Big, strong, safe and yet amazingly lightweight – the aluminum body once again sets new standards. Its low weight is a key factor for the outstanding driving dynamics, exemplary efficiency and very good comfort of the new A8. Audi, the lightweight design pioneer of the automotive industry, again demonstrates its leadership role.
Fifteen years ago the four rings brand introduced the technology of the Audi Space Frame (ASF) into production – with the first A8 generation. ASF has proven its merit outstandingly; and now Audi is again using it in a much more advanced form. In its basic design the ASF body brings a latticed framework to mind. Its skeleton comprises extruded sections and pressure diecast parts of aluminum. The aluminum panels – such as the roof panels and the side panels – are joined by friction connections.
Depending on their tasks, the components of the ASF body fully differ in shape and cross-sectional area. For example, the A-pillar nodes of the new A8 – one of 25 castings in the body – interconnect the longitudinal member, the sill, the omega cross-member, the windshield crossmember, the roof frame and the suspension strut mount. The lateral roof frame, on the other hand, is formed by a single extruded section; its cross-section changes flexibly from the A-pillar to the C-pillar.
Audi has substantially increased the strength of the higher-strength body components in the new A8, thereby significantly reducing both material thickness and weight.
One of the keys for this is a novel composite material for the aluminum panels. The use of this new, high-strength aluminum alloy alone enabled a weight saving of 6.5 kilograms (14.33 lb).
High stiffness, low vibrations
Besides the low weight, the ASF body of the A8 has many other strengths. The static torsional stiffness has increased by 25 percent compared with the predecessor, already a leader in the field; it forms the basis for the precise, dynamic handling. In terms of lightweight quality — the relationship between weight, torsional stiffness and size — the body achieved an improvement of 20 percent. The ASF principle ensures comfortably low levels of vibrations and impressive quietness on board for that typical Audi feeling.
The new A8 glides calmly, sleekly and quietly through the wind. The 4.2 FSI version has a drag coefficient of only 0.26, with the frontal area measuring 2.41 m2 (25.94 square ft). Low lift coefficients at the front and rear axles ensure confident stability at highway speeds. The luxury sedan also once again leads its class in wind noise comfort.
Audi regards the development of a new vehicle as a holistic mission. The overall energy balance sheet covering the entire vehicle life reveals the new A8 achieves better results than its predecessor with respect to all important environmental criteria, including CO2 emissions. The crucial factor is the phase of use, where in particular the new, highly efficient engines play a positive role. Aluminum is also superior to steel as a body material with respect to CO2 thanks to its excellent recycling properties.
The equipment, data, and prices specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.