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Lean Mean Audi TT

Lean Mean Audi TT

Car manufacturers have known for a long time that making a car lighter also makes it better. An instant performance increase without any engine modifications. In recent years the use of aluminium and carbon fibre has been extensive. Now Audi have taken a big step forward with the TT Ultra Quattro. Sadly just a concept for now, it could signal a new direction for the manufacture of automobiles. Lightness is good. Lightness is green.

The TT concept will be shown at the Worthersee Festival in Austria, early in May. Audi have managed to shed an astonishing 300kg from the closest equivalent production model which in turn has boosted performance from the 2.0L TFSI engine. The traffic light sprint is covered in a sparkling 4.2 seconds and the top speed is 173mph.

This is thanks to the construction which includes some materials with very long names. Here goes: Carbon Fibre-Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) and Fibreglass-Reinforced Polymer (FRP) are embellished with a touch of magnesium and it all goes into reducing the weight of the body shell alone by 100kg.

Audi are showing that by utilising an intelligent mix of materials, weight savings are possible even on existing production models. It would certainly help with cost savings on low volume production cars. Although no extra power from the engine is specifically performance derived, modifications to the crankcase and crankshaft, the balancer shafts and flywheel, the sump and other bits and pieces have all served to reduce the engine weight by an amazing 25kg.

No detail escaped the Audi engineers. FRP even replaces steel for the coil springs. The core of these springs consists of long glass fibres which have been impregnated with epoxy resin. Around this very thin core additional fibres at alternating angles. These layers support each other and act when the spring is under load. The operating characteristics are unchanged from the steel counterparts – what is changed is, again, the weight; they’re forty percent lighter.

As can be seen from the image a large motor sport style spoiler enhances the emphatic styling, as do the FRP bucket seats pinched from the R8 GT. Audi, it has to be said, have done it again by enhancing a car that has been around in various forms since 1998. It looks like a new lease of life for the TT and let’s all hope that this car – or something very similar – goes into production in the not too distant future.

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- who has written 474 posts on Motor Blogger.

Geoff is a freelance writer and photographer.

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