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2012 E550 Suspension Enhancements

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2012 E550 Suspension Enhancements

 
Old 03-29-2013, 10:24 AM
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2012 E550
2012 E550 Suspension Enhancements

Backstory: I traded my 2008 S5 for a used 2012 E550 at the end of 2012. I am happy with the change except for one thing: the handling. The E550 first owner custom ordered with comfort suspension. I don't mind the ride height but I really really hate the body roll and it just doesn't feel safe when I push in the corners. Obviously I moved to a very different car so it is quite harsh, but I feel safer throwing my wife's 05 TSX in the corners than this car.

Besides switching to a dedicated winter/summer tire setup (which I plan on doing), what are my options? Do I need to wait a few more years for the aftermarket to develop for these cars?
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Old 03-29-2013, 11:31 AM
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I am assuming you have air suspension and the AMG sport package. There is a switch on the console for sport suspension. In my CLS there are two switches, one for the transmission and the other for the suspension. When engaged, the suspension will tighten up and drop 4cm, the transmission will start in first gear instead of second. At 75 mph the car will drop a further 1/2 in.

You will discover a different car.
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Old 03-29-2013, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by petee1997 View Post
I am assuming you have air suspension and the AMG sport package. There is a switch on the console for sport suspension. In my CLS there are two switches, one for the transmission and the other for the suspension. When engaged, the suspension will tighten up and drop 4cm, the transmission will start in first gear instead of second. At 75 mph the car will drop a further 1/2 in.

You will discover a different car.
As mentioned in the original post, for reasons unknown, the first owner ordered the car WITHOUT the air suspension. I don't have the buttons or the air suspension.
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Old 03-29-2013, 11:53 PM
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Easiest option would be to go with some H&R sport springs and some appropriate shocks (if needed?) Or coilovers. It will be a pretty siginificant improvement over the luxury/comfort suspension while it is only moderately if any different at all from the sport version.
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Old 03-30-2013, 05:12 AM
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The 12's didn't come with Airmatic. You probably have the same suspension as the E350's with sport package, which I've found to be stiffer than the Airmatic so take that as you will. You'll probably have to do a lot of suspension work to rid the car of that loose exaggerated body roll. IMO it wouldn't be worth it as the E is meant to do many things well but tight handling isn't one of them. The car is inherently floaty which is basically the nature of the E Class.
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Old 03-30-2013, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by K-A View Post
The 12's didn't come with Airmatic. You probably have the same suspension as the E350's with sport package, which I've found to be stiffer than the Airmatic so take that as you will. You'll probably have to do a lot of suspension work to rid the car of that loose exaggerated body roll. IMO it wouldn't be worth it as the E is meant to do many things well but tight handling isn't one of them. The car is inherently floaty which is basically the nature of the E Class.
You must have had a change of opinion from your post on bimmerfest where you said in reference to e350 vs 535i...
"I've said it before, but I agree. Driving wise, these cars are extremely similar, almost like they're from the same manufacturer, and much more similar than ever before. Anyone who truly and completely thinks otherwise must be drinking the kool-aid.

Yes, the M-B still owns a slight edge in comfort and luxury, and the BMW still in driving sport/dynamics, but the key word here is "slight"."

My suggestion to the OP is go test drive a E550 with the stock suspension to see if the difference is notable and satisfactory. Problem can finding one. Then, make some assessments. Maybe it too make not be satisfactory. I wouldn't drive a E350. The dynamics are totally different.
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Old 03-30-2013, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by no_mulligan View Post
My suggestion to the OP is go test drive a E550 with the stock suspension to see if the difference is notable and satisfactory. Problem can finding one. Then, make some assessments. Maybe it too make not be satisfactory. I wouldn't drive a E350. The dynamics are totally different.
The OP owns an E550 with the stock suspension. Unless you are suggesting that their is something wrong with his car and he should test drive a similar car to see if their is a difference?!?

The best you can do is buy aftermarket springs.
But in all honesty... You bought a MERCEDES. Its an E-Class and unless you buy an E63 it was not built to throw around corners.
Buying a Mercedes and complaining that you cant throw it around corners is as dumb as buying a Lamborghini and complaining that you cant take it off-roading.
You didn't buy an AMG so I dont know what you were expecting. Sorry for the harsh honesty but... truth hurts.
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Old 03-30-2013, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by no_mulligan View Post
You must have had a change of opinion from your post on bimmerfest where you said in reference to e350 vs 535i...
"I've said it before, but I agree. Driving wise, these cars are extremely similar, almost like they're from the same manufacturer, and much more similar than ever before. Anyone who truly and completely thinks otherwise must be drinking the kool-aid.

