Audi Suspension System Explained(how Audi’s Adaptive Suspension Works)

In this brief article we are going to discuss the different Audi Suspension types, their features, and how these systems work.

Audi’s are world renowned for their performance and handling. And many people would agree, even if you don’t know which car you’re driving, you can definitely feel it when you are in an Audi. So what is it that differentiates an Audi from the rest of the competition? A major part of the answer lies in the design of the front suspension. For those who have attempted repairs to an Audi or Volkswagen’s front suspension and wondered why it has to be so complicated, then there lies a clue.

Latest Innovation “Predictive Active Suspension”

The “Predictive active suspension” is a high-tech innovation for the Audi A8 luxury sedan currently offered by Audi. Depending on the driver-selected settings, this suspension system can give the A8 either an extremely plush ride quality or the firm handling of a sports car. 

AUDI’s Predictive active suspension found in the Audi A8 is, quite literally, a fully active suspension system. This suspension has electro-mechanical actuators that can adjust the ride height of the suspension springs. The actuators can either raise or lower each of the car’s wheels, so as to actively manage the body’s ride height in every kind of terrain or incline situation. The active suspension is capable of raising or lowering the car’s body to a range of 85 millimeters from its mean position independently at each of the 4 suspensions all within a 0.5 second interval.

What type of suspension does Audi use?

Audi uses the following Basic types of suspension:

Front

  • MacPherson Strut Front Suspension

The MacPherson Strut is not too common among Audi’s. The Audi TT has this type of suspension. A MacPherson strut/damper is constructed such that it becomes one more link in the front suspension. It is an alternate to the upper and lower control arm layout, where the shock is mounted independently from the arms. 

In a MacPherson strut type of design, the strut is a crucial component of the suspension assembly. The major advantages of a MacPherson Strut suspension are:

 -it has less parts, 

 -occupies less space and 

 -is particularly suited to the tight packaging space of a small hatchback car. 

But a MacPherson is a bit difficult to optimize its geometric parameters for high performance handling, due to limited available hardpoints and their movement constraints.

  • Double-wishbone front suspension

Double wishbone suspension allows vertical wheel movement  by using two wishbones (also known as control arms or A-arms) that are located between the knuckle on the wheel assembly and the car’s chassis. The double-wishbone front suspension is found in the Audi R8 as well as the Audi Q7. The basic difference is that the Q7 uses Air-springs instead of steel springs.

  • Front Multi-link or Five-Link Suspension

This is the most commonly used type of Audi suspension. The reasoning behind this is to have multiple joints between the chassis and wheel. Unlike a MacPherson front suspension, with just a control arm and strut and the Double-wishbone with 2 Control Arms, the Multi-Link suspension systems use upto 5 control arms.

The Audi Multi-Link suspension design has 4 control arms each side (two upper arms and two lower arms), a strut assembly, and a steering arm, totalling 5. With these many contact points, the camber, caster, and toe now have a wide range of adjustability even on rough road and under heavy acceleration and braking. The Five-link is found in most of the larger model lines like the new A6.

Rear

  • Double Wishbone Rear Suspension

The Double-wishbone rear is, in-principle, the same as the Double-wishbone front. The only differences would be geometry points tuned to the requirements of the rear in terms of Toe, Caster and Camber. This is an independent rear suspension that allows the rear wheels to move independently of each other. IT is mainly used in the Audi R8.

  • Four-link rear suspension

A four-link rear suspension uses Upper-links to locate the axle from moving side to side and Lower Trailing-arms to restrict the axle from moving front to back. Overall, this arrangement allows the whole axle to to travel up and down and also articulate or roll. This Solid-axle type of suspension is found in the Audi TT quattro.

  • Self-tracking trapezoidal-link rear suspension.

The self-tracking trapezoidal-link rear suspension configuration system is designed for a high level of torsional and bending stiffness. The control arm takes up a great deal of the forces acting on the wheel, in combination with the tie bar further to the rear in giving the axle its elasto kinematic movement path. 

