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2009 Audi A4 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Over the course of the last 20 years, each new Audi model has weighed around 10 percent more than its predecessor, but that all changed when the all-new 2009 Audi A4 (B8) debuted last year. The mid-size sedan gained less than 100 pounds over the previous model (B7), despite growing in every possible dimension. And when the next A4 arrives in five year's time, Audi claims it will weigh less than the current model.

Heinrich Timm, head of Audi's Lightweight Design Center, told us earlier today that the next generation A4 – likely due out in 2015 – will shed some 150 kg (330 pounds) over the B8. The move to drop the A4's curb weight is part of a larger initiative by Audi to reduce the tonnage of its future vehicles by using more aluminum, innovative structural techniques and composites.

And the benefits of weight reduction aren't just limited to fuel consumption and emissions. As any gearhead knows, weight affects every aspect of the vehicle's dynamics – from handling to braking to acceleration. For every 220 pounds lost, a vehicle can accelerate to 60 mph in 20 fewer feet. Lose 440 pounds and the amount of runway saved nearly doubles.

While other automakers are employing high tensile steel to increase rigidity and reduce weight, the stuff costs nearly three-times more than a normal stamped piece. By limiting the use of tensile steel, the overall cost savings will allow Audi to utilize more exotic materials – carbon fiber in particular – to reduce weight and further enhance the driving experience.

As the father of the spaceframe, Timm knows all too well that weight reduction is the key to the next generation of automobiles. Not only will it decrease fuel consumption, increase safety and pay dividends for the driver, it's the only way automakers can simultaneously meet new emission standards while delivering the content and driving experience customers expect. Timm says, "We want to bring it to a higher volume," and the next generation A4 is sure to be the first in a long line of lightened Audis.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      As long as they keep a big ole honkin Nav screen in the center stack. I wouldn't want SimpleCar to not have anything to whine about.
      • 4 Years Ago
      You'd think BMW would be the first to claim this since they're the ultimate driving machine.

      Audi is gaining more credibility every year, and those taunting commercials aren't doing BMW any favors.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yes, it appears Autoblog corrects the errors in their writing while deleting the comment(s) that pointed them out.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hmm, I'm thinking the comment I was trying to reply to is now gone. Seems strangely out of place now.

      • 4 Years Ago
      It's not just how much it weighs, but where the weight is that's important - down low and near the center of the car to minimize it's moment of inertia, not suspended in front of the front wheels!
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Skyline did quite well. It's not that big a deal. Let's not act like using integrated parts is about anything other than cost savings.
        • 4 Years Ago
        How else do you get power to the front wheels in a longitudinal car, with decent geometry? The front differential is in the front of the transaxle case, both on Audis and on Subarus.

        Most other cars with a divorced front differential, have to have complicated setups, diverting the front axle THROUGH the engine oil sump, as well as shortened axle lengths, shortened suspension travel, and wide turning radius, due to the short, and possibly unequal length front axle shafts.

        Transverse applications, with offset differential ouputs, also behind the engine, tend toward the same thing. asymmetrical layout, with short axle-shaft and suspension arm lengths tends to do that. Suspension travel changes the driveline and suspension arm angles more severely that way, per inch of vertical wheel travel.

        Audis except the transverse TT and the mid-engined R8, as well as Subarus will continue to be front-engined by necessity. The same reason that 997 can be AWD, but Cayman and Boxster really don't suit it as easily.

        R8 and Gallardo have complex driveline routing around the engine, toward the front of the car, and you don't see that very often, nor in cars with more than two seats.
      • 4 Years Ago
      New to the world of cars much? Automakers tend to announce plans for future generations when they begin developing them
      • 4 Years Ago
      That statement about accelerating to 60 in 20 fewer feet...I hope assuming that all other parameters are held constant...i.e. tire size, compund, road conditions etc.
      • 4 Years Ago
      that's almost the weight of a full grown american!
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'd honestly rather accelerate to 60mph in 20 LESS feet if I lost 220lbs personally, but maybe that's just me?

      Disregarding the obvious error there, losing double the weight doesn't necessarily mean that the acceleration distance will drop by an equal amount. Consider that doubling horsepower doesn't mean that you will drop your 0-60 time by half either.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If you've been paying any attention to automotive blogs lately, BMW is investing heavily to open a plant here in the US focused on producing carbon fiber components for their vehicles. Their intention being of course that if CF is produced large scale, it can be made cheap enough to introduce in their entire lineup. So yes, the ultimate driving machine is making strides towards weight reduction. I'd rather see real progress instead of banter from Audi. Composites are the future.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yes we've been paying attention, and that is great news-- may help the CF market for every brand and product category.

        Both Audi and BMW are showing intent only, so far-- Audi with an experimental car and an announcement, and BMW by buying a factory. But the intent is in the right direction.

        You seem to suggest that Audi isn't using CF, but there doesn't seem to be anything to support that idea. And the article above specifically suggests they will.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Wow, April 28th was a story about BMW using carbon fiber on its future cars, then April 29th was a story about Mercedes using carbon fiber on its future cars, now May 11th has Audi talking about using carbon fiber on its future cars. So unique, all of you.
      • 4 Years Ago
      700 lbs lighter than the '11 s60? Nice! Audis still on a roll, the a4 @ gti weights? Awesome... Looks like bmw might need to try again
      • 4 Years Ago
      So we have to wait 4 years for this overweight turd to lose 300 lbs?

      Nice Audi....great engineering.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Most German cars are overweight turds...so I don't think much of the 328i either. What's this fascination about who's car can weight a fraction less and get to 60 all the time?

        According to Audi's website, the Multitronic Front-Track is 3500lbs and BMW's 328i comes in at 3428lbs. So I'm not sure where you're getting your figures. The Quattro Audi is over 3700lbs.

        • 4 Years Ago
        over weight turd? the a4 has awd, the 328 does not, yet the a4 is only 100lbs heavier and hits sixty only .1 seconds slower? man i'd hate to hear what you think of the 328i.
      • 4 Years Ago
      2015??????? Gee and we though GM usually announces its achievements too early.
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