Yes, the M-B still owns a slight edge in comfort and luxury, and the BMW still in driving sport/dynamics, but the key word here is "slight"."

My suggestion to the OP is go test drive a E550 with the stock suspension to see if the difference is notable and satisfactory. Problem can finding one. Then, make some assessments. Maybe it too make not be satisfactory. I wouldn't drive a E350. The dynamics are totally different.
My opinions have developed on the matter now with more experience (and I believe I wrote that before my 2013 which has a newer, tighter and lower dedicated M Sport suspension), however the 5 Series is fairly floaty itself. I always acknowledged the E's exaggerated float and like I said found it to be befitting of the E Class. However if someone doesn't like floaty cars the last place they should be looking is a non AMG E Class.

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Old 03-30-2013, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Tjdehya View Post
The OP owns an E550 with the stock suspension. Unless you are suggesting that their is something wrong with his car and he should test drive a similar car to see if their is a difference?!?

The best you can do is buy aftermarket springs.
But in all honesty... You bought a MERCEDES. Its an E-Class and unless you buy an E63 it was not built to throw around corners.
Buying a Mercedes and complaining that you cant throw it around corners is as dumb as buying a Lamborghini and complaining that you cant take it off-roading.
You didn't buy an AMG so I dont know what you were expecting. Sorry for the harsh honesty but... truth hurts.
When the OP says USEDand custom without showing the data card, I will not ASSUME it's stock. Just me. So, yes. I am suggesting that he rule out a few things. Maybe it's a tire issue. Are they stock. Downsized? I would expect them to be Contis. I will not jumping to conclusions or call names to help the OP. Clearly, the OP is comparing to his former S5 and asking for opinions.

Some numbers found online.. .91g for the S5 according to a test on edmunds while the E550 demonstrated .81g on a Road and Driver 300ft diameter test. A 2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 demonstrated .95g per Car and Driver. This is, of course, tire dependent.
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Old 03-30-2013, 05:44 PM
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Goblando:

Seeing as you bought the car and like everything but the handling, I would check the tire and wheels. no_mulligan is right in that finding one to test drive is more difficult. As you are willing to do dedicated summer and winter setup, how about some agressive low profile wheels and summer tires?

I have comfort suspension, and although I don't throw my car around corners, it corners pretty well in my opinion for what it is.

I also think that the floatiest cars come from Lexus, not MB.
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Old 03-30-2013, 06:12 PM
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Thing is, the tires will just change the grip. The car actually will grip a corner well.... at least I think, since I never took corners all that fast in it, however body roll is a whole different situation. Like TJ said, getting an E and complaining about body roll is like getting a Lambo and complaining about lack of off roading capabilities. It's just a car inherently meant to have excessive body roll in turns as a sacrifice to provide a sublime ride over straight and smooth surfaces.
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Old 03-30-2013, 06:15 PM
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If it was that important, should of opted for the Airmatic. It's sport mode is incredible in control and handling. It actually adjusts the suspension to maintain stability and prevent body roll while in a corner.
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by RNBRAD View Post
If it was that important, should of opted for the Airmatic. It's sport mode is incredible in control and handling. It actually adjusts the suspension to maintain stability and prevent body roll while in a corner.

I have the good old Airmatic suspension and I must say that I have not driven a corner fast enough to notice body roll basically at all in sports mode. I have driven some corners pretty fast to a point that rear wheels lost grip on a dry pavement though.

I don't agree with the claim that the air spring adjusts at corners to controll body roll. I don't think an air compressor has a chance to do this fast enough. Perhaps on a curve long enough for the system to see it as weight balance issue but this would be driving a circle.
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by GoBlando View Post
Backstory: I traded my 2008 S5 for a used 2012 E550 at the end of 2012. I am happy with the change except for one thing: the handling. The E550 first owner custom ordered with comfort suspension. I don't mind the ride height but I really really hate the body roll and it just doesn't feel safe when I push in the corners. Obviously I moved to a very different car so it is quite harsh, but I feel safer throwing my wife's 05 TSX in the corners than this car.

