You've got options, Part V: Adaptive air suspension with PASM

You've got options, Part V: Adaptive air suspension with PASM 0
Panamera double-track arm front axle with adaptive air suspension. Image courtesy Porsche
You've got options, Part V: Adaptive air suspension with PASM 1
Panamera multi-arm rear axle with adaptive air suspension. Image courtesy Porsche

So you want to buy a Cayenne or Panamera, but don’t know which performance-enhancing options to check. Complicating matters, many of the most popular and useful factory performance upgrades — ceramic composite brakes, electronic anti-roll bars, air suspension — cost thousands of dollars each. How do you know which options work for you?

Be prepared when you walk into the dealership for a test drive: Educate yourself. Knowing the functions of the various optional equipment is crucial to knowing what you need and what you want. If you have a clear understanding of your needs in a Porsche, you can specify the car that best fits your lifestyle — and stays within your budget. In the case of the Panamera and Cayenne, some performance options can only be had if you check the option box for adaptive air suspension, which, fortunately, is a worthy addition to any four-door Porsche.

About a month ago we covered Porsche Active Suspension Management. Those interested in opting for the air suspension should be happy to know that PASM is included in the package. Last week we covered Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus, which, conversely, can only be optioned on Panameras if they’re getting air-suspension, but can be ordered separately on Cayennes. It might seem like fuzzy logic, but keep in mind that Porsche maximizes profit margins by selling options, and that can dictate how they’re offered.

Adaptive air suspension with PASM

911 Carrera: N/A
911 Carrera S: N/A
Boxster & Boxster S: N/A
Cayman & Cayman S: N/A
Cayenne models: $3,980
Panamera models: $3,980

What’s the best way to improve the ride and handling of a new Cayenne or Panamera? Equip it with Porsche’s adaptive air suspension with PASM. It’s standard on the S Hybrid and Turbo (S) Cayennes and Panameras, but should be a serious consideration for those who are looking at base and S models that come standard with steel coil springs.

The air-ride suspension is a versatile system because of the variable spring and damper rates and electronically adjustable ride height, which can be adapted to your driving style with the press of a button. Fear not another steep driveway or your favorite twisty road or waking the baby: The air-springs can fill up to gain ground clearance, deflate to lower the car and its center of gravity – which helps ingress and egress almost as well as the vehicle’s handling – and the ride can be softened to isolate the interior from the majority of outside noise, vibration, and harshness. In a review of the Panamera 4S (Excellence, April 2011), author Pete Stout went as far to say, “I wouldn’t consider a Panamera without [adaptive air suspension]. On conventional springs, Porsche’s first sedan feels significantly less special, less magical.”

So, if versatility and performance are high on your list of priorities for your next four-door Porsche, and it’s not a hybrid or turbocharged, check the box for air suspension. Particularly if you want PDCC (and PTV Plus on the Panamera), you have to check the air suspension box first.

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