Aluminum: Performance Perfected
Ferrari 458 Italia. Tesla S. Mercedes Benz SL. Audi A8. Jaguar XJ. Acura NSX. The winning secret for these and other dream machines is not just under the hood… it’s under the paint.
When highly exacting engineers perfected these cars to be among the world’s top performing, they didn’t start with carbon fiber and they certainly didn’t use steel. They selected advanced aluminum body designs to decrease weight and increase performance. Aluminum simply builds a better car.
All other factors equal, cars designed to be lighter with aluminum accelerate more quickly, brake in shorter distances and handle the corners better than their heavier, less-efficient counterparts. The aluminum successes applied in limited production, high performance cars increasingly are being applied to high volume family sedans, pickups, SUV and even minivans because every vehicle benefits from the optimized performance that aluminum delivers.
Aluminum Performance Advantages:
- Vehicles made lighter with aluminum accelerate faster, brake in shorter distances and handle better.
- The rigidity of aluminum structures provides drivers with a better feel for the road and provides more rapid and precise control.
- Aluminum allows vehicles to experience better stability and response.
- Aluminum’s design flexibility allows designers to engineer optimum shape and performance for each specific application.
The eco-friendly all-electric Tesla Model S uses aluminum to help counter electric battery weight and travel farther, allowing it to compete in its class with a distinctive performance advantage.
Take a look at these other vehicles that rely on 500 pounds of aluminum or more to help deliver peak performance:
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL is built almost entirely out of aluminum, shedding about 275 pounds from the previous model, though increasing its size to be 2 inches longer and 2.4 inches wider.
The 2012 Lexus CT 200h, an EPA fuel economy leader, features aluminum components including engine parts, wheels, hood and rear cargo door, and delivers an impressive 42 mpg combined/43 mpg city/40 mpg highway.
Setting to re-launch in 2014, the Acura NSX concept shown at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show features an aluminum body structure, body panels, suspension and engine. The vehicle has a long history with aluminum; in fact, it was the first production car to feature aluminum construction for many applications.
BMW’s sixth-generation 5 series utilizes aluminum in the body, engine, doors, hood, brakes, front fenders and suspension to increase efficiency while maintaining high performance standards.
Audi continues its use of high-strength, low-weight aluminum with the next generation Audi A6. The vehicle, which will contain 20 percent aluminum content, is comprised of aluminum body panels, control arms and suspension, offering superior handling. The new A6 body will be 66 pounds lighter, reducing curb weight by 165 pounds.