Besides switching to a dedicated winter/summer tire setup (which I plan on doing), what are my options? Do I need to wait a few more years for the aftermarket to develop for these cars?

Can't you just put stiffer/stronger shocks on it. I would think that sports and comfort models use different shocks, which is the main component to control the ride.

The Airmatic has two modes and I think it changes between them by changing the behavior of the shocks, and slightly lowers the car in sports mode making the air springs stiffer. But I think most of the difference in handling comes from the shocks.

The thing that controls the roll a lot is the roll bar, which this car probably has in both ends. This probably is also different between the sports and comfort models, sports bein stiffer. I'm quite sure you could change the roll bars to sports model bars unless they are the same.

Last edited by Arrie; 03-30-2013 at 09:37 PM.
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by GoBlando View Post
Backstory: I traded my 2008 S5 for a used 2012 E550 at the end of 2012. I am happy with the change except for one thing: the handling. The E550 first owner custom ordered with comfort suspension. I don't mind the ride height but I really really hate the body roll and it just doesn't feel safe when I push in the corners. Obviously I moved to a very different car so it is quite harsh, but I feel safer throwing my wife's 05 TSX in the corners than this car.

Besides switching to a dedicated winter/summer tire setup (which I plan on doing), what are my options? Do I need to wait a few more years for the aftermarket to develop for these cars?
GoBando,
Would you care to expound on what you mean exactly when you say "and it just doesn't feel safe". Are you refering to skidding out, flipping the car over, something else?
If you listen to your two buddies on a e63, do yourself a favor and switch over to the forum and get some real experiences from AMG owners. That way you will better understand, from owners, what the expectations are and the bigger $$$ that comes with it. I've never owned a AMG so I will never suggest it because that advice would be hollow.
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Arrie View Post
I have the good old Airmatic suspension and I must say that I have not driven a corner fast enough to notice body roll basically at all in sports mode. I have driven some corners pretty fast to a point that rear wheels lost grip on a dry pavement though.

I don't agree with the claim that the air spring adjusts at corners to controll body roll. I don't think an air compressor has a chance to do this fast enough. Perhaps on a curve long enough for the system to see it as weight balance issue but this would be driving a circle.
I believe the system that "virtually eliminate body roll in many driving situations including cornering, accelerating, and braking" is called Active Body Control. And according to wiki, version of ABC was introduced in 1999 on the top-of-the-line Mercedes-Benz CL-Class, the Mercedes-Benz C112 of 1991 however already featured a prototype version of ABC. This system is standard on all Mercedes-Benz SL (except for SL350) and CL Class models and on S Class (only S600, S55 AMG, S63 AMG and S65 AMG) models sold in the U.S.
It is an active hydraulic system.
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Arrie View Post
I have the good old Airmatic suspension and I must say that I have not driven a corner fast enough to notice body roll basically at all in sports mode. I have driven some corners pretty fast to a point that rear wheels lost grip on a dry pavement though.

I don't agree with the claim that the air spring adjusts at corners to controll body roll. I don't think an air compressor has a chance to do this fast enough. Perhaps on a curve long enough for the system to see it as weight balance issue but this would be driving a circle.
So you refute Mercedes claim because you don't think an air compressor is fast enough? Could it do it fast enough if the Airmatic system had perhaps an air storage tank? Lol. Watch this video and see if it won't help your understanding. Oh and I think it adjusts within 50 milliseconds.



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Old 03-31-2013, 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Arrie View Post
I have the good old Airmatic suspension and I must say that I have not driven a corner fast enough to notice body roll basically at all in sports mode. I have driven some corners pretty fast to a point that rear wheels lost grip on a dry pavement though.

I don't agree with the claim that the air spring adjusts at corners to controll body roll. I don't think an air compressor has a chance to do this fast enough. Perhaps on a curve long enough for the system to see it as weight balance issue but this would be driving a circle.
Arrie, how would you say your E350 and E550's compare in terms of body roll through turns? In the Sport setting, does your 550 have as exaggerated of roll as the E350? I always thought of the steel suspension cars as being tighter in terms of roll than the Airmatic cars (even while in Sport mode), though maybe I'm confusing the steel suspension cars being harder over bumps instead, along with maybe the fact of the steel suspension cars having a lower ride height than Airmatic cars (even while in Sport mode) having to do with making me think that way.
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Old 03-31-2013, 12:27 AM
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Originally Posted by no_mulligan View Post
GoBando,
Would you care to expound on what you mean exactly when you say "and it just doesn't feel safe". Are you refering to skidding out, flipping the car over, something else?
If you listen to your two buddies on a e63, do yourself a favor and switch over to the forum and get some real experiences from AMG owners. That way you will better understand, from owners, what the expectations are and the bigger $$$ that comes with it. I've never owned a AMG so I will never suggest it because that advice would be hollow.
My friend who was driving my E350 literally swerved into the lanes next to him during some turns because he, and I quote, said "it turned and rolled like an old Cadillac which caught me by surprise". It was enlightening for me to hear as I was used to it along being that I expected it from an E Class. I'm assuming O/P's thoughts on its "safety" are probably similar, however will naturally mend as he gets more of a feel of the cars dynamics.

