has been on the forefront of using aluminum in its cars since the original
debuted in 1994. Since then, the German manufacturer has used what it calls the Audi Space Frame (
) for the mini A2, the
sports car. When the next-generation
debuts in 2010 it will be the first mainstream Audi to make extensive use of aluminum to slash the weight. The new A6 will use an evolution called ASF II that incorporates a mix of aluminum and steel to cut half the weight of the structure while adding more torsional rigidity. The mixed aluminum and steel construction will allow Audi to lightweight metal to slash mass, while keeping the extra cost manageable for the higher volume models. Audi will also incorporate new bonding techniques to enhance the strength of the structure. The same combined structure will be applied to the upcoming
4 door coupe and the next A8. A major beneficiary of the new construction method will be the new
. The current Q7 weighs over 5,000lbs but the ASF II should help the next version drop nearly 700lbs.