Audi R8 cut-awayEnlarge Photo
Carbon fiber is the ready answer to much of the automotive industry's weight-reducing quest, but sometimes it's not the only answer. In the case of the next Audi R8, it will be part of the answer--as will aluminum.
Due in 2014, the second generation of the R8 will get a hybrid aluminum and carbon fiber structure, says Michael Dick, head of development at Audi, according to Automobilwoche (subscription required). That might seem like an odd choice given Audi's close corporate relationship to Lamborghini, which has a full carbon fiber monocoque with the new Aventador--and considering the likes of the competition at McLaren--but Dick says the combination of the two materials may end up being even better.
While the hybrid construction will also be less expensive, Dick says it will also be lighter than a monocoque. By combining the two materials strategically, the next R8's tub will weigh about 45 pounds less than the current version's 490 pounds. The suspension, engine components, body work, and electronics will also go on a diet as Audi seeks to make the next R8 the lightest in its class--partially to catch up with another VW Group car, the 2012 Porsche 911, which is about 350 pounds lighter than the current R8.