My W220 had ABC, granted the first version of it (which was insanely buggy and fail-prone, costing owners tons to fix when out of warranty) and I found it really impressive. It's an oil-based hydraulic suspension as opposed to the Airmatic's "air" as you said.
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by K-A View Post
Arrie, how would you say your E350 and E550's compare in terms of body roll through turns? In the Sport setting, does your 550 have as exaggerated of roll as the E350? I always thought of the steel suspension cars as being tighter in terms of roll than the Airmatic cars (even while in Sport mode), though maybe I'm confusing the steel suspension cars being harder over bumps instead, along with maybe the fact of the steel suspension cars having a lower ride height than Airmatic cars (even while in Sport mode) having to do with making me think that way.

What comes to body roll I don't really remember the E350 being much different compared to the current E550.

Body roll was very much the same but springs (and shocks) on the E350 were just so stiff compared to the Airmatic comfort setting and almost feels even compared to the Airmatic sports setting.

But I can tell you about the Audi Q7 I had. It was so stiff it felt like it had no springs at all. What a back braker it was...
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:27 PM
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So you refute Mercedes claim because you don't think an air compressor is fast enough? Could it do it fast enough if the Airmatic system had perhaps an air storage tank? Lol. Watch this video and see if it won't help your understanding. Oh and I think it adjusts within 50 milliseconds.


Hey RNBRAD,

when you say "Oh, and I think it adjusts within 50 milliseconds" I could say "Oh, how stupid some people are believing everything they hear from a car manufacturer".

I gave my opinion to the matter and it does not mean you need to go sarcastic about it.

That said, I still claim that air system cannot control body roll fast enough except during a long curve on the road that last upwards from 5 seconds or so. To control body roll takes a hydraulic system, which No Mulligan so well explained in his post. It is called Active Body Control (ABC).

The video you posted explains what the Airmatic does and it does not say anything else about body roll than "it can help" with body roll. This "can" probably means what I said above, i.e. during long curves at high speed on highways, which by the way, are very common on German Autobahns.

Also the claim that it adjusts in 50 milliseconds. I don't care if it is 10 milliseconds. The control valve can electronically do what ever it wants and MB claims but compressed air cannot control any body roll that fast regardless if the air comes from a compressor or an air tank. And if you really listen to the video all it talks about is the fast controll on the shocks, which it adjusts depending on the road condition, not the body roll.

If you have a car with an air matic experience with it how fast the air moves out from the air springs. Have it loaded in the trunk and let it raise itself up to correct the level. Then remove the load and turn the car off. It will lower itself back to normal level. It takes easily 0.5 - 1.0 seconds for it to do it. If the claim mercedes has is true the air from the air springs must flow fast enough in AND OUT to satisfy the 50 millisecond controll loop time. This just is not possible.

With hydraulics it is and this is why they have the ABC in some of the better car models.
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Old 03-31-2013, 02:31 PM
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Your opinion is flawed since it is based on a Airmatic system that requires an air pump to control the change of the amount of air in the air springs and its not fast enough. I don't think you even knew there was a central high pressure air storage tank? Then you want to say Mercedes claims are impossible based on what? Your detailed knowledge of the system? They've always advertised this, even on their tv commercials. The ABC system on the otherhand operates in 10milliseconds, but probably another false advertising claim. You think as reputable as Mercedes is they are entering into false marketing and advertising on the features in their cars? Please don't compare Mercedes with just any car manufacturer. But if you want to deny Mercedes claims, then the proof is on you.

