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2014 E550, how good is airmatic vs conventional?

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E-Class (W212) 2010 - 2016: E 350, E 550

2014 E550, how good is airmatic vs conventional?

 
Old 05-29-2018, 12:45 PM
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2014 E550, how good is airmatic vs conventional?

I am in a search for E550. On of the candidates (2014) has airmatic susspension. I heard a lot of horror stories about reliability of it and how expensive to repair it. But what about positives of that suspension, any good in comparison with traditional one?
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Old 05-29-2018, 01:09 PM
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I think Airmatic gets a bad rap as any small issue is reported on these forums which is a shame. I have had 2 E class cars with Airmatic.and minor issues with only one of them (replaced one rear strut). My current 2014 E550 4Matic is on sport springs and it does not compare to my 2010 E550 4Matic with Airmatic in terms of ride. I wish I had the Airmatic. My driveway is steep and I scrape going out, which I would be able to temper with raising the car. My only complaint with the Airmatic system was I seemed to bend wheels on pot holes too easily with the Airmatic equipped cars. It may have just been my imagination, but I felt the system contributed to this problem. I would not let the Airmatic equipped car hold you back from considering it.
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Old 05-29-2018, 01:24 PM
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Key08, thanks for the comment.
What could you tell about performance difference?
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Old 05-29-2018, 01:38 PM
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Less body roll with Airmatic and very stable at speed. I have tried to compensate by going to a 19" OEM AMG staggered wheel with summer performance tires to help firm up the ride. So, for the summer months my car feels really good and planted. When I swap over to the winter wheel/tire setup it becomes soft and floaty again. Once again, I would take the Airmatic in a heart beat and deal with any issues.
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Old 05-29-2018, 03:31 PM
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Plus with airmatic, one can use 20" wheels with proper front size (in terms of load and sidewall) tires of 245/35-20 on W212.
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Old 05-29-2018, 04:04 PM
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2014 E550 4Matic Designo Diamond White and loaded up
Correct^
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Old 05-29-2018, 04:16 PM
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I've had the airmatic suspension fail me on the rear. Left rear air strut and right rear air spring. It's recommended to replace both on the rear if one goes out, but one of each went out so I had to replace the entire rear airmatic suspension. Parts alone was something like... $1000 I think? I did the labor myself with a friend who is a Mercedes dealer technician though, haha. Not sure what a shop would've charged, upwards of $2k probably.

Anyway, I like that it was very easy to lower the car with adjustable links and I can raise the car with the push of a button if road conditions are sketchy. I've gone on some mountain roads at pretty high speeds and the car feels really stable in sport mode. I can't compare it to a traditional suspension w212 though, never drove one. If I had to do it again, I'd still buy the airmatic one even if I knew the rears were going to go out on me.

Last edited by Peachy; 05-29-2018 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 05-29-2018, 04:31 PM
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It is common that MB buyers who buy few years old car for 20% of its original price will be b***ng about high maintenance cost.
Did you know good set of tires for MB can cost you 4-digits?
So count me as one more who likes the Airmatic.
I had only rear air on my wagon and only drove full Airmatic for short time, but I don't hesitate to spend money for luxury, especially when with DIY the cost is not that big.
Compressor rebuild kit $20, but lazy folks will spend $450 for whole new unit.
Arnott bags are not that expensive and bags are 10-years item, so small change in annual cost.
So could I buy Airmatic with diesel, I would be glued to the screen seeking.
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Old 05-29-2018, 04:39 PM
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Get the airmatic ... well worth it

I had 2014 e550 with and 2014 e550 without Airmatic

get airmatic and extended warranty and enjoy
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Old 05-29-2018, 04:43 PM
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Other high end luxury cars (Tesla, Lexus, Porsche, etc.) have air suspension systems available as well, so the demand for such has always been there and is fitted on the best in class automobiles.
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Old 05-29-2018, 04:53 PM
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Thank you guys for your feedback on airmatic suspension. Now I am more/less aware of advantages of airmatics.
As for buying cheap and worry about maintenance cost. I know what it is, I've have/had 2 mercedeses and 3 bmws and still want to get another MB ;-)
E550s are pretty scarce to find, at least order of magnitude less comparable to E350. And airmatics for 2014 is almost impossible to find at all.
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Old 05-29-2018, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by syuri View Post
And airmatics for 2014 is almost impossible to find at all.
Hence why I don't have it. My E550 has every option MB offered from Pano to illuminated door sills, yet I could not find all that and Airmatic as well.
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Old 05-29-2018, 05:10 PM
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I tested 2014 E550 with standard suspension, and was happy with it, thought I've never tried airmatic before, that's why I asked.
When I checked that one, it turned out it has air suspension. But after gathering some info about the dealership, I am in doubt that I will go there. Would it be local to me I'd try, but it is > 3 hours to drive. I my vicinity I could find only one E550!
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Old 05-29-2018, 06:32 PM
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Living in California and wanting diesels, I have been buying them all in 2000-3000 miles distance from home. Sure being self-employed I did not have to arrange a week off for the trip, but 3 hr drive for the vehicle you are going to love is nothing for me.
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Old 05-29-2018, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by KEY08 View Post
My only complaint with the Airmatic system was I seemed to bend wheels on pot holes too easily with the Airmatic equipped cars. It may have just been my imagination, but I felt the system contributed to this problem. I would not let the Airmatic equipped car hold you back from considering it.
I think it's your imagination. I've bent several 17 and 18 inch rims and I don't have airmatic. I blame the 40 and 45 series tires. Didn't normally get bent rims/flat tires with 60 series tires.
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Old 05-29-2018, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by kajtek1 View Post
It is common that MB buyers who buy few years old car for 20% of its original price will be b***ng about high maintenance cost.
Are failed air susp components a maintenance or premature failure issue?

