger and cargo load. This not only improves ride quality but also enhances stability and handling characteristics. The system uses sensors to detect changes in vehicle load and automatically adjusts the suspension accordingly, ensuring optimal ride height and weight distribution.

 

Here is the section on Regional Differences in Air Suspension Availability, focused on how air suspension options may vary between the Canadian market and other regions:

 

Regional Differences in Air Suspension Availability

While air suspension has been offered on various Mercedes-Benz E-Class models over the years, the availability and packaging can differ between markets like Canada, the United States, and Europe. In the Canadian market specifically, air suspension tends to be bundled into higher trim levels and option packages.

For example, on the current W213 E-Class, the air suspension (called AIR BODY CONTROL) is standard equipment on the E 450 4MATIC Wagon, but an optional extra on the E 450 4MATIC Sedan that requires adding the Premium Package. In contrast, the U.S. market offers air suspension as standard on both the E 450 Sedan and Wagon.

European markets also have some unique air suspension configurations not available in North America. The AMG E 53 models come standard with an AMG-tuned air suspension, while the E 63 S gets a more advanced AMG Ride Control+ air suspension with adjustable damping.

 

Historical Look at Air Suspension on E-Class

Air suspension technology has been a part of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class lineup for over two decades. The first E-Class to offer an air suspension system was the W210 generation, introduced in 1995. This early air suspension, known as Active Body Control (ABC), used hydraulic and pneumatic components to automatically adjust ride height and damping.

The W211 E-Class, launched in 2002, brought an updated air suspension called Airmatic. This system switched to using air springs and struts controlled by an electro-pneumatic pump and valves. Airmatic offered improved ride quality and handling over the previous hydraulic ABC setup.

Later generations like the W212 (2009-2016) and current W213 (2016-present) have continued to refine and evolve the Airmatic air suspension. Enhancements include adaptive damping, automatic self-leveling, and the ability to raise or lower the ride height based on driving conditions. While initially limited to higher-trim models, air suspension has become more widely available across the E-Class range over time.

 

Future Suspension Technologies for the E-Class

As Mercedes-Benz continues to push the boundaries of innovation, the E-Class is poised to benefit from cutting-edge suspension technologies that promise to elevate ride quality and handling to new heights. According to Mercedes-Benz, the automaker is already working on incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) to optimize suspension settings in real-time, adapting to changing road conditions and driving styles.

One potential advancement could be the integration of predictive suspension systems that use advanced sensors and cameras to scan the road ahead, allowing the suspension to proactively adjust damping and ride height for upcoming bumps or undulations. This technology could virtually eliminate the jarring impacts often associated with potholes or uneven surfaces, ensuring an unparalleled level of comfort and composure.

Additionally, Mercedes may explore the use of cutting-edge materials and manufacturing techniques to create lighter and more responsive suspension components. Advanced composites, for instance, could reduce unsprung weight, improving handling agility and responsiveness without compromising ride quality. The implementation of active anti-roll bars or torque-vectoring systems could further enhance the E-Class’s cornering capabilities, delivering a more engaging and confidence-inspiring driving experience.

 

Conclusion

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class offers air suspension as an available option on higher trim levels, providing a more refined and comfortable driving experience. While air suspension technology enhances ride quality, handling, and versatility, it also comes with added costs and potential maintenance concerns.

For Canadian buyers seeking the ultimate in luxury and ride comfort from their E-Class, the air suspension system is certainly worth considering. The ability to adjust ride height, improve aerodynamics at higher speeds, and smooth out even the roughest roads makes air suspension a compelling upgrade, especially for those who value a truly premium driving experience.

However, for buyers focused more on value and lower ownership costs, the standard steel coil spring suspension may be a more practical choice. While not quite as refined as air suspension, the conventional setup still delivers a comfortable and composed ride befitting the E-Class’s luxury pedigree.

Ultimately, the decision to opt for air suspension or not will come down to individual priorities and budgets. Prospective E-Class buyers should take advantage of test drives to experience the differences firsthand and determine if the improved ride quality justifies the higher purchase price and potential maintenance expenses down the road.