All wheel guidance components are hinged using rubber/metal mounts to the elastically mounted axle subframe. Vibrations on the axle are therefore being dampened and isolated from the car body. Four large, hydraulic damping mounts, in turn, also help to keep the body free of vibrations. This type of rear suspension is seen in many larger model lines like the Audi A6.

How does Audi dynamic or Adaptive suspension work?

AUDI’s Adaptive or Dynamic suspension works in the following manner.

The Dynamic Suspension is an Adaptive Suspension functionality of the “Dynamic” mode within AUDI’s “Drive Select” System. Drive Select will customize throttle response, suspension dampening, and steering feel with a dial or via the MultiMedia-Interactive (MMI) touch-screen menu. The Drive Select functionality is a holistic system that shifts the entire behavior of the vehicle based on the driver selecting any of the Drive Select modes.

The Primary Audi Drive Select Modes are:

Dynamic :

 

The priorities in this mode are Precise control and responsiveness. Throttle response is quickened and gear shifts happen at higher RPMs. The steering feel is also stiffened to allow for more accurate steering input.

In the Dynamic Mode the Suspension will undergo these changes.

  • When the Drive Select System is set to ‘Dynamic’ the ESC is given the Modular damping Characteristics algorithm. At the same time, the system receives “Real-Time” inputs from the level sensors and Acceleration sensors (road profile inputs).
  • With these inputs, the DCC control Unit controls each individual damper’s settings.
  • Each Damper is Dynamically controlled and adjusted every few milliseconds, in Real-time, all with the intention to make the vehicle behave in a ‘Dynamic’ or ‘Sporty’ Manner

The valve within the damper is Electromagnetically moved instantaneously so as to alter Damping flow-rate

Comfort :

Comfort mode makes the suspension feel Softer by adjusting the Damping. It also loosens the steering wheel resistance work to dampen the road feedback to the wheel. Electronic throttle is relaxed and transmission is set to shift gears at lower RPMs.

Auto :

A balanced setting that is well suited for regular everyday use. It focuses on balancing comfort and performance.

Individual : 

This is a driver customizable mode, wherein you can Fine tune a comfort or performance focused mode, or save your own  settings combination

There are some additional Audi Drive Select Modes depending on your particular Audi model.

Conclusion

In this brief article have discussed the different types of Audi Suspension, their features, and how these systems work.

If you have any questions or comments please let us know.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): 

Does Audi have good suspension?

In terms of Ride Comfort, Audi’s A8 luxury sedan, can very well compete with the world’s best cars. Although the ride tends to be a bit firm at low speeds, it still delivers high standards overall. The suspension is capable of  absorbing severe bumps, with the most minimal amount of body movement. The highway ride quality, on the other hand, is very smooth.

 

What is the Audi adaptive suspension?

The Audi Adaptive Suspension is a functionality within the “Drive Select” system. The Drive Select is a holistic system that shifts the entire behavior of the vehicle based on the driver selecting any of the Drive Select modes.

The adaptive damper control has a basic three damper characteristics to enable the driver to experience a whole range of the vehicle responses while driving.

Comfort: Gives a suspension that is focussed on providing a comfortable ride. It achieves this by adjusting the damping characteristics to react softer based on the vehicle motion and accelerations.

Dynamic: Gives a suspension that is focussed on providing a sporty handling feel. It achieves this by adjusting the damping characteristics to react harder based on the vehicle motion and accelerations and maintain extreme dynamic control during cornering.

Auto :

Gives a balanced damper setting that is well suited for regular everyday use. It focuses on balancing ride comfort and handling performance.

What is the Audi sport suspension?

The Audi Sport Suspension is a suspension system that is specifically tuned to sit 10 to 20 millimetres lower as compared to a normal suspension on the same vehicle, with harder springs and dampers. Sport suspension is a special feature that is available only on select Audi’s. This feature is most useful for those looking to drive their Audi on a track and extract every last bit of performance from the car. 

References 

Audi MediaCenter A8 Suspension Updates Official Page

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