Air suspension is the love/hate trend that’s been sweeping the Euro scene for the past few years. For many, it’s plain cheating, achieving the perfect stance with none of the skill of getting it there. While for others, that’s the reason they use it – getting the perfect stance with none of the hassle!
In the past we’ve featured countless cars with air suspension and even installed it on our Project Silverstone GTI (et 6/10) to both show how it’s done and explore how it works – there’s even a couple of videos at eurotuner.com
For our GTI, we used components from Air Lift since the company is one of the most prominent on the Euro scene, working hard to develop new model applications rather than selling universal components.
With 62 years in the air suspension industry, Air Lift aims for a combination of lowered height and smooth ride combined with good handling. In fact, its recently launched Audi Performance kit uses new monotube dampers with 30 clicks of adjustment, threaded-collar static ride height adjustment and progressive-rate air springs.
So when the company informed us MJM Autohaus in San Antonio, TX would be fitting an Air Lift kit to its ’05 B6 Audi A4 1.8Tq, we decided to see for ourselves.
There are many cars that could benefit from air suspension but the B6/B7 A4, with its muscular arches, crisp styling and independent suspension is a perfect recipient.
The test vehicle belonged to MJM owner, Kelly Madden. As VW/Audi enthusiasts, his shop supplies all sorts of go-fast parts including suspension products from B&G, Eibach, H&R, Koni and Neuspeed. In fact, the A4 was already on Koni coilovers and looked pretty good with its staggered 19" BBS LMs, Oettinger body kit, StopTech BBK, etc.
We were keen to see how the new air-ride would stack up to the tried and trusted coilovers Kelly had used for four years without complaint. His car is a serious performer with its APR stage 3+ GT28RS turbo and he didn’t want to lose the great handling he’d come to love.
When it comes to installing air suspension, a major portion of time is spent on the control system. Some guys treat it like an audio system, using false floors, fancy paint and exposed lines to show it off, while others prefer a simpler approach. Obviously, one takes significantly longer, so the level of difficulty varies. Yet essentially, if you can swap shocks and wire a stereo, you’re qualified to install air suspension!