For those leaning towards an E-Class with air suspension, it’s recommended to stick with well-equipped E450 models or higher trims like the E53 and E63 AMG variants. These higher-end configurations make the most of the air suspension’s capabilities and help offset the added costs with a more premium overall package.

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Questions About Mercedes E-Class Suspension

Air suspension is an advanced automotive suspension system that utilizes air-filled bellows or bags instead of traditional steel coil springs. These air bags are connected to a compressor and a network of valves and sensors that can adjust the air pressure within the bags on demand. This allows the suspension to vary its firmness or “spring rate” by increasing or decreasing the air pressure, providing a range of benefits such as improved ride quality, adjustable ride height, and adaptability to different driving conditions and road surfaces.

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class models equipped with air suspension, known as AIRMATIC, use a series of air struts and air lines connected to a central compressor and control system. The vehicle’s computer monitors various sensors and adjusts the air pressure in the struts accordingly, allowing the suspension to adapt to different driving situations. This can include raising or lowering the ride height, stiffening or softening the damping rates, and maintaining a consistent ride height regardless of the vehicle’s load.

One of the primary advantages of air suspension on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class is improved ride comfort. The air struts can adjust their firmness to provide a smoother, more controlled ride over uneven surfaces, reducing body roll and enhancing stability when cornering or navigating winding roads. Additionally, the ability to adjust the ride height can improve aerodynamics at higher speeds or provide greater ground clearance when needed, contributing to a more refined and versatile driving experience.

The availability of air suspension on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class varies by model and trim level. In the current W213 generation, the E-Class All-Terrain model comes equipped with AIRMATIC single-chamber air suspension as standard. On other models like the E450 sedan and wagon, as well as the AMG E53 and E63 variants, air suspension is available as part of the AIRMATIC Package on higher trim levels.

While air suspension offers several benefits, it also has some potential drawbacks. One of the primary downsides is the higher cost associated with this advanced suspension system, both in terms of the initial purchase price and long-term maintenance expenses. Air leaks are a common issue that can cause the system to lose air pressure and fail to maintain the proper ride height, potentially leading to a rough ride and damage to other components. Air compressor failure is another potential problem that can be costly to repair.

There are a few ways to identify if a particular Mercedes-Benz E-Class is equipped with air suspension. Visual inspection under the hood and around the suspension components may reveal air struts and air lines instead of traditional coil springs. Checking the model and option codes listed on the vehicle’s build sheet or window sticker can also indicate if air suspension was included. Additionally, test driving the vehicle can reveal the distinctly smoother and more refined ride quality associated with air suspension.

The cost of adding air suspension to a Mercedes-Benz E-Class can vary depending on the specific model and trim level. According to reputable sources, the approximate price for the air suspension upgrade on the latest W213 E-Class sedan and wagon ranges from $1,800 to $2,500 CAD. On base E300 and E450 models, the air suspension system typically adds around $2,000 to the vehicle’s MSRP when selected as a factory option.

Whether air suspension is worth the extra cost for Canadian buyers of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class depends on their priorities and how they plan to use the vehicle. For those seeking the ultimate in ride comfort and handling refinement, the benefits of air suspension may justify the higher purchase price and potential maintenance costs. However, for more value-conscious buyers or those who don’t routinely encounter rough roads, the added complexity and cost of air suspension may not be worthwhile, as the standard steel coil spring suspension still provides a comfortable ride.

While the air suspension system on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class provides many benefits, it also requires proper maintenance and care to avoid costly repairs down the road. One of the most common issues is air leaks, which can cause the system to deflate and the ride height to drop. Replacing the air springs or compressor can be expensive, with costs ranging from $2,000 to $4,000 or more, depending on the extent of the repair. Regular inspections and addressing any issues promptly can help prevent further damage and expensive repairs.