Regardless, old-school coils and shocks are less $ to replace by comparison.

Not even Lexus can make a robust air suspension. If they can't, I'm afraid nobody can.

My E has the "sport susp" old-school coils and shocks and is far from sporty. I've read that Airmatic addresses this "shortcoming" so decide which is more important.
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Old 05-30-2018, 02:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Johnny Rad View Post
Are failed air susp components a maintenance or premature failure issue?

Regardless, old-school coils and shocks are less $ to replace by comparison.
Did not hear about failures that are not related to the owner delaying proper maintenance. I had air line hole, what was $0 fix after long time searching.
When the bag leaks -compressor works big overtime and eventually has to wear out.
Ironically old-school steel rims are cheaper than Michelins as well.
IMHO buying MB and then butcher the design makes no sense. If you don't like some features - sell it and buy different model.
Easy enough.

Last edited by kajtek1; 05-30-2018 at 02:45 AM.
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Old 05-30-2018, 11:38 AM
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Just like i was saying before
airmatic is for comfort
and
regular strut is more for a sporty ride , not that airmatic is bad at it , but you cant take corners as good as regular suspension setup. My experience.
other than that it is a very cool option.
easy to lower
adjustable ride
raising a car to go over some bumps and bad part of the roads.

main disadvantage is reliability.

i love it , but not sure if i would wanna get another one with it.
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Old 05-30-2018, 06:16 PM
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2014 E550's are rare enough that you should not let airmatic stop you if you're concerned. If you had two equal candidates and that was the difference, then I understand the question. But I would be focused on other features like 360 parking, lightning package, etc.
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Old 05-31-2018, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by kajtek1 View Post
...delaying proper maintenance.
Based on your comment, I'll modify my contention to a more general statement that Airmatic is more likely to require financial intervention than old-school steel springs. Call it more frequent preventative maintenance or premature failure, but Airmatic seems to have a greater likelihood of costing the owner money. I purposefully bought an E without it, so I've either made a great financial decision and/or am missing out on a better suspension. I may never know!
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Old 05-31-2018, 11:11 AM
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If you do not mind the failure rate once in a blue moon when it happens then get the Airmatic. I had it on my old E550 and it worked great. You can absolutely tell between the 2
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Old 05-31-2018, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Johnny Rad View Post
Based on your comment, I'll modify my contention to a more general statement that Airmatic is more likely to require financial intervention than old-school steel springs. Call it more frequent preventative maintenance or premature failure, but Airmatic seems to have a greater likelihood of costing the owner money. I purposefully bought an E without it, so I've either made a great financial decision and/or am missing out on a better suspension. I may never know!
The real problem with airmatic is that when it fails, you can't drive the car. I think you the warning on the dash that the car is too low. With springs, they slowly wear out so at some point you'd have to decide that the ride is too harsh and it's time for new springs, but you can still drive around on bad springs for a while til you get them replaced. I suppose it could be a maintenance thing, but airmatic could go out at anywhere from 80-120k or even longer. The question is, do you just go ahead and do them at 80k? And because there's several parts, like the compressor and air lines, even if you put in new stuff, there's always a chance you could get a leak in the air lines or the compressor could die and I wouldn't consider those items maintenance items.
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Old 05-31-2018, 02:15 PM
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Guys, one more time thanks for all clarifications about different suspensions. I considered two cars (actually many more! but very seriously 2) to purchase, one is local to me and another like 3-4 hours to drive. Long distance one (I put a link to it in earlier post) has airmatic and desired color palette, local car has simple suspension and black on black, which I wanted less, because I prefer lighter interior. But once I saw it I actually liked it, not bad as I thought for my taste.
Finally I went ahead and bought local one, just couple hours ago and drove it home. Now I proud owner of new (to me) 2014 E550. It has premium 1 and 2 packages, but no airmatic, panoramic roof and parking assistance package. Not bad.
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Old 05-31-2018, 03:45 PM
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Congrats
id probably do the same.

enjoy it.
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Old 05-31-2018, 04:15 PM
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Not having airmatic and pano roof will save you money down the road :B
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