Audi has taken a different route when they previewed the next-generation A8. Instead of showing a teaser photo, the German automaker has revealed the car's all-new chassis.
Dubbed the Audi Spaceframe, it uses a mix of aluminum, steel, magnesium and carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP). When bonded together, Audi claims a lighter, more rigid architecture compared to the soon to be outgoing model. This way of lightening the chassis has also been employed by BMW with the Carbon Core chassis in the 7 Series and 5 Series.
Most of the CFRP can be found at the rear of the car. It consists of six to nineteen layers of CFRP placed one on top of the other, each measuring 50 mm thick. According to Audi, this carbon fiber panel allows to car to absorb more forces due to its flexibility and rigidity. They add that the panel alone contributes to 33 percent of the car's overall structural rigidity.
There is more CFRP to be found on the side sills and the firewall of the next-generation A8. The car will also use high-tensile steel for the hard points of the car while the rest of the chassis uses aluminum. These will all be bonded together with laser welding techniques. The 2018 Audi A8 is entering its final stages of development which our spies have been closely following. Audi chief designer Marc Lichte also previewed the front fascia of the car, along with the A6 and A7, last month.
As a whole, the all-new A8, internally known as the D5, uses Volkswagen Auto Group's latest modular platform called the MLB Evo. It is currently seeing service in the recently introduced Audi A4, Audi Q7 and Bentley Bentayga. This modular architecture will also underpin the next-generation Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg. The engine lineup is yet to be confirmed but do expect a range of turbocharged gas and diesel models, as well as a plug-in hybrid variant.