Audi is developing the groundwork for an entirely new way of building its cars. The future for the four rings is light weight, giving it the proper base to support the best hybrid and electric cars, as well as extract the most from its traditional offerings.
As previously reported, the first example from the test lab is an S5 that is 400 kg -- yes, 880 pounds -- lighter than a traditional S5. Whereas the conventional S5 uses a 354 hp V8, the experimental utilizes a 230 hp four-cylinder, yet laps the 'Ring a humongous eight seconds faster than the V8. The test, of course, is to make such technology cost feasible to consumers and safe to boot.
The reduced calorie S5 is a hybrid steel and aluminum body built over a spaceframe, but Audi didn't say what the spaceframe was composed of. One hopes that they haven't started off with something unobtanium, and that given time, VW group scale could keep the price within a single-digit percent of the current car. If Audi does manage to get the light weight, safety, and affordability equation correct, that could make them... Lotus.