The standard steel spring suspension found on base E-Class models provides a well-damped and composed ride typical of a luxury sedan, striking a balance between comfort and handling. In contrast, the available air suspension, known as AIRMATIC, offers a more sophisticated and adaptable ride quality, automatically adjusting its firmness and ride height based on driving conditions. While air suspension can improve aerodynamics and high-speed stability, some enthusiasts may prefer the more direct and communicative feel of the standard steel spring setup during spirited driving.

When selecting the right suspension for your Mercedes-Benz E-Class, consider your driving habits, the road conditions you typically encounter, and your personal preferences. If you frequently drive on poorly maintained roads or encounter a lot of potholes and speed bumps, the adjustable ride height and smooth ride of the air suspension can be beneficial. However, if you primarily drive on well-paved highways and city streets, the standard suspension may provide an adequate level of comfort at a lower cost. Those who value a more engaging, sporty driving experience may also prefer the more direct feel of the conventional steel springs.

In addition to air suspension, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class offers several other cutting-edge suspension technologies aimed at enhancing ride comfort and handling dynamics. These include an adaptive damping system that continuously adjusts the firmness of the shock absorbers based on driving conditions, as well as a self-leveling suspension system that helps maintain a consistent ride height regardless of passenger and cargo load.

While air suspension has been offered on various Mercedes-Benz E-Class models over the years, the availability and packaging can differ between markets like Canada, the United States, and Europe. In the Canadian market, air suspension tends to be bundled into higher trim levels and option packages, while in the U.S. market, it may be standard equipment on certain models. European markets also have some unique air suspension configurations not available in North America.

Air suspension technology has been a part of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class lineup for over two decades. The first E-Class to offer an air suspension system was the W210 generation, introduced in 1995. Later generations like the W211, W212, and current W213 have continued to refine and evolve the air suspension system, with enhancements such as adaptive damping, automatic self-leveling, and the ability to raise or lower the ride height based on driving conditions.

As Mercedes-Benz continues to innovate, the E-Class is poised to benefit from cutting-edge suspension technologies that promise to elevate ride quality and handling to new heights. These could include the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) to optimize suspension settings in real-time, predictive suspension systems that can proactively adjust damping and ride height for upcoming bumps or undulations, and the use of advanced materials and manufacturing techniques to create lighter and more responsive suspension components.

The availability and packaging of air suspension on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class can vary between different markets like Canada, the United States, and Europe. In the Canadian market, air suspension is often bundled into higher trim levels and option packages, while in the U.S., it may be standard equipment on certain models. European markets also have some unique air suspension configurations not available in North America.

Air suspension technology has been a part of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class lineup for over two decades, with the first E-Class to offer an air suspension system being the W210 generation introduced in 1995. The W211 E-Class brought an updated air suspension called Airmatic, using air springs and struts controlled by an electro-pneumatic pump and valves. Later generations like the W212 and current W213 have continued to refine and evolve the Airmatic air suspension system.

As Mercedes-Benz continues to push the boundaries of innovation, the E-Class is poised to benefit from cutting-edge suspension technologies that promise to elevate ride quality and handling to new heights. These could include the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) to optimize suspension settings in real-time, predictive suspension systems that can proactively adjust damping and ride height for upcoming bumps or undulations, and the use of advanced materials and manufacturing techniques to create lighter and more responsive suspension components.

While air suspension provides many benefits, it requires proper maintenance and care to avoid costly repairs. Common issues include air leaks, which can cause the system to deflate and the ride height to drop, potentially leading to damage. Replacing air springs or the compressor can be expensive, with costs ranging from $2,000 to $4,000 or more. Regular inspections and addressing any issues promptly can help prevent further damage and expensive repairs.



The standard steel spring suspension found on base E-Class models provides a well-damped and composed ride typical of a luxury sedan, striking a balance between comfort and handling. In contrast, the available air suspension, known as AIRMATIC, offers a more sophisticated and adaptable ride quality, automatically adjusting its firmness and ride height based on driving conditions. While air suspension can improve aerodynamics and high-speed stability, some enthusiasts may prefer the more direct and communicative feel of the standard steel spring setup during spirited driving.

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