The new Audi A8, due to the end of this year, will incorporate more lightweight technologies that never before in the review of its Audi Space Frame (ASF) architecture.
The bodywork of the Audi flagship will be a hybrid construction composed of four different materials for the first time. These are steel, aluminum, magnesium and carbon fiber, joined by 14 different processes.
Despite Audi’s best efforts to reduce the weight, the new body in white (body, less rolling and computer) weighs 51 kg more than the outgoing model, in 282kg in comparison with 231kg. The dynamic stiffness of the shell is up to 24 per cent, which should help to improve the handling, steering and refinement. The rear-seat passengers get a 28mm increase in the knee and 14 mm increase in the height.
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The weight gain is due to the need for more capable accident of structures in the face of the most stringent crash safety regulations. “The increase is also due to the need to accommodate the new alternative propulsion systems and due to the increase in the specification of our customers want,” said the body engineer, Tim Hämmerle.
Another factor is the sum of the measures of protection relating to hybrid propulsion systems. “Once you add a lithium battery to the battery of a car, you have to think about how to protect yourself in case of an accident,” said Dr. Bernd Miekusch, chief body engineer.
The Audi A8 is expected to be equipped with a 48-volt electrical system and the body has been designed for a full-hybrid systems, something that requires greater protection of the structure of the body. “We have taken into account the possibility of a PHEV version of the A8 as well,” said a spokesman.” The extra weight is unlikely to be due to the new model of growth in size. “There will be significantly larger” than the outgoing model, the spokesman said.
The bulkhead and rear parcel-shelf is made of carbon fiber using a new process developed by Audi and its suppliers with a weight of 2.6 kg, The closure is made with carbon fiber tape placed in different directions by the machine, impregnated with resin and cured in just five minutes. The panel represents only one percent of the total body weight but accounts for 33 percent of the overall stiffness.
The aluminum components take the form of cast parts, profiles and metal sheets. The body also incorporates high-strength steel components and a magnesium cross brace is used at the front of the car to further increase the stiffness.
A series of new manufacturing techniques have refined the B-pillars and structures around the areas of glass creating a more comfortable entry and exit for rear-seat passengers and the improvement of the vision. The new techniques also include remote laser welding, which is 53 percent faster than the previous process of laser welding, uses 50% less heat and produces 25 percent less CO2.
Here is our review of the current generation of the Audi A8
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