An active suspension is a computer-controlled suspension system that raises and lowers the vehicle’s body independently at each wheel to match changing road or dynamic conditions.

Similar in effect to adaptive suspensions, which vary shock absorber firmness to control ride quality and body movement, true active suspensions utilize powerful, fast-acting actuators in addition to or in place of conventional steel springs and shocks or struts. Because they literally raise and lower the vehicle’s chassis independently at all four corners rather than simply firming and softening the shocks or struts, they are more effective in controlling body roll — and are considerably more expensive.

One of the most notable systems is Mercedes-Benz’s Active Body Control (ABC) on the SL-Class and S-Class models, which delivers astonishingly flat body control that bests any conventional active suspension, even in aggressive turns.

Information for this was taken from the’s glossary, written by Joe Wiesenfelder.

Learn more

Answered by Joe Bruzek on September 25, 2008 in Glossary | Permalink

Search Results Search Results for


See if your question has already been asked and answered

Thank You!

Your question has been successfully submitted to It will now be reviewed by our editors and we'll answer it soon if we think it's a useful question. You will be notified via e-mail when the answer is posted. tackles your questions about new cars and the car-buying process. Unfortunately we can't answer questions regarding:

  • Used cars.
  • Most aftermarket products.
  • Mechanical issues. You can visit our friends at Car Talk to discuss your mechanical problems.
Thanks for your interest.


Have our experts answer any of your questions about new cars.

Email us at

Maintenance Advice
Get answers from the
Car Talk Community