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      02-12-2014, 09:59 AM   #56

Drives: No BMW for now
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Canton, MI

iTrader: (1)

Originally Posted by Racer20 View Post
The Merc technology uses an ACTIVE suspension, as compared to the SEMI-active that most other cars use. The difference is that active suspension can add force to the system: it can raise or lower the car under its own power to counteract road inputs or body motions. A SEMI-active system can only damp energy that's put into the system by outside forces (road inputs, driver inputs, etc).

A full active system uses hydraulic (or electromagnetic) actuators rather than shock absorbers, and requires quite a bit of energy to work, either via electrical current or hydraulic pressure from a pump (reduced mpg). There's also the additional cost, weight, and complexity of the hardware. It'll be a while before that type of system makes its way down market, and it's not as well suited to a sports car as it is to a big luxury vehicle.
Right, yeah, I understand the fundamental difference between the two. My point was that the fully active setup seems to have promise in adding drastically improved ride characteristics, and in theory handling too. The end result, if the demonstration videos I've seen are an indicator of what is possible in practice, is that the car will be able to do things to the experience that are simply impossible to do with a passive suspension. In other words, while I could probably fool someone who isn't in the know about what kind of suspension the car they are riding in has (passive or semi-active), with the fully active thing, I think it would be blatantly obvious.