Making new cars is becoming more and more complicated. Companies have to think about competition, new automotive trends and a huge list of official requirements and regulation. One thing is for sure – new cars have to be better than previous generations and it really is not easy when your company is called Audi.
Audi cars in terms of quality are one of the best in the market – there is no doubt about that. They are extremely reliable, efficient, comfortable and built with a lot of attention to detail. It is especially true when it comes to the large executive saloon A8. How do you make it better when time comes to introduce a new model? Well, Audi has to resort to fixing small intricate details.
Audi Space Frame is the backbone of all brand’s cars – it is a structure, to which all major components are bolted on. It has to be extremely rigid and strong, as it is needed for the safety of the car as well. So when you want to improve entire car, space frame is a good place to start. For the next generation of Audi A8 company decided to use a mix of aluminium, steel, magnesium and carbon fibre-reinforced polymer. The right material, in the right place and at the right amount will assure that space frame is as light as possible, yet very rigid and safe.
The sills on either side of passenger cell, A and B pillars are made of hot-shaped steel, which varies in thickness, depending on what function it needs to perform. Conventional steel extends to engine compartment, where it is connected to an aluminium profile, in order to provide rigid securing points for the powertrain. Cast aluminium parts are used throughout the car to connect various components together and sheet aluminium becomes the floor panels and braces across the roof. There is also a magnesium strut brace for stiffness. Carbon fibre-reinforced polymer separates luggage compartment from the passenger cell.
14 different joining processes are going to be used to manufacture the new A8. Audi developed a completely unique remote laser welding for use with aluminium, which reduces hot cracking. The entire process is more efficient and accurate.
Of course, the new A8 will also have an aluminium body and extremely luxurious cabin. Changes in the exterior styling, as always, are going to be very subtle. Powertrain should also move to the direction of efficiency and eco-friendliness, which will also be helped by reduced weight.