http://www.mersag.com/cmer-101.html
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Old 03-31-2013, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by RNBRAD View Post
Your opinion is flawed since it is based on a Airmatic system that requires an air pump to control the change of the amount of air in the air springs and its not fast enough. I don't think you even knew there was a central high pressure air storage tank? Then you want to say Mercedes claims are impossible based on what? Your detailed knowledge of the system? They've always advertised this, even on their tv commercials. The ABC system on the otherhand operates in 10milliseconds, but probably another false advertising claim. You think as reputable as Mercedes is they are entering into false marketing and advertising on the features in their cars? Please don't compare Mercedes with just any car manufacturer. But if you want to deny Mercedes claims, then the proof is on you.

http://www.mersag.com/cmer-101.html

In your opinion my thinking is flawed because it is based using a compressor. Read my post again AND if you drive the car long enough and that 50 millisecond control cycle works at some point your high pressure tank needs to be recharged, i.e. the system becomes compressor dependent. But this is not about the compressor or air tank. Compressed air just cannot be used for the body roll control other than during long enough curves where the car levelling system takes over.

But hey, we all have the right to believe what we want to. Let the other readers decide what they like. Some of them, I'm sure, agree with you, some with me.
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:04 AM
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Have had several E-class AMGs with various suspension setups, as well as the R230 SL with ABC, and now the 2012 E550 with Airmatic.

I can understand what GoBlando means by "doesn't feel safe", the E550 without Airmatic may seem not very confident inspiring when cornering. I would recommend going with bigger wheels maybe 19 inches and stickier tires such as Pilot Super Sports.

With Airmatic, I agree with it does remove quite a big of roll, similar to ABC on my old SL. However, due to the E's size and weight, it's really not too nimble, compared to say a courtesy E coupe (both E350 and E550) I drove. I can imagine how the smaller 2 door S5 compares.

Before we all praise the AMGs, I also have the opinion that some of the older RWD E-class AMGs are a little overrated. Yes, they have lots of power but unless you drive mostly on smooth highways in the dry at fairly high speed, the power is wasted. And their handling is really not that much superior in my opinion, as they understeer greatly.

I'm not sure if I really enjoy having a throttle sensitive car with a very rough ride yet doesn't handle nearly as well as a smaller sportier lighter car. It depend on your need I guess, for lower speed city driving, stop and go, mixed with rain and snow, I enjoy the smooth ride of the regular E much more.

The strength of the regular E is the smooth ride, the solid chassis and the packaging, all the gadgets. With the V8TT on the E550, I find the car actually faster and more nimble in the city than both my W210 E55, W212 E55k, W212 E63, from point A to B. 4matic makes up a large part (read useable 400 horses than traction control limited 500+). One simply needs to get used to the car's handling.

Of course, with the 2014 E63 AWD, all this will change, interesting times.
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Old 04-01-2013, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by W210 View Post
Have had several E-class AMGs with various suspension setups, as well as the R230 SL with ABC, and now the 2012 E550 with Airmatic.

I can understand what GoBlando means by "doesn't feel safe", the E550 without Airmatic may seem not very confident inspiring when cornering. I would recommend going with bigger wheels maybe 19 inches and stickier tires such as Pilot Super Sports.

With Airmatic, I agree with it does remove quite a big of roll, similar to ABC on my old SL. However, due to the E's size and weight, it's really not too nimble, compared to say a courtesy E coupe (both E350 and E550) I drove. I can imagine how the smaller 2 door S5 compares.

Before we all praise the AMGs, I also have the opinion that some of the older RWD E-class AMGs are a little overrated. Yes, they have lots of power but unless you drive mostly on smooth highways in the dry at fairly high speed, the power is wasted. And their handling is really not that much superior in my opinion, as they understeer greatly.

I'm not sure if I really enjoy having a throttle sensitive car with a very rough ride yet doesn't handle nearly as well as a smaller sportier lighter car. It depend on your need I guess, for lower speed city driving, stop and go, mixed with rain and snow, I enjoy the smooth ride of the regular E much more.

The strength of the regular E is the smooth ride, the solid chassis and the packaging, all the gadgets. With the V8TT on the E550, I find the car actually faster and more nimble in the city than both my W210 E55, W212 E55k, W212 E63, from point A to B. 4matic makes up a large part (read useable 400 horses than traction control limited 500+). One simply needs to get used to the car's handling.

Of course, with the 2014 E63 AWD, all this will change, interesting times.
Thank you W210 for your informative write up. Finally, someone with some AMG experience and some logical analysis.
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