The Audi A8 limousine and Audi Q7 SUV, the German brand’s biggest models, will lose significant weight for their next-generation models.
“The Q7 will be a steel and aluminium combination, though it will make big steps in weight – up to 300kg,” said Audi chief technical officer Dr Ulrich Hackenberg.
The reduction in mass isn’t as impressive as the 400kg-odd saving made by the latest Range Rover in its switch to a new all-aluminium body, though it will undoubtedly still bring advantages in performance, handling and fuel efficiency for the Q7 that currently weighs between 2.2 and 2.5 tonnes.
Dr Hackenberg describes the carbonfibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP) used in the new R8 as the “central bones” of the car. It is focused around the occupant cell, floor, sills, centre tunnel, rear bulkhead and B-pillars, bonding with the aluminium used for front and rear sections of the car through highly advanced glues and stainless steel rivets.
The new Audi R8 supercar goes on sale in 2015 along with the Q7. The next A8 is due in 2016.