New Audi A8: heavy lightweight

Neckarsulm, Germany, 5 April 2017

Audi uses an intelligent mix of several materials for the first time in the next generation of the A8 in the load-bearing structure of the body. What developments behind stuck, what consequences this will have for the driving performance and comfort and why the fifth generation of the upper-class model is still severe? We have searched for answers. In the development center and the new production halls in Neckarsulm, Germany.

The history of the Audi space frame

In September 1993, Audi on the auto show IAA in Frankfurt anyway but still study titled showed the first A8, which was indeed ready. But not the shiny silver polishing made so the car especially, but the base. Although the manufacturer already since 1988 (at that time based on the Audi V8) experimented with a body made of aluminium, it took until the year 1994, until the material in the upper class with the A8 in series. 334 aluminium parts totaled at the time to a weight of only 249 kg. The Audi space frame was born and he was steadily developed from generation to generation.

Four materials in the meaningful mix

Now is the D5 series in the starting blocks and aluminum is still the most widely used material with a share of 58 percent. And the other 42 percent? Here, Audi sets for the first time on a mix of material from three other materials: the safety cell is not only made of aluminium, but also conventional and hot-formed steel, the strut is made of magnesium, the back wall of the Fund of carbon is made. So some pounds should can be saved, or? Because alone the new strut is Yes 28 percent lighter than the previous aluminium. Dalton, because although Timm Hämmerle from the Audi lightweight Center assures us that according to the motto "the right stuff in the right quantity and at the right place" was taken every A8 body is "the product of their times" happen. And while in the reference on that at this time standards in terms of stiffness, comfort and safety.

Harder, stiffer and a product of his time

While the body of its predecessor so 231 kilos on the scales, the generation of the D5 has 282 kilograms on the hips. In addition, the new A8 by 24 percent has become torsion. This should be noticeable for the inmates through a better handling, reduced noise and less vibration. Speaking of Interior: because Audi not only on the mix of materials researches, but also new ways to efficiently combine the different materials, a technology called hemming is used around the opening of the door entry. The compact combination of steel and aluminium increased the doors by 14 millimeters in height and 36 millimeters in width. Facilitated not only the entry, the field of vision improved to five degrees.

Optics views of Erlkönig photos

Conclusions on the future size and the new design of the luxury sedan can change by the way is not really based on a raw body without attachment parts. Only the rear fenders with the recesses for the rear lights were already installed in the demo-A8 to demonstrate the even narrower edge radii of Aludruckteile. But already, a very little-disguised A8 in front of the lens is shut our Erlkönig photographer, can already be said that the elegant lines of the 2014 the study of "Prologue" is well developed. So it is not only the continuous band of lights at the rear that actually combines both rear lights in the series make.

The A8 is electrically at least partly

And the drives? Several motors are conceivable for the new flagship: the important Chinese market could enjoy a top model with 6.0 liter W12 gasoline engine and more than 600 HP from the Bentley Bentayga. The engine should be a 3.0-liter V6 diesel with 272 HP. Also, the previous 4.2 TDI is probably replaced by the drive from the SQ7. There electric compressor complement a 4.0-litre V8, the performance is 435 HP. In addition, Audi admits that the new A8 generation part is electrified. Are possible here is a 3.0-liter diesel-plug-in-hybrid with a system capacity of 373 HP and a 2.0 litre gasoline plug-in hybrid with 367 horsepower.

New production hall and the future

"Premium in pure form", enthuses Michael Bani, Director of manufacturing and factory planning in Neckarsulm, Germany, about the new A8. And Yes, the BMW 7 series and Mercedes S class opponents should be better good, because Audi has taken a lot of money in the hands of the flagship. That not only many euros in the pure development were invested, also a new production hall with 50,000 square meters and 500 robots on three levels of production has been raised for the construction of the body. Is the final product ultimately look like technical data and which prices can be expected? On 11 July, Audi shows the new A8 in Barcelona. Then we will know more. (ml)