A lightweight Audi A5 Coupe prototype has lost over 220 lbs by swapping steel for advanced aluminum and carbon construction. Audi engineers did this to improve fuel economy, emissions reduction and handling. The A5 project is the latest example of work undertaken by the Vorsprung durch Technik brand.
Taking an existing steel-bodied production car as its basis, the A5 project car clearly demonstrates the benefits of the aluminum Audi Space Frame (ASF) concept with which Audi discovered 15 years ago. Use of the ASF principle reduces the weight of a car body by at least 40% compared with conventional steel, and this shows in a curb weight of 2888 lbs for the prototype, versus 3131 lbs for the equivalent steel-bodied model.
Thanks to the significant weight loss, the A5 prototype is able to use a four-cylinder engine to deliver performance similar to a V6.
The lightweight design of the test car not only enables a smaller engine to supplement a larger one with no impact on performance and gains in economy and emissions, but also has a knock-on effect on the brakes and transmission, which can also be reduced in size and weight. It also enables the car to change direction noticeably more nimbly and ride with